Birthday Traditions Create Lasting Memories

By Sam McDade-Wray July 5, 2022

What do you remember about your childhood birthday as a kid? What you do remember now about your birthday? Whether you are 5 or 35... or, dare we say, 85... birthdays are wonderful milestones to be embraced and celebrated!

Everyone wants to feel special on this once-a-year day. Here are a few ideas to help you create unique traditions that your family will remember and cherish for years to come.

Birthday Wake-Up Call
Decorate your kid’s room while they are asleep. Head to their room in the morning for a special Birthday Snuggle. Sing the "Happy Birthday" song to them as they wake up.

Use Special Decorations
We have a stash of banners, balloons, streamers, and more that we use on the birthday person's door to get in the spirit of things. I remember the year we took our first Disney cruise. I saw a birthday banner on one of the cabin doors. Clearly, this family had a birthday tradition that traveled with them!

Traditional Birthday Cake
My sister had a special birthday cake. Every year my mom would make a Boston Cream cake for my sister. Funny thing, I don’t remember a certain cake for me — but I do remember hers! So whether you make one for a family member, or have a cake from your favorite local bakery... have your cake and eat it too!

Watch Them Grow
Choose an inanimate object — anything from a teddy bear to a shoe — to be part of the birthday picture every year. Having your child pose next to something that stays the same over time really shows off the growth and changes from year to year.

Kyrie received a stuffed frog rocking chair when her first son was born. For the first year, they took a picture of her son in the chair every month on the birth date. After that, it became an annual event on his birthday. Now that he is older, he holds the chair above his head for this picture tradition!

A Favorite Meal
My family did not go out to eat a lot when I was growing up, mostly because our small town did not have many places to go out to! But, birthdays received special treatment and the birthday kid got to choose anything and anywhere they wanted to eat; this was especially a great treat as we got older! From morning pancakes to a favorite dinner, birthdays are an occasion for noteworthy meals. Must be the Southerner in me.

Golden Birthday
Golden birthdays are when you turn the same age as the day of your birthday. While every birthday may not be a huge to-do, make the Golden Birthday a BIGGIE. When my kiddo turns 12, we are sure to make this one extra special!  

Tell the Story
My mom would start my birthday each year with the same line: "On this day, (#) years ago, you made me the happiest person..." Then she would proceed to talk about the day I was born. Even when I was in college or off working in another state, she still called early in the morning to start my day off this way. Obviously, I still remember this fondly. The little things really do mean a lot!

Birthday Person Only
Whether it's a special hat, crown, t-shirt, or a decorated chair, have something that is only for the Birthday Person on their special day. Like our "Party Animal" hat? One size fits all!

Create Your Own
Kyrie's family has a few "extra" birthdays. She did a small celebration for "9-9-9" when her older son was 9 years, 9 months, and 9 days old... his last day of having all single digits in his age. 

On her husband's side of the family, they celebrate "A Third of a Century" when you turn 33 and 4 months old with an elaborate theme and decorations. It isn't officially a birthday, of course, but this is a special celebration just for this family that everyone will remember, and probably continue when the kids are grown and have families of their own.

Capture the moment
By now you know that I am a sucker for pictures. Capture those memories with photos. That includes you, Moms! Have someone (friend, neighbor, waiter, or random person walking down the street if you have to) take a picture of your family at every birthday celebration. This way you will at least a few good family photos a year!

Birthdays are significant days. The idea is to have a few traditions to make those in your life feel special, cared for, and loved on their special day. Celebrate, enjoy, and make some memories that will last a lifetime!

➡️ Return to our AWESOME Birthday Issue!