October is the month that officially kick-starts the ‘birthday season’ at our home. From planning surprises to setting rituals and fresh goals, thinking new gift ideas to trying out new places to celebrate at, evaluating the past performance to pushing myself more for the year ahead, this time of the year definitely gets my thinking machine ‘ON’.
Little one turned THREE this week and i am sipping my ‘chayee’ trying to do a basic math as to WHERE the time evaporated! No, there was no lavish, ‘mini-valima’ look alike birthday party. I am the ultimate undisputed queen of minimalism, a low-maintenance mom who believes in giving special experiences to kids as birthday gifts. Remember i wrote about the 5 reasons why its OK not to throw a baby’s birthday bash? Don’t get me wrong, this can definitely change once she grows a little older and chooses to throw a birthday party with ‘her’ set of friends but for now at 3, i deem it unnecessary.
BUT…..This does not mean we do not celebrate. There are FANTASTIC ways to keep the festivities alive. Stuff that keeps the excitement game strong, is less time and energy consuming and a lot more meaningful. Also ensures a lot of family time. I am old-school when it comes to parenting and love creating birthday rituals which can be followed consistently in the years to come, without causing a dent in the annual budget.
So i am sharing 14 super-simple yet awesome, “totally doable” annual rituals you can create with your kids to get the festivities going in a meaningful way without the necessity of a grand birthday bash.
1. Early Morning SURPRISE!
Get the party started early morning! Decorate the house with colorful balloons, funky streamers and banners, pom-pom flowers, happy music and all the crazy stuff you can think of. Or simply make a Balloon Avalanche. Check a tutorial by this fantastic blogger at Fun With Mama. Follow the excitement with their favorite breakfast.
2. Make it a YES day
Skip those gazillion NOs they get to hear from you everyday and turn it into a YES day. The crown is theirs for a day! So they can claim everything jayez/ morally correct.
3. Bake a CAKE together
Who doesn’t love a delicious chocolate cake with truck-loads of mouth-watering icing oozing out of it? Let them be the BAKER, throw some quirky decor and you have got a fantastic activity to do with you kids. Not only is the output yummilicious but it is excellent for language development, bilateral coordination, literacy and math skills.
Birthday is the perfect day to allow them to be as explosively experimental in your kitchen as they can be! For rest of the year let it be the NO-GO zone! 😉
4. Create a TREASURE HUNT inside the house
Imagine the frenzy of excitement as they wake up knowing their house has been transformed into a ‘treasure hunt’. Wrap some tiny, meaningful presents and hide all over the house, let the kids find their presents and enjoy all the energy.
This one is BRILLIANT and can be done 3 years and above. For kids who can’t read, just hide stuff. For older ones you may write notes as clues.
5. Write A LETTER to be read later
Preserve special moments with words and pictures. Write an annual birthday letter about the previous year’s journey, future hopes, aspirations, expectations and have them read it when they turn 13 or 18. Perfect way to give them a sneak peek into the adventure ride you took while raising them.
If you are the more craftsy pinterest sort mom, make an annual personalized journal or scrapbook with loads of pictures and keepsakes.
6. Get a new PET
Let the ‘animal’ love at your home reach new heights by gifting them a ‘pet’ of their own. Great way to teach them to be more caring, sensitive and empathetic.
7. GO GREEN! Sow a Seed. Grow a PLANT
From the scratch. ‘Their’ plant. Cultivate curiosity. Help nurture the love of nature. Answer questions. Let them be hands-on. And let them enjoy the pride when they see the plant growing. Hand over the responsibilities to take care of their plant ‘babies’.
8. DINE OUT
You can’t always leave everyone ‘wowed’ with your hostess traits, especially with a couple of kids under the belt, you gotta give rest to those party heels. Simplest and easiest ritual you can create for your family is to have a good old birthday family dinner,something you can do without hassle in years to come.
9. Plan a NEW ADVENTURE
Plan a mini-vacation or a getaway around little one’s birthdays. Go on a camping trip, a mountain hike or travel abroad if the budget allows. The change in environment and the excitement of exploring something new is epic. Its especially a doable option if you are a small family.
10. A New Membership
Been too lazy to take them to those riding, painting, swimming or music classes? Now is the right time to push your lazy a** a little harder and gift them the membership. A perfect present and instilling a new skill, you have got a WIN/ WIN.
11. SAVING Goals
Every year, bring them a new money box and break it open on the next birthday. Encourage saving all year round and let the suspense end on how much they saved. Cherry on the top, let THEM be the boss of their money and let them decide on how to spend it while reinforcing good money habits at the same time.
I like to keep 3 money boxes instead of 1 – SAVE, SPEND & SHARE. With money in ‘Spend’, they get to splurge, with whatever they ‘Save’, you contribute a little amount to encourage them to save more and with ‘Share’ we remember those who are in need 🙂
While ‘sharing’ should be a value to be followed year-round, giving away on a birthday is the most heart-warming ritual to spread your happiness. Linked to the previous point, guide them to put money to SHARE box so we can share stuff with kids who do not have the privileges our kids have. Reinforcement is the ‘key’ to parenting positively and instilling values. ‘Dheet’ moms are indeed the ‘iiiit’ moms!! 😀
13. Family Photoshoot
One of my personal favorites to do! You don’t need a fancy bash to be able to share those hundreds of pictures to facebook. Get a fun and personalized family shoot done. Plan it nice, do some color coordination, pick a nice location and choose a good, cost-effective photographer and create some wonderful memories along the way.
14. Celebrate a week or a whole month
Why settle for less when you can have more right? Dedicate a whole week or a month to them. Plan little activities for the whole week/ month to keep the celebrations alive.
Do you follow any of these rituals already? or any others you would like to share? If yes then raise your hands and comment below! 😀