Does your family have birthday traditions? Mine does! My sister just had a birthday, and thus the idea for this post was born.
So, when I was little, it used to always be the same thing every year: No school, a special breakfast (in my family, a 'special breakfast' is when Mom buys sugared cereal!) that usually consisted of a peanut butter/marshmallow/Cheerios bar, or coffee cake, or puffed pancake, or muffins . . . whatever the birthday child wanted—within reason, of course. ;)
Then we'd eat the special lunch picked out by the birthday kid. Then, in the afternoon, we'd go over to our grandpa & grandma's house so mom could bake and decorate the cake! Now, the cake was a big deal. Like, we'd pick out the flavor and how we wanted it decorated, and Mom would spend the longest time decorating it just the way the birthday boy/girl wanted it. (When we were little, Kordell and I actually got our own separate cakes! Spoiled, weren't we? *grins*)
Then, we all ate a special birthday supper (can you see a pattern going here?), and afterward, all the grandparents would come over for cake and ice cream (also specially picked out, of course) and presents.
However, everything changed on my 11th birthday. Kordell and I *gasp* had our very first sleepover! I'll never forget that birthday. We each got to choose one of our church friends to have over for the night. (Kordell, remember that huge pillow fight the four of us had? I quit early because your guest hit me in the head with his heavy feather pillow. *shakes head*)
I remember one hear, I had a tea party and invited some friends and cousins over for the fun. We went bowling once. But my two favorite birthday parties were my 6th and my 17th. For our 6th birthday party, Mom went all out—invitations we handed out at church, a theme, everything. (Y'know those themed birthday parties? Yeah, we don't do those.) It was our cowboy birthday party. Everyone wore cowboy boots and hats, and some even wore bandanas! (Our grandma had actually made us kids cloth chaps awhile before that, so I felt so special wearing mine with the princess knee patches!)
Our 17th birthday, however, was much different. By then, two of our brothers were married. So there we were, all eleven of us sitting around the table eating supper (Our grandma had joined us), laughing, joking. Angel food cake with whipped cream and strawberries. Then, when Mom and Dad left to take Grandma home, the kids all split into two groups and played the Farming Game. Now, if you don't know what The Farming Game is, I'm so, so sorry. You are seriously missing out! Comparable to Monopoly, I suppose, only about five times better. We played for, like, 2 hours. It was so fabulous.
Anymore, we don't really do gifts. (My mom gave me a coat like 6 months late last year, haha!) The married siblings might give the others a bag of candy or something. Grandparents give some money. Nowadays, I listen to my friends talk about the gifts they get at their birthdays, and I'm just like, "wait, you get presents?!" But really . . . I don't necessarily miss it.
It's the memories that make birthdays special.