Happy Birthday to Me!

I love my birthdays. Always have. I really never worried about turning a year older. Well… maybe once. When I turned from 16 to 17 years old. I would never again be 16 and never been kissed!

My mother made sure my brothers and I had a birthday cake, a gift, and that we always celebrated birthdays together as a family. We had very few birthday parties where we invited our friends. I’m not sure why other than it was kind of the norm back then.Sweet-16-thoughtful-gift-idea

As I got older, I would celebrate with friends and co-workers by going out to dinner, a movie or even dancing.

Now I celebrate birthdays for an entire week!

It happened quite by accident. During a week of my birthday, my best friend from grade school who lives in Texas mailed a birthday package to my office. She was not the only one. A friend from Albuquerque also sent a package. One of my dear friends who I work with presented me with a gift. You see a pattern here? My mother showed up with a gift on another day and on the last day of the week, my actual birthday, my husband took me to lunch.

Thus, the Birthday Week was born!

The following year I declared Birthday Week and for that thoughtful twist, instead of receiving gifts I give gifts to my co-workers. No gifts for me! Period! Because my co-workers thought it was weird not to give birthday gifts, I relented by saying, “OK… you can get me a birthday card.”

Willie-Nelson-look-a-like-thoughtful-gift-ideaIt can be created from notebook paper, a sticky note or an actual birthday card. All I asked is that they write something sweet, sign their name and date it. If they did not have a card, I would provide one. They really got a kick out of that!

My collection has grown to over 100 cards as I keep all of them. My co-workers “shop” every year from my basket of cards. Sometimes they use the same card year after year and date it accordingly or they choose a different card. Birthday Week is now a tradition at the office.

As gifts, I would bring desserts, candy, friendship rings, snacks, funny glasses, clown noses, wax candy lips, and blow bubbles along with having birthday themes. One year I brought snacks everyday that I liked as a child. For example, bottled Orange Crush with peanuts poured into the drink. Fortunately, they still make pop bottles.

Another year, I had the ice cream truck ringing a bell in the parking lot to serve treats. I remember hearing the bell of the ice cream man coming down the street. My brothers would run after him to stop while I was running to the house to get coins from our grandparents.

Some years I would hire performers like a ventriloquist, a girl group singing Andrew Sisters‘ hit songs such as Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company B and a Willie Nelson look-a-like who sang at my 50th office birthday party.

My grandfather always turned the number of his age around if it made him younger. For instance, 82 would be 28. He always thought that was a funny trick to be younger. So last year, I decided to use his idea and instead of turning 61, I had a Sweet 16 party. Awww…16 again!

I gave away Hershey’s Kisses to go along with the Sweet 16 and never been kissed theme. I wore a Sweet 16 crown, sash and necklace.

I also had a list of 16 questions about me when I was 16. My co-workers did not have to get the answers right. It was just fun to see how much they knew about me. I laughed at many of the answers and was surprised by how much they did know. I’ve learned that I do a lot of story telling on myself.

The past 24 years of Birthday Week have been the the best Happy Birthdays to Me! First, because it has become a fun tradition. Second, because giving makes me happy, and, third, my co-workers and friends are a joy to share wonderful birthday celebrations together!

A birthday is just the first day of another 365 day journey around the sun. Enjoy the trip!  – Unknown

Do you have an unusual way to celebrate your birthday? Please share in the comments section.

 

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