Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Why we celebrate Birthday's like we do!

I know I post a lot about the celebration of birthdays in our family, in fact I post on most of our celebrations and they usually are very picture intensive. Our children love to see their birthday's on the blog. It is a special time that they can see how we spent the time together as a family remembering a day that celebrates them as a unique and special child.

However our traditions in celebrating birthdays has grown over the years and I must admit that it wasn't always about the celebration and the family circle as being significant in this.
Kynan on his 4th Birthday
This is our Kynan on his 4th birthday where we celebrated at home on his actual birthday day. What you can see below is a party I held for him with some of his friends.
(This is just an example from our photo album that I scanned, His third birthday wasn't as 'picture obvious')
Now this wasn't an un usual thing in the circle of friends and family situation we have.
The party was always something for guests, for others outside of the immediate family certainly not the same sort of attention you give to JUST....your family.

I remember staying up late the night before his birthday, making little quite large cornucopia shapes out of paper, with wool on top to look like giant ice cream cones. Stephen was working extremely late that night (after the children were in bed) and I was going to all this effort to make sure he had a great party for these other people we had invited. I know I had not made this effort for his actual birthday.
Now for some people this may be fine but for me and what I thought was important for our family it just didn't ring true.
Our family has the most important people in the world to me and I was not giving them their proper level of importance by making sure we had "special" food, decorations and party ideas for others who are not essential to our family circle.

It wasn't until I read Sarah Ban Breathnach's Mrs. Sharp's Traditions: Reviving Victorian Family Celebrations Of Comfort and Joy  book and devoured all the wonderful traditions that I started to see how I could achieve this in our family.

You see I came from a family where birthdays were not all that special and certainly other special days like Christmas were not that greatly appreciated.
We did not have particular foods or cooking days to celebrate these times and making an effort at decorating or having a tradition for this day was not even something I had heard about.

In my early years as a wife and mother I had to teach myself ALL the traditions and crafts I do now. I had to train myself in finding traditions that we wanted to use in our family. I had to learn how to sew, cross stitch, make patchwork quilts for our beds and special decorations for our home or clothes. (I still struggle with clothes but am getting better).
In our early years we could not afford to buy decorating items for our home. I made cross stitch for the walls and I made door stops shaped like ducks, hanging hearts out of calico etc. I made many gifts for relatives as we just couldn't afford to buy them. This I think made a 'homey' looking home that we felt at , well home in.
Well that  was a huge digression from birthdays.... Sorry

On with the story~
While reading the marvelous Mrs Sharps Traditions I loved the significance of birthdays within the family circle. The whole book is about celebrating the everyday miracle of family life together.
I have scanned from my book the two pages on Birthdays for you to read. You will have to click on them and then zoom in to read them though, sorry I can't get it any better.

The main ideas I got from this was making a birthday crown from gold cardboard and making a throne to put on the birthday person's chair and of course the seasons table (as explained in anther part of the book).
Since then we have developed many other wonderful additions to our birthday traditions.

These are the mainstays of our birthdays, except obviously the birthday presents.
1. All presents go into the birthday bag I have made for each child.
Arwen's birthday bag
2. The seasons table is decorated with 'birthday theme' decorations
3. The gold cardboard crown has transformed into a felt decorated crown, (instruction on how easy and quick they are to make here) individually made for the child each year.
Arwen's 1st Birthday crown
4. We set the breakfast table specially with Bunnykins mostly.
5. We have a golden star path from the bed of the birthday child to the season table where the birthday bag is waiting.
6. We have a birthday banner that is displayed in the room. This is also homemade.
7. I make a novelty cake for the birthday child
Stephens Chess board cake this year
8. The birthday Ring with figures on it ( I made these too)  gets put in the middle of the table.  We have homemade dipped or rolled bees wax candles for this as well
Birthday ring...after the meal
9. NO routine jobs/chores for the whole day.
10. The birthday child chooses the main birthday meal.
11. Siblings make homemade cards and gifts.
12. PARTY bags. These are paper bags decorated and then our favourite lollies put in
An example of a Party bag....before trading!!
13. A birthday sign for the table
14. The happy birthday plate is placed out at the evening meal
15. Recently I have started painting a painted Saint like my Alphabet ones and printing out a picture of the saint as well
Eden's St Philomena
16. The birthday throne, very simple to make
Arwen's 1st Throne
I think this is everything we do.
Updated 2014- We also have a birthday fairy that I made a couple of years ago
I share this with you not to say how good I am but to show you, that YOU can make each birthday or other special occasion special even and in my opinion ESPECIALLY without others to celebrate with you. Choose what is special for your individual family and just start doing it.

After all God created the family first to be an example of community and we can share that sense of community with those very special people within our family circle....our Domestic Church.

From there who know what those children can do and how they can share  God's love when they have experienced the love in their own home that says You are special......always!

Blessings to you and your homes,


Anonymous said...

Personally, I love the way you celebrate birthdays and I plan on borrowing many of your ideas after we adopt.

I also like the fact that your birthdays are not wasteful in using things like wrapping paper, etc. I love, love, love the birthday bag.

Tiffany said...

Your family is truly blessed by all that you do, Gae! Thank you for being a beautiful witness and lovely example for us all. Especially when "the world" talks people into thinking that children are less special in big families. God Bless your delightful domestic church!

Autumn said...

I like it best when you let me know what my siblings will get for their birthday the night before.
Autumn xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxxooooooooooooooxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxoooooooooooooooxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxoooooooooooooooooooooooooooxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxoooooooooooooooxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Gentle Heart Homestead said...

Wonderful post Gae! Love the starry path!! I agree that too much importance can be placed on pleasing the guests and not the guest of honour at times. When our boys were little and could choose the main meal on their birthdays, they always chose a humble homecooked one of mashed potatoes, spinach, sausages and gravy. They still love it! Fast foods appear here and there in our celebrations but homecooked is always the favourite.It's not the fancy things that make one truly happy it's the love of a stable family and home. You are a huge blessing to yours! I admire your imagination,energy and inspiration. God bless you and the birthday boy!
ps..Thanks for joining my blog and leaving such beautiful comments! I will put together a post about the Liturgy of the Hours soon :-)

Kim said...

Okay, so I'm coming down for my birthday. It'd be summer there, yes (March)?

That aside, I absolutely love it when you post birthday pictures. When I get some more time (:D) I plan on reading those scans you put up. The entire book sounds awesome, I think I need to add it to my wishlist. :)

God bless!

Kendra said...

Oh, I love, love, love celbrating our children's birthdays! I love your idea with the golden stars, that would be a huge hit around here.. Your birthday ring is terrific too! I especially love the little figure with the crown on. You are an amazingly talented person! :)


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