Thread: Birthday
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Old Monday, October 16, 2006
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Birthday parties are always among the highlights of a child's year, but did you ever wonder how the tradition of birthday parties started?

The tradition of birthday parties started in Europe a long time ago. It was feared that evil spirits were particularly attracted to people on their birthdays. To protect them from harm, friends and family would to come be with the birthday person and bring good thoughts and wishes. Giving gifts brought even more good cheer to ward off the evil spirits. This is how birthday parties began.

At first it was only kings who were recognized as important enough to have a birthday celebration (maybe this is how the tradition of birthday crowns began?). As time went by, children became included in birthday celebrations. The first children's birthday parties occurred in Germany and were called Kinderfeste.

Some traditions are quite similar in many parts of the world; birthday candles which carry wishes up to God, birthday games which gauge how much more a child can do versus last year, and birthday pinches or taps which ensure good luck for the coming year. Some traditions are more specific to certain countries
In addition to country specific traditions, some families have created their own unique traditions.
The Smith Family - Mom's Wedding Dress. Each year since the daughter was born, she is dressed in Mom's wedding dress and her picture is taken. It is amazing to see the growth each year.

The Mascellino Family – Midnight phone call. The "honoree" gets a midnight phone call and is wished or sung "Happy Birthday" to.

The Fulmer Family - Birthday Journal Book. Each year at the birthday party a journal book is passed around for family and friends to sign their names and/or write a message as well as to track the gifts. This is a unique and cherished book to look at later in life.

The Cole Family - Bobbing for apples. Every year a big bucket is filled with water and the family goes bobbing for apples.

The Scherb Family - Week Long Party - Every year for their daughters birthday a week long celebration is planned. For the first birthday it is a block party.

The Gooch Family - The whole weekend and the front seat. The birthday person gets to celebrate for the whole weekend closest to their birthday. Theydon't have to do any chores, can pick all the meals and if they are old enough can sit in the front seat of the car all weekend.

The Stormoens Family - Hiding the gifts. All the gifts for birthday child are hidden and there are poems telling where each present is. The birthday child has to find each and every gift, and do something (like make scrambled eggs or take away the dishes) to be allowed to open them.

The Ching-Zielger Family - Design, bake and decorate the cake. The birthday child designs, bakes and decorates the cake, as small or large as they desire. Past designs have included trains, a flying saucer and a spider. Also, each sibling gives the birthday child a gift from their possessions.

The Milka Family - Picture with Dad. Each year on the birthday, starting with the first birthday, a picture of the child is taken standing in front of Dad. An amazing way to track the child's growth.

The Coffey Family - Birthday favorites. The birthday person gets his or her favorite meal for the family dinner, favorite flavor of cake, can wear their favorite shirt etc.

The Reeds - Carrot cake. Each year a certain certain carrot cake is bought to serve as the birthday cake.

The Young Family - Two cultures and magic. The family is half American and half Cambodian so a huge spread of traditional Cambodian food and American cookout food is served at lunch time. Feather masks and magic wands are made followed by a magic show.

The Eaves Family - Postcard invitation. Each year a "postcard" invitation is designed. Paper tablecloths are used so the kids can color on the table and after the party all the balloons are let go.

The Pahl Family - Birthday Hall. All size and shape balloons are blown up and flooded on the floor of the birthday celebrants room for them to see when they wake up. The balloons, ribbons and banners are then taped up on the walls of the patio and a family portrait is taken. All meals that day are enjoyed in that room, the "birthday hall".

The diAngelo Family - Favorite colors. The birthday person has to wear their favorite color all day long and own an object that has this favorite color. Every year the color changes, so we keep on wearing new things!

The Thompson Family - 23 balloons. The daughter was born on the 23rd of January. Each year a note is tied to 23 helium balloons stating that its "Daisy's birthday". A balloon is given to each party guest and released into the air all at once. An attached on the balloon asks that if someone finds the balloon to return a birthday wish to Daisy to our address. This symbolizes letting the past year go and starting a new year.

The Anderson Family - Explore a small cake. On the first birthdays in our family the child has a small cake which they can explore and eat on their own. A series of photographs are taken of this event usually including tentative fingers and then faces in the cake.

The Hodge Family - Birthday tablecloth. Our daughter has a "birthday tablecloth" and each year her hand and foot prints are painted on it with the year written & a special decoration to symbolize the year.

The Murnane Family - Water fight. The child wakes up to see his friends and family scattered around the bed. When the child speaks he gets a thump in the arm by everyone except for the parents who lead a water fight or orange bombardment.

The Siebel-McIntosh-Gaster Family - Three different cakes. There are three birthday celebrations with three different cakes. One celebration with friends, the next day with the extended family and then on the actual birthday a quiet dinner with only the closest relatives.

The Dunn Family - Birthday poster. Every year on the child's birthday a poster is made The poster represents all of the things that are pertinent to the birthday child. For example, the poster may contain drawings of a new puppy, favorite toys, new words or sayings. We display the poster for all the party guests to see and then hang it in their bedrooms until it is replaced by a new one.

The Voitl Family. Balloons. For the kids birthdays their rooms are decorated with balloons and streamers so they wake up to a celebration room.

The Freda Family - Birthday insults. We put the birthday boy/girl at the head of the table while eating cake. Then each family member gives the birthday boy/girl one insult. This tradition began with my grandfather’s family during the depression when times were tough and money was tight. We do this in respect to those we love.

The Guberow Family - Polish birthday song. We sing Sto Lat which in Polish means 100 years that they want you to live. The birthday person gets the first piece of cake.

The Guzman-Bodden Family - Nat King Cole song. The song “Estas son las mananitas que cantaba el rey David” by Nat King Cole is the first thing one would listen to on their birthday.

Fox-Olsen Family - Dropping rings. Before the cake candles are blown out by the birthday person, we drop our rings around the burning candles. The rings represent our unending love for the birthday honoree.

The Williams Family - Birthday week and coupon for slave time. The birthday person receives their main gift on their birthday and then another gift each day of the week until the birthday week is over. They also receive a coupon for on hour of slave in which the birthday child can ask their mother to do something for them.

The Vazquez Family - The Quiencenarda for the daughter's 15th birthday. When a daughter is 15 she gets honored at mass, has a party where she dances a first dance waltz with her father, gets a cake in the form of a doll, receives a symbolic hope necklace and receives a surprise gift that means she is now a woman.

The Persaud Family - Multi-cultural food. Lots of food both Indian and American is cooked and all family and close friends are invited. The birthday person wears a fancy outfit, eats, interacts and then cuts their cake.

The Cathcart Family - "Unbirthdays". For good behavior, good grades or just because, we buy a birthday cake and ice cream for our child.

The Bowlin Family - Chili, pizza and a thank you. Friends and relatives gather to eat chili, pizza and birthday cake. When the presents and cards are opened, a hearty thank you is said to each gift giver.

The Robles Family - Restaurant, zoo and Christmas light show. The birthday child was born close to Christmas so for their birthday they are taken to the Christmas light show which follows a visit to the zoo and the dinner at the restaurant of the child's choice.

The Woodforth Family - Red roses. The father buys his daughters and wife red roses on their birthdays, a rose for each year old they are so the bunch of roses is equal to their age.

The Callan Family - $50 for anything. The birthday child receives $50, then they get to do anything they want with 2 friends for two days in a row (which the parents pay).

The Trucek Family - Musical quartet. Every five years, birthdays ending in 5 or 0, the husband in the family celebrates his wife's birthday by hiring a musical quartet to appear at a "surprise" time and then entertain for a few hours or the evening.

The Fields Family - Dinner party at Grandma's house. For every girl's birthday there is a dinner party held at Grandma's house.

The Bourne's Family - Gifts all week. The birthday child goes out to lunch and a movie with Mom and Dad and gifts are giving one a day for the week leading up to the birthday.

The Roberts Family - Golden birthdays. When you turn the age of the day you were born (i.e. 8 on the 8th of the month or 24 on the 24th of the month) the parents give a gift of gold jewelry.

The Bussell Family - Present for the sibling too. The birthday child gets lots of presents, and then the sibling gets one present so they don't feel left out.
The Del Toro Family - Singing in two languages. The birthday child is awoken in the morning with the happy birthday song in spanish and english.

The Shaw Family -Candy bars. The birthday child gets their favorite meal and one of their presents is full of candy bars, one for each year of their life.

The Smart Family - Sleepover and different song. The Birthday song is sung - Happy Birthday to you, you belong in a zoo, you look like a monkey, and you smell like one too! Then the party starts with cake, ice cream, food, candy and a sleepover.

The Simmons Family - Health check-ups. We cook a large breakfast, lunch and dinner and then we get a doctor checkout to see our year's health.

The Nickens Family - Special dinner. We have a family celebration and take the birthday child out of school for a special lunch and diner.

The Romero Family - Sleepovers and big parties. When it's a girl's party, she gets to host a sleepover and invite a limited amount of friends. If it's a boy's party, we invite friends and family to a big backyard party.

The Power Family - Breakfast in bed. The birthday person gets breakfast in bed, served on our special birthday plate. The menu changes but it is always something special, the breakfast tray is decorated and brought in to the birthday person's room and we all sing before they can eat.

The Stinnett Family - Games and cake. We have cake and ice cream. The children play pin the tail on the whatever, musical chairs, and break the pinata open.

The Smith Family and the Jones Family - Choice of restaurant. The birthday person gets to choose a restaurant and we go out to eat with the entire family after opening presents.

The McGougan Family - Run around the block. The birthday person has to run around the block until they have ran around as many times as the age they are.

The Jenkins Family. New bed pillows. The birthday person gets new bed pillows. This tradition was started by the family doctor who said bed pillows needed to be changed each year because of the asthma in the family.

The Young Family. Under the bed. A small child on their birthday is taken by the older kids and put under the bed while everyone sits on the edge of the bed with their feet on the floor (to make sure you didn't get out) and sings Happy Birthday.

The Mecabe Family- Smearing cake on the face. After we sing happy birthday someone sneaks up from behind the birthday girl/boy and rubs cake all over their nose and face.

The Feher Family - Special cake and pulling the earlobe. The celebrated one chooses what he/ she wants to eat for dinner. A woman in the family makes chocolate or almond cake. The first thing we do when the celebrated one wakes up is to pull their earlobe.

The Horton Family. - Catered to for the day. The birthday boy or girl doesn't have to lift a finger that day. they're totally catered for their day, until 12am the next day.\

The Millares Family -Two parties. There are two parties one with family and another with friends. The party with friends is held in a restaurant chosen by celebrant. For the party with family, a noodle dish is served to promote long life..

The Ruddy Family - Captain Zoom. We play Captain Zoom for the child as we carry the cake to the table while the candles are lit.

The Blose/Todd family - Butter on the nose. Someone sneaks up on and butters the nose of the birthday boy or girl (no matter what age) to help them "slide" through the next year

The Hittner Family - Hamburgers and tuna casserole. As kids we would have the whole family over and make hamburgers and tuna casserole and the kids would sit in front of the fireplace and open their presents while dad videotaped the celebration and the other family members played the part of the audience. Desert depended upon which child was celebrating their birthday.

The Echeveria Family - A gift for each year. On an adult's birthday, we take the adult shopping and he or she may choose a number of gifts equal to their age (a 36 year old gets 36 things!).

The Nickle Family - A spank and pinch. The birthday person receives a spank on the bottom and a pinch for good luck.

The Luckey Family - Streamers. Streamers are hung in front of the birthday child's door, one for each year so when they awake in the morning they must pass through the streamers

The Cooper Family - Early wake up for all. The entire family wakes up at 6 o clock and sits down to watch the birthday person open their presents. Then the whole family eats breakfast together and celebrates.

The Frederickson Family - Spankings, dollars and no chores. The birthday child receives one smack for each year plus one to grow on. When the child gets too old to receive a spanking, they receive a dollar per year instead. More recently, the spankings have been replaced by the birthday child not having to do their regular household chores.

The Archibald Family - Golden ribbon. During the night before the birthday while the birthday child is sleeping a golden ribbon is tied to the bed and trailed throughout the house. In the morning the child follows the ribbon until they find the birthday surprise at the end of the ribbon.

The Jansen/Kubicek Family - Choose from 4 items. On baby's first birthday before they are given their piece of cake he or she is given 4 items - a piece of bread, a silver dollar, a prayer book or rosary and a shot glass. Whichever one the baby picks signifies if he or she will be healthy, wealthy, wise or fun loving in this respective order. It is fun to see what the baby will choose!

The Lim Family- Celebrant's birthday week. The rest of the family will do nice and kind things for the celebrant fo a week and on their actual birthday the whole family will prepare a beautiful breakfast for the birthday person and have breakfast in bed.

The Hernandez Family - Garage Sales. On the Saturday closeset to the their birthday, achild takes the birthday person to garage sales and makes them think everyone has forgotten about their birthday. When they go home for lunch all the guests are there and after a special knock on the door, the guests all yell surprise.

The Stevens Family - Birthday wisdom. We usually go to someone's house - the local family "spot". Then eat some good food, have some cake.....then the infamous "Birthday Wisdom". In which the birthday person must intrigue the others with wisdom they have gained, or thought up the day before, so that they can open their presents.

The Rudder Family - Amusement park trip. The family goes to an amusement park nearby and the birthday person decides what everyone will ride and what games will be played. Happy birthday is announced over the loudspeaker at the park.

The Britt Family - Special birthday plate. The birthday person is served their piece of birthday cake on a special birthday plate (Brambly Hedge) that is only used for birthdays. All birthday cakes are sliced and served with the cake servers that was used at the parents wedding.

The Cain Family - Exact time of birth. The birthday song is sung and gifts are given at the exact time of birth. This is very convenient for the sister born at 7:15 am EST, but less so for the sister born at 4:47 am EST. If the family is in a different time zone, the singing and gifting must take place when that time happens at the place of birth.

The Taylor Family - Money wrapped in foil. Money is wrapped in foil and inserted into the birthday cake before cooking. Everyone gobbles up the cake to find the money.

The Ellis Family - Conference call. The family gathers to celebrate the birthday and the birthday person orders his/her favorite cake. Gifts are presented from the birthday wish list. Family members now away at college or living in other cities call and a brief telephone conference is held. A group picture is taken at the end of the celebration.

The Wilson Family -Birthday books. Every year we buy our daughter a new book. Each year it becomes a few more pages long. She has a shelf full of books. Right now her books are around 400-450 pages long.

The Meaker-Rooke Family -Breakfast tray. A special breakfast tray is prepared on each birthday. It usually is something really delicious like hotcakes with ice cream and maple syrup, chocolates, gingerbread etc, plus a small wrapped present on the tray, some juice or coffee and a vase of favorite flowers.

The Desser/Walata Family - Celebrating half birthdays. Actual birthdays are celebrated in the normal way but for the half birthday (6 months after the actual birthday) everything is done in half. These half things include: having half a cake, cups half full, singing half the birthday song and giving a gift that's half of something.

The Sillah Family - Celebrating a culture. Everyone's birthday is celebrated by choosing a culture and actually celebrating it the way that culture celebrates.

The Schultz Family - Special Birthday song. "Our Mickey has a birthday, may he have many more, may his years number many with blessings in store, may he grow up to manhood so noble and true, may his pleasures be many his sorrows be few, Happy Birthday we sing, Happy Birthday we sing, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday we sing."

The Barbounis Family - Birthday Buddy. Throughout the day little suprises appear, a present hidden in the toy box or when lunch is served a gift left on the chair. It is said that a special elf was sent to make the day even more special leaving Birthday Buddy presents all over. It ends up being a big scavenger hunt looking to see what the next gift will be and looking for the buddy who is never seen.

The Fanno Family - Two birthdays. The first birthday celebration is the actual day of birth, the second birthday celebration is the day each person's saint or matyr died.

The Burfitt Family - Tizer. From the time when soft drinks were not the norm, at birthday parties and Christmas a delectable bottle of "Tizer" is shared.

The Struebing Family - Blueberry muffins. The birthday person and family eat blueberry muffins for breakfast and then open presents. That evening the birthday person gets to choose where to go for dinner.

The Ellis Family - Christmas birthday. A daughter was born on Christmas and each year her birthday present is placed under the tree, but it is wrapped in birthday wrapping paper.

The Terry Family - Dinner backwards. The whole family goes out to dinner at a place picked by the birthday person. Dessert is ordered and served first, then the main course and last the appetizers.

The Amatrudo Family - Cupcake. Every year the birthday person is awoken by bringing him a cupcake with a lit number candle while singing Happy Birthday. For double digits, two cupcakes and two candles are used. Other family members who are not home for their birthdays get a midnight phone call and serenade.

The Corwin Family - Butter on the nose. One member of the family takes a small dab of butter or margarine on their finger and they surprise the birthday person by placing this dab of butter on the birthday person's nose. A shiney nose on one's birthday brings that person good luck and good fortune throughout the year.

The Sardelli Family - Present for mom. The birthday person gives a present to their mother on his or her birthday because it is their mother's "birth" day.

The Hartley Family - Any taller today? Each year the mother would come into the child's bedroom and wake them up by asking "are you any taller today?". They the mother gives a special piggy-back ride to the breakfast table.

The Hunt Family - Axle grease. The birthday person is chased around the yard and axle grease is rubbed onto their face once they are caught. When someone marries into the family they get butter on their nose as well.

The Archibald Family - Golden Ribbon. During the night before the birthday while the birthday child is sleeping a golden ribbon is tied to their bed and trailed throughout the house. In the morning the child follows the ribbon until they find the birthday surprise at the end of the ribbon.

The Kelch/Wrenn Family - The Beatles birthday song. A parent wakes up early and plays the "birthday song" by the Beatles to wake up the birthday child. The volume is turned up and they sing and dance around the house.

The Graham Family - Two parties. The birthday person gets to have two parties, one for family and one for friends. The birthday person also can pick what kind cake they want but cannot see it until it's time to sing.

The Saban Family - Family trip or adventure. The family takes a trip to a place in the area for a day or weekend. When the family lived in a number of different states it was a great way to see the USA. Now sometimes the family trip is to go camping.

The Davis Family -Best china. The birthday child gets to eat breakfast off of the family's best china and drink their milk out of wine glasses. All of the rest of the kids and parents eat off of every day plates. The birthday child also gets to answer the phone all day and pick out favorite food for dinner.

The Evans Family - Presents under the pillow and decorating the door. Where possible, presents are left under the birthday persons pillow. The front door in decorated with balloons, little toys and pretty things at ground level all the way up to the door knob so the birthday child will get an eye level view of their birthday celebration.

The Ewell Family - Bouquet of flowers. A beautiful bouquet of flowers is bought and set in the middle of the party table near the cake.

The Hernandez Family - The birthday child is taken away from the house and made to think that everyone has forgotten their birthday. Guests fill the house. The child is taken home when they say they are hungry and there is a special knock so everyone knows they have arrived. Then there is a big party.

The Byrd Family - Themes. Each year a different theme is choosen for the daughter's birthday such as barnyard, storybook, luau, fiesta etc. The house is elaborately decorated late the night before with crafts, favors and other items which revolve around the theme so when the birthday child wakes up they walk right into the celebration.

The Stubbs Family - Search for gifts. Birthday gifts were not wrapped because of lack of wrapping paper and tape. They were left in the bag they were bought in, somewhere in the house. The birthday child would search for the gift around the house and the family directs them by saying warmer when they got close to it and colder when they got further away from it. Even thought the tradition started without wrapping paper it continues with the gifts now wrapped.

The Gonsalves Family - Birthday pancakes. Pancakes are made with food coloring. Each pancake in the stack has either the child's first initial or the number representing the child's age. A lit candle is placed on the stack and family gathers around the breakfast table to sing "happy birthday".

The Valenti Family - Monthly pictures. During the first year of life, we sing happy birthday each month on the day of birth and a picture and video is taken marking that month's achievements. By the time the child is one they know the words to the happy birthday song very well and the pictures taken each month are pasted onto a large sheet of paper with a professional first birthday picture in the center.

The Cluney Family - Baby sized cakes. When the child turns 1 year old the party guests get a regular sized birthday cake and the baby gets a miniature birthday cake for themself.

The O'Conner Family - A second verse of the "Happy Birthday" song. This family sings a second verse to the "Happy Birthday" song which none of their friends ever seems to have heard. It goes "May the dear Lord bless you, in all that you do. May Mary and Joseph smile down on you".

The Evans Family - Answering the phone with the words "birthday gift". The birthday person must answer the phone with the words "birthday gift". If they forget or the person calling says it first they supposedly could take one of the birthday presents, their choice!

The Hillenbrand Family - Singing off-tune. When singing the happy birthday song, all the family members purposely sing very badly. The song is so off-tune that it hurts the birthday person's ears. Wrong words are also purposely used when singing the birthday song too.

The Gerena Family - Turning from a girl to a woman. When a female cousin turns fifteen or sixteen the girl walks down the aisle in church, wedding style. When she gets to the front she's turning from being a girl to a woman. The pastor prays for her and gives her the meaning of being a woman. Then we have a reception and celebrate.

The Guinn Family - Fruit pies. All of the family's birthdays are five days apart. Each person gets to choose their favorite fruit of the year for a fruit pie on their birthday.

The Hutcheson Family - Birthday bear candle. On the first son's first birthday a huge birthday bear candle was bought and placed on his cake. It is saved and used every year on his birthday cake and the birthday cake of other children in the family as well.

The Gardunio Family - Helium balloons. On the day of each child's birthday we fill up their room with helium balloons attached with curly ribbons. The family then makes a special breakfast for the birthday child, brings it up to the child's bedroom on a tray and wakes up the birthday child by singing happy birthday next to his/her bed.

The Curtis Family - Professional portraits. Each year on our daughter's birthday we have a professional portrait taken in a new outfit which she picks out. We also visit the hospital where she was born and sometimes even run into a nurse who took care of her as a new born!

The Nyberg Family - The cake in the chair in front of the house birthday pictures. Every year at the child's birthday gathering it is announced that it is time to go outside to take the "cake in the chair in front of the house birthday pictures". The birthday child stands next to the cake. Passerbys often think the family is odd for doing this, but it adds weight to the tradition. The pictures are saved in a picture book album.

The Noble Family - The kids are taken out to their desired place where they can buy anything thing they want within a certain price range. Until the kids are ten they have a birthday party, after that age they are taken somewhere very special.

The Bodick Family - A special song about the morning of the day you were born. The birthday child is awoken by being serenaded by the Spanish song "Las Mananitas", which is about the morning of the day you were born. It is followed by the traditional "Happy Birthday" song.

The Nutter Family - Birthday person gives a gift to the family. On the Saturday night of the birthday week we have a family dinner with lots of invited guests. The birthday person gets presents but also must give one present to the entire family. As the child got older, the present for the family got bigger ranging from a tape to a patio table. The children really enjoyed being able to give to others even though it was their special day.

The Bevis Family - Palm prints. Every year we paint the child's palm and they make a print on a white homemade table cloth made to fit their "child" table. Under the hand print is written their age. When the children have grown out of their table, the table cloth is used on a larger table as an overlay.

The Winter-Welsch Family - Breakfast with a friend. We "kidnap" the birthday child's friend and have breakfast at a local restaurant in pajamas.

The Ali Family - Butter on the nose. We sneak into the birthday person's room before they awake and dab some butter on their nose to "smooth" the way for the coming year.

The Johnson Family - Releasing balloons into the air. When our first daughter turned 2 years old we gave her two balloons to release into the air. She had such joy watching them float away. Since then, every year we have added one more balloon to correspond to her age.

The Davies Family - Home run derby. We take the birthday child down to the school yard baseball diamond, make a mark in the outfield and see how many home runs they can hit this year.

The Agee Family - Snow man decorating. We build a snowman, have the birthday child decorate its face and choose one of their own hats to put on top of the snowman's head. Of course, this only works for us since all our three children were born in the middle of the winter!

The Kitman Family - Notch on the door. Each year we measure the height of the birthday child by placing a notch on the inside of their bedroom closet door. This way they can see just how much they have grown in the past year.

The Schunker Family - Boss for the day. We let the birthday child be "boss for the day". They get to choose the day's meals, tv programs and where they sit in the car among other things.

The Colton Family - Palm prints. Every year on our daughter's birthday, we paint the palm of her hand and then she puts the impression on special paper and we frame it. Every day we look at these wonderful prints and we are reminded as to how she is growing.

The Brown Family - Half-Birthday Celebrations. We celebrate our childrens half birthdays (count exactly 6 months forward from their actual birthday) by taking them out for ice cream or pizza or a movie. They love the recognition of being halfway to their next age and deciding which activity to enjoy.

The Hull Family - Themed photographs. Each year we have a professional photograph taken of our children on or about their birthdays. The photos are themed around their favorite activity; skating, swimming, teddy bear picnic etc. We have a wedding style album embossed with each child's name and add to it annually.

The Proffit Family - The 13th Birthday. Making the transition from childhood years to teen years is made very special and unforgettable. Based on our child's interest at the time, we think of something special. For our son, who was fascinated with airplanes, we took him to the local airport where lessons are given. He took an introductory flight lesson and went up alone with the pilot and actually took the controls for a bit.

The Lyons Family - Birthday Songs. We sing 4 songs in succession at each birthday celebration. We start with "Happy Birthday" then go to a song about "birthdays come but once a year....", then to "We wish you a happy birthday...." then to "We hope you live to be a hundred....and then a hundred more". No one knows how this tradition started but now it does not seem like a birthday without all the songs.

The Jones Family - Dictator-for-a-day. The kids get chauffered anywhere they want locally for a day and the family does whatever activity the birthday girl wants. There is also the choice of going out to ha favorite restaurant of having a favorite home-cooked meal with a choice of homemade birthday dessert.

The Deeren Family - Choose eating location. We let the birthday child choose where to eat out that night.