happy-birthday-224x300Saturday was my 46th birthday and I have been reflecting on what makes a successful birthday. We all have birthdays, and, sadly I think, sometimes we ignore them. I hope these tips inspire you to pay attention to your special day and milk it for all it’s worth!

  1. Do have a party. And make it easy on yourself.
    It’s so easy to get lazy and not throw a birthday party. But birthdays are a once-a-year opportunity to have a party that’s exactly the way you want it! If you don’t like asking people to celebrate you, that’s a perfect reason to bite the bullet and start inviting!In the past I have hosted people at my apartment for my birthday, but there’s so much work preparing and (ugh) cleaning up. I now prefer to invite my friends to lunch or dinner at a restaurant. I keep the guest list to 9 so we can all see, hear and interact with each other. We order what we want and the food magically appears! And someone else does the cleanup.
  1. Make the conversations special.
    I always like to spend some time at my party with attention on things that matter to me. A birthday gathering, or any conversation on my birthday, is an opportunity to reflect on the past year and vision for the year ahead. Some years, I’ve asked each of my guests to appreciate me for something and I have appreciated them for what I see as their gifts and strengths. Other years, I ask them to come up with questions like, “What was your favorite movie this year?” “What’s the scariest thing that happened to you this year?” and “What was your most romantic moment this year?” and I answer them. This year, the focus was on the future. I shared my vision for my business, my relationships and myself. I shared some of my struggles too, connecting on a deeper level than typical party conversation. For me, that made for a successful birthday party.
  1. Stay late at your party.
    Don’t leave your own party until the last guest has left. Two years ago, we closed down the Daisy Cupcakery and were awarded with free cupcakes! This year, one guest arrived as some others were already leaving. You never know what will happen at the 11th hour.
  1. Give gifts.
    Many party invitations come with the quip, “Your presence is your present.” I agree. I do not expect gifts for my birthday. But I love to GIVE them! Last year I gave strawberries to the server at the restaurant where I held my party. This year I offered lettuce from my garden to all my guests. I felt joy that I could give something to the people I care about! Often, giving gifts is much more gratifying than receiving them.
  1. Use your gift wish list.
    Sometimes people want to give you a gift, and I like to keep a list of things I want just for that purpose. You can use your Amazon Wish List or keep a file in Evernote or on your computer. When someone asks, you’ll have suggestions at the ready! (This tip came in handy when my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday.)
  1. Answer the phone.
    This might be obvious, but the phone will be ringing for YOU! Answer it, even if you can only talk for a couple of minutes, and soak in the happy birthday wishes and songs. Connect with the people you love!
  1. Engage on Facebook and LinkedIn.
    Set your Facebook settings so people can post on your timeline, and “Like” all the birthday greetings you receive! Say “Thank you” to as many people as you can. You might start up a welcome conversation with a long-lost friend! On LinkedIn, thank everyone who wishes you a happy birthday. Some of them might become clients or even employers!
  1. Celebrate for the whole month!
    This tip came from my friend and fellow resume writer Kristin Johnson. Chances are that all your friends and family will not be able to show up for your official birthday party, so create multiple opportunities to connect and celebrate! Why make your birthday about just one day? In Kristin’s family, she gets a month, her partner gets a month, and each of her kids gets a dedicated month!
  1. Be proud.
    Whatever your age, be proud of having reached this point in your life! Count your blessings and your accomplishments, however big or small. If you’re not satisfied with something, now is a great time to create a plan to change it!

I am happy to say I did all nine of these things for my birthday this year, and I feel very satisfied with the experience!

What are your tips for making your birthday a success? I’d love to hear about your special rituals and family traditions!

1 Comment

  1. Insightful tips, Brenda. Maybe birthdays aren’t so bad after all!
    Our family tradition is for the celebrant to choose their favorite meal and dessert. It is their special day!

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