family fun

Celebrating Birthdays in a Non Traditional Way

family funentertainment & parties

Four years ago, on Independence Day, I became a mom. We heard the cracks and booms outside and assumed they were doing construction nearby. In our new-parent haze it took a while for us to realize that it was the Fourth of July and we were the proud parents of a little firecracker. The noises outside our window were celebrations, not at all intended for us, but we imagined they were.

Three years ago I found myself planning a dual purpose first birthday celebration that incorporated the 4th holiday and all of its traditions- grilling out, backyard games, sparklers, friends, family & fun. All of these traditions are in honor of the birth of the USA’s independence.  It dawned on me that I had to make the holiday special for my son too. Parents of little ones born on holidays may also feel like this. How do I create memories with my kid, for my kid, but without disrespecting the reason we celebrate?

That first birthday party was epic. We, of course, created lots of memories with all 100 people who attended. My one year old probably remembers none of it. I like to think of that party as a celebration for us, as parents, to celebrate the fact we kept our first born alive for 365 days.  Here is a little peek at the details from that party:


This year my little firecracker was well aware his birthday was approaching and he had opinions about how to celebrate.  He declared his party would have a large chocolate cake, Grandpa, Rescue Bots, water & friends. OKAY…..none of that has much to do with the 4th of July and our plan to go to the fireworks in the city. SO…I had to get creative.

Our goal was to give him a birthday experience rather than birthday gifts. It was his “Golden Birthday” {Four on the Fourth in 2014} Talk about a dual purpose birthday!?! Rather than host a huge birthday party/holiday BBQ/fireworks display/carnival in our backyard we opted to hit the road and enjoy the holiday with family WHILE celebrating a birthday along the way. There were no fancy decorations or days spent preparing; and the entertainment happened to be the sights & scenery along the way. Our celebration happened in the moment and with strangers joining in.



YES- there was a HUGE chocolate cake….enjoyed on a HUGE tarp in the middle of a HUGE crowd. His Grandpa was there, along with Grandma, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins & one Rescue Bot. Note the smile across the kids face.

No gifts were exchanged; just smiles, hugs & kind words. Our not-so-little-anymore firework asked if he could share his cake with his ‘friends’ in the park. The strangers around us joined us for cake and became part of our party. The birthday boy exclaimed that this was his “favorite birthday!” We have one photo of the ‘party’, and it is the only one we need to remind us of HIS special day that happens to fall on Independence Day.

He spent the time waiting for the sun to set running around, burning off the chocolate cake & being 4 years old in all his glory. The fireworks began and gifted us all with a moment in time that will become our new dual purpose birthday/holiday tradition.

Like most kids his age, he did not want the moment to end. As the day and the holiday weekend drew to a close there were tears and a dramatic departure home. By the time we walked through the front door home he had gained some perspective. While unpacking and winding down he stopped and said, “Thank you for my birthday”.  That is my most-favorite memory of his celebration.

I learned that creating memories is so much more fun, and rewarding, than creating decorations. From now on I am not going to make décor & party favors. I am going to make moments that are etched in our memories. We are a few days out from his birthday, and he is still talking about it. I am still patting myself on the back for a job well done.

How do you like to create family memories?


I am a thirty-something mom of two littles and founder of the blog Mums Chasing Lilies. I write, along with 5 other eclectic moms, about our personal motherhood journeys and everyday mom-stuff.  I am also a contributing blogger & graphic designer for theCityMoms.  Indianapolis, Indiana is my home and I enjoy being connected to my community both on and off-line. Before launching my career as a WAHM I was a Pediatric Nurse. That is where my love for kids blossomed. Truly never wanted to be a mom until I was given the gif t of caring for those awesome kiddos!

You can Mums Chasing Lilies on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Google+. To learn more about this guest author, visit her page.

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