When you celebrated your first birthday, perhaps you got to eat your first bite of cake. At thirteen, you officially became a teenager. Then there was sweet sixteen, complete with that first taste of freedom that came when you learned to drive. You turned eighteen and became a legal adult, soon followed by twenty-five (when you probably started finally feeling like an adult). But somewhere along the line, you may stop keeping track of age and start keeping track of experiences instead. The years will seem less like important milestones and more like a pleasant blur of adventures highlighted with moments of joy, times of trial, and hopefully plenty of laughter.
Birthdays are the one day each year you get to be recognized for all the wonderful, unique things that make you who you are! They shouldn’t just be about celebrating age. They should also be about celebrating the great joy that comes with being alive and all the experiences you’ve collected along the way.
Here are three steps to treat your loved ones (or yourself!) on their special day.
Start a Tradition
For many, there’s comfort in tradition. That daily cup of tea, the annual summer pilgrimage to the beach, or decorating the Christmas tree are rituals to look forward to. Consistency in a constantly changing world acts as a lens with which to see personal growth over the passage of time. You can see how style and attitude has changed in different phases of life by looking at pictures and sharing memories of that same day in years past.
Birthday traditions are the perfect way to take a moment to consider just how much has changed in the past twelve months while celebrating all the wonderful things about your loved one (or yourself). If they enjoy adventure, give them a new place to explore every year. If they like taking it slow, take an annual trip to the spa together. Or save a day of vacation and make it a habit to give yourself a birthday present of a day to use how you please. Even something simple, like choosing a certain type of cake or eating a specific meal that is reserved only for birthdays, can have great meaning when it’s made a priority every year.
Let the tradition be a time of reflection and gratefulness, as well as a chance to reset for a new year ahead.
Give a Truly Personalized Gift
Nope! We don’t mean giving them something engraved with their initials. We mean considering the true essence of who they are, and giving them a gift that reflects their personality and dreams. It shows the people you love how much you value all the traits that make them unique.
For example, thinking beyond the birthstone and choosing a crystal that represents their personality and passions instead of merely the month they were born shows that you have a deep connection to their true spirit. Or perhaps they have always encouraged you in hard times. Return the favor by filling a box with 365 small notes of inspiration or gratitude so they can open one each day in the coming year. If they love to cook, fill a market bag with seasonal goodies, include a recipe they’ve never tried, and spend the day in the kitchen creating (and eating!) a masterpiece together.
Decorate Their Space
It’s no secret that your environment can have a drastic impact on your mood. There are entire books written on the subjects of feng shui, how to declutter your house, and the value in surrounding yourself only with items that bring joy and beauty into your life. This holds true even at the holidays. People often don’t feel “in the spirit” until their home has been properly decorated.
Take this concept and apply it to the ones you love! Help them get into the birthday spirit by decking their halls and embellishing their walls with cheerful reminders of how much they are appreciated. Keep some garlands on hand at work to decorate the desks of your colleagues, or surprise a friend by filling their apartment with flowers, balloons, and confetti. It’s an easy and meaningful way to brighten their special day!
This year, show your loved ones just how special they are to you. Make it a birthday full of memories and add to the ever-growing list of experiences that will define their life. It’s the best gift of all!