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Nikki Lamberg details ways to celebrate anyone's birthday: child, family member, friend—even your own!

This month we celebrated our daughter’s fifth birthday. Five! I can’t believe where the time has gone. It seems like just yesterday we were praying I didn’t go in to labor during Winter Storm Evelyn, where we got almost two feet of snow just days before she was born.  

As I started preparing for her birthday, and the list of things I needed to do, I thought about how birthdays can be viewed so differently. As a child, we start counting down to our next birthday the morning after the previous one. As we get older, it seems we become more afraid of our birthdays—but why? 

It doesn’t have to be like that! I am a firm believer in celebrating birthdays each year. There is no guarantee that we are going to make it to the next one, no matter how old we are. Rejoice and be glad in the day that God has made, a day just for you. Celebrating doesn’t have to mean a big, extravagant party, although those are fun too. It can be something as simple as doing something that makes you feel good.  




If you’re struggling with ideas, here are six ideas that I either do for myself, do for my kids, or do for my family and friends.  

  1. Bake that cake! Every birthday guy or gal deserves a birthday cake or treat of their choice. If the cake is for one of my kids, I try to incorporate their favorite theme in it somehow. One year I made a construction site out of chocolate cake, mini bulldozer toys, and toy candy rocks. This year I attempted a mermaid tail for my daughter.  If the birthday is for friend or parent, I always make them from scratch. Not that a box cake can’t be great—there are so many things you can do to jazz those up. It’s really the thought and time that goes in to making a homemade cake that is the gift I am giving to that person. The sweetness of the sugar is just a bonus. 

  2. Make a big “happy birthday” poster for a child's big day. I put the poster and streamers on their bedroom door while they are sleeping the night before, so that when they wake up, it’s one of the first things they see. I will admit, this has backfired on me before in that one of my children got scared when they saw balloons all over their room. On the flipside, our daughter woke up excited that “little fairies” came to decorate her room while she was sleeping. I think the risk is worth the reward on this one. 

  3. Wear what makes you feel good. My daughter asked me what she should wear on her birthday. I told her whatever makes her feel good! Maybe it’s a favorite color, maybe it’s that favorite pair of pants. Whatever it is, wear it and feel confident that God made you just exactly the way you are supposed to be. Choose the thing that makes you feel your best.  

  4. Do something you love. Maybe it’s golfing, or shopping, or just being at home. Do that thing that fills your cup. So often as moms we are giving everything that we have and are to everyone else. Birthdays shouldn’t be the only day that you get to fill your cup, but it should be one of those non-negotiable days that you do. 

  5. Spend your birthday with those you love. This one goes with #4. Do what you love with whom you love. You get to choose who makes you happy, and you get to choose to spend time with them if you want and are geographically able to do so.  

  6. Share your memories with your children. As their birthdays approach, I find myself reminiscing about the days prior, as well as the events of the day that they were born into this wild world. I’m reminded of a Gilmore Girls episode where Lorelei wakes her daughter Rory up at 4:03 am every year to retell the story of her birth. Lucky for my kids, they were all born in the afternoon. But I do set my alarm for myself, to pause and remember, and to say a little prayer of gratitude for the beautiful blessing God has given us. When they are old enough to have a cell phone, my intent will be to text them at their birth time every year.  




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Life is about being there to support each other, and birthdays are a great reminder to do that. #CatholicMom

Get where I am going with this list? It doesn’t matter what you do, nor does the gift or thought need to be extravagant. Some of these ideas might sound silly, but I promise you they work. Even though my 10-year-old won’t admit he likes the sentimental stuff, I can tell that he does because he wants to make sure his siblings get the same treatment on their birthdays. The thought is what counts and is truly the gift that you are giving that individual.  

Above all else, my goal is to simply let the birthday person know that they are important. As a bonus, it’s teaching my kids to be thoughtful and caring. Life is about being there to support each other, and birthdays are a great reminder to do that. 



Copyright 2023 Nikki Lamberg
Images: Canva