Yesterday was J's birthday. Every year, we do a mix of something-old/something-new.
For breakfast, I make J's favorite breakfast sandwich: I get the best croissants in Brooklyn, then add turkey bacon (J doesn't eat pork), scrambled eggs and cheese. This year, I added some chives into the mix and used a cheddar/Gruyere blend for the cheese.
Gifts vary, but I like to give things that are more along the lines of experiences we can share together. J's very particular about his stuff, so instead of buying him a shirt he won't like or a money clip he'll lose (ahem), I let him pick out his own things. Instead, I'll gift him an activity of some sort. One year was a membership to the Brooklyn Museum. This year it's tickets to go see the National Asian American Theatre Company perform Henry VI, along with a copy of George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo.
Dinner varies too (this year was pizza on a rooftop in Brooklyn Bridge Park overlooking the East River - it was a co-worker's going away party that happily happened to be near our house and feature one of J's favorite foods). But the one thing that is consistent is dessert: instead of a cake, I try and recreate one of J's favorite desserts (and he is not typically a dessert guy): the pecan pie ice cream sundae from Buttermilk Channel.
For the girls, I haven't really figured out what birthday traditions we'll follow. P1 turned 2 in April, and on her birthday, I draped rainbow streamers in her doorway from floor to ceiling, so she had a little magic first thing when she woke up. Then she got a special breakfast too - since pink is her favorite color, I made her pink milk and strawberry pancakes, which she ate while wearing a little birthday crown I made for her out of some paper and string. I don't think she quite understood what a birthday was, but she had fun (and she definitely knows what a birthday is now - she was so excited to sing happy birthday to her dad yesterday).
P2 will be turning one in just a few weeks (how? How did a year fly by so fast??) and we're still figuring out what her party will look like, but I think I'm going to incorporate the birthday streamers and birthday crown. It's nice to keep the same traditions going.
What about you? Did you have any birthday traditions growing up? Are there special birthday rituals you follow now with your family? I'd love to hear them!