Birthday Traditions

Birthdays form part of our best memories of childhood. What's most special are our traditions. Here are some ways we celebrate kid's birthdays in our family.


Kid’s love gifts. They especially love toys. We follow the four-gift-rule and it’s been really great for our family. I love this approach because it makes gifting simpler, more thoughtful and creates consistency, so our children know what to expect. The concept is to buy your child:

  • something to play
  • something to wear
  • something to read
  • something to share.

We take this approach not only birthdays but also for Christmas and other special occasions.

Here is a photo of past birthday presents for my son and the shared present was the Grimm's Large Stepped Pyramid


In our family, we like to do something special or visit somewhere new on birthdays. In my childhood, I always found the experiences more memorable than just gifts. For William’s 3rd birthday, we went to Hawaii. Ethan was 6 months old at the time and it was a well deserved family holiday. We've since also been to new museums and parks, as well as had a birthday party with his friends. 


These are the things we always do on the birthday, which are always simple, inexpensive but memorable.

Wearing a birthday crown. The birthday child wears a golden crown on their birthday. Ours are the knitted “Wild Things” Crown by Oeuf NYC.

Be the boss. William decided that he gets to be the boss on his birthday and gets to make the big decisions on the day!

Choosing a birthday cake and meal. I’m not big on cooking and baking, so my kids get to choose what cake they would like and also what they have as meals on their birthday (breakfast, lunch and dinner). 

Interviewing the birthday child. I’ve always interviewed my kids on their birthdays (from the age of 3). I ask them a series of 10 questions and usually the same ones such as "what do you want to be when you grow up", "who is your best friend", "what's your favourite game to play". I love recording these answer in our kids journal and comparing their answers from year to year. 

Drawing a self portrait. Also from the 3rd birthday, I've asked my kids to draw a picture of themselves on their birthday. I love seeing how their drawing improves over he years and the additional details they add on. P.S. I always ask for a picture of my kids' drawing of me on my birthday. This year, i finally got some eyelashes.... 

Giving compliments. When we are having the final dessert of the day, we go around the table and each person gets to tell the birthday child why we love them. We do a few rounds of this and again, we record these in our journals


My kids are half Chinese and half Australian. So Chris and I have picked up bits  from both our childhoods and cultures. This includes aussie traditions such as birthday BBQs and eating fairy bread, as well as Chinese traditions of receiving red envelopes.  

I'd love to know how you celebrate birthdays and traditions that make birthdays extra special for your child. 

Thank you so much for reading!


So many great ideas. Thank you!

Liz Murray November 03, 2019

This is FABULOUS!!!! I absolutely LOVE this beyond measure.

Anik August 15, 2019

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