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20 Frugal and Creative Birthday Traditions

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Birthday traditions are among the traditions we look forward to most. If there is one thing we have plenty of with a family of nine, it’s birthdays. Our birthdays happen to be clustered together in a couple of different groups. Interestingly, I have not one but two sets of kids whose birthdays are separated by only three days on the calendar. I also have four out of nine birthdays that are within six weeks of one another. It can make life a little crazy at times.

Traditions are not only something that we look forward to, but they are actually a way of streamlining how birthdays work. There are many things that are the same for each child in our family, which is a very good thing.

There are some who go all out for birthdays, but being more limited with finances means that we have had to be creative in an effort to also be frugal.

I love traditions, and they are important in celebration of so many things, but birthdays are really a great time. These are the traditions we have in our home. Maybe you can find a few fun ideas to try out, and, share your traditions in the comments. It’s always fun to interact as a community.

birthday traditions

These are the traditions we do with every birthday:

  • The day starts with a birthday donut, or as my oldest daughter called it when she was little, a bagel with frosting. She called it this for a couple of years – it was one of those things that was just too cute to correct.
  • We have a no school policy on birthdays. As my kids get older, this has had to give at times if we just can’t afford to take the time off, but as a general rule, the whole family gets the day off for a birthday.
  • The birthday person of honor has their chores divided up among their siblings. That way, they have a day free from chores and household responsibilities.
  • The person of honor gets to choose what’s on the menu for dinner. Yes, this means that we have eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on occasion. Sometimes the things my kids choose really do surprise me. My daughter recently chose the tilapia recipe that I will be sharing later on. I thought tilapia was an interesting choice, but I know that she loves it.

Following are things that we have done for birthdays in the past, but don’t necessarily do every year. 

  • decorating the birthday person’s room with streamers
  • decorating their chair with streamers and balloons
  • taking a fun field trip
  • allowed the person of honor to wear a crown
  • addressed the birthday person as “your highness”
  • declared a pajama day
  • had a movie marathon
  • played games all day
  • had dessert for every meal
  • declared backwards day – ate dinner for breakfast, wore clothes backwards, did bedtime rituals in the morning, etc.
  • had a picnic in the living room
  • played party games like pin the tail on the donkey as a family
  • made giant monster cookies together
    had a water balloon fight
  • created a scavenger hunt for birthday presents
  • had a dance party marathon

What you do on birthdays doesn’t matter as much as the fact that birthdays are special, out of the ordinary days that have elements of fun throughout. Birthday traditions don’t have to be complicated, and they don’t have to be expensive, but they can always be memorable.

What do birthdays look like in your house? Please share!

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