When you’re young, apart from Christmas, your birthday is just about the most exciting day of the year. In fact, my kids usually start planning their next birthday before they’ve finished eating the cake from their current one. Actually, at one point my eldest had planned how he was celebrating his 8th, 9th and 10th birthdays – before he’d even turned 7!
Unfortunately, as we get older, our enthusiasm for birthdays can sometimes wear off as the numbers start to climb. And to make matters worse, just when you’re least expecting it, along comes a big birthday to remind you how quickly the decades are passing.
Now the first couple of big birthdays that come knocking on the door aren’t too bad, 18th and 21st parties are great fun, but then you hit the 30s, 40s, 50s… and it starts to become a bit scary.
Yet, love them or loathe them, your birthday will happen once a year – or twice if you happen to be the Queen.
So our advice is, don’t fight it. Use it as a great excuse to be the centre of attention for the day. Let your friends and family spoil you rotten and enjoy every minute of it.
And when it comes to a big birthday then celebrate in style. Use the philosophy of the bigger the birthday, the bigger the celebration and at least you’ll have a fantastic time to look back on.
Celebrating the occasion
It’s all very well celebrating your own big birthday but how do you go about celebrating your mum’s 60th, your friend’s 30th or your granddad’s 80th.
Our advice is to plan in advance. Throwing them a surprise party can be a great idea, but this will take a huge amount of planning to pull it off properly.
It’s also not a good idea if the person in question likes to be in control and detests surprises. In this case, you’re better off approaching them to see if they’d like you to help them plan their birthday.
But there are always ways around this. Why not throw a party that the birthday boy or girl knows about, but then add an element of surprise to spice it up?
You could book some entertainment that you know they’ll enjoy or arrange for the ‘magical’ appearance of a long lost friend or relative. Alternatively present them with an amazing gift that you’ve all clubbed together to buy. The options are endless, but just make sure that the guests know how to keep a secret. It’s also a good idea to nominate a capable friend as the photographer, so that they can be on-hand to capture that look of shocked amazement on the birthday girl or boy’s face.
It’s also a thoughtful idea to circulate a guest book – preferably at the beginning of the evening while everyone is still sober enough to write. At the end of the evening you can then present them with a record of their friends’ personal messages.
Even if a party isn’t their style, most friends and family will be touched by thoughtful, private surprises. Bake them a birthday cake or suggest that you both indulge in lunch or mid-morning coffee and cake on the actual day of their birthday.
Perhaps you could treat them to something different, like a day at the races or a relaxing spa day – speaking from experience, this is a fantastic idea if they have kids!
Gift ideas for special birthdays
For family and close friends it’s nice to buy them something that they can keep or something that they will remember for years to come. While weekend trips to New York might be out of most people’s budgets, there are plenty of other ideas that can be equally special.
Jewellery or watches are usually cherished gifts. Especially if you go that step further to make them personal, perhaps by having the watch engraved or choosing jewellery that features their birth stone.
If your budget is low, why not club together with friends? If the birthday boy or girl has always had a burning desire to do something wild, then an experience gift might be the answer. It’s not unknown for first time skydivers to be drawing their old age pension.
Whatever you choose, plan in advance to make sure that you can present them with their gift on the day of their birthday. And always remember, professional gift-wrapping can turn a great gift into a fantastic gift.
If you’re still stuck for inspiration, why not check out our other Gift Ideas articles. We’ve some great ideas for special gifts, including:
- Gift ideas for friends and family
- Classic gifts that always work
- Gift ideas for women
- Gift ideas for dads
Celebrate in style
Our final piece of advice is to have fun and embrace your birthday with open arms. At the end of the day, they’re just like our big birthday balloons – they’ll jump out and hit you between the eyes anyway… and if you let them, they’ll put a great big smile on your face.