I’m a huge fan of traditions and (if I’m being totally honest) have been known to go overboard trying to keep a few hefty ones alive over the years. Three attempts at making fudge from scratch while simultaneously caring for 6 1/2 month old twin boys? Check.

There’s just something so wonderful about a familiar event or item bringing back all the fun memories of years gone by. It’s no secret that certain smells, songs or foods will throw you back in time, so why wouldn’t you want to keep something consistent on each special day to help pull all those memories together? Now that I’m a mum, I’m even more excited to celebrate traditions than I was as a kid.

This past Christmas was HUGE as it was our first with the boys; though I tried incredibly hard to inject a little realism into my idealistic holiday dreams, I still wanted everything just so. We did the general unwrapping in our pj’s (a lot earlier than I would have liked to quell E’s urge to rip everything open at 6am), had a wonderful breakfast (my MIL cooked a couple of amazing quiches – a feat I would not have thought possible in our tiny kitchen until she did it), lounged around drinking coffee and listening to carols for most of the afternoon and rounded it out with a flaming English pudding for dessert.

I also love my mum for helping fill out our ornament collection; she wrapped up different ones for Oliver, Eli, E and I to open Christmas morning and forevermore I’ll see them and think of that day. My parents have ornaments gathered from all over the world (instead of your usual 20 glass balls and a slew of ribbon) and I know where almost all of them came from and remember every Christmas a new one was added. As E and I build a life together, we’re building our own set of memories on the tree.

The boys’ 1st birthday is creeping up on me and I think it’s the perfect opportunity to start a new set of customs. While digging for ideas, I came across this article. Sure most of the ideas are pretty basic, but it’s a good reminder that simple things often mean the most.

8 Birthday Traditions You’ll Want to Try

Written by Kerrie McLoughlin, Photo: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Thinkstock
Every year when I was a kid, my parents would let me choose where I wanted to eat dinner out for my birthday. Another birthday tradition they kept going was to have a small party for me with family and friends, including a cookout since I have a June birthday. Kids love to feel special, and it can be a challenge to find the time to come up with ways to make a birthday a knockout. Never fear!TraditionsBelow are eight ideas for birthday traditions to start with your own kids. Pick and choose a few of them each year… and stick with the ones you and your birthday kid love!

1. Rise and shine. I like to wake my kids up on their birthday not with, “Get up! It’s time for school!” but with an extra long snuggle and the condensed version of the day they were born. Who doesn’t like to hear their birth story?! Adopted and foster children can be told how they were meant to be brought into the family and how special they are.

2. Birthday letter. Every year, I type up a birthday letter for each of my children telling them what great things they did and said and learned during the past year. I give the birthday child a copy, then save a copy in a binder and on my computer for myself because we all know kids can’t keep track of stuff. The plan is to give each of my children a copy of all their letters when they move out, which means they’ll have somewhere between 18 and 30 letters to enjoy!

3. Birthday slideshow.
With just a few clicks of your mouse, you can create a special slideshow using PowerPoint or a similar computer program. Just pop in photos, size them and add cute captions. You can even add some music if you like. After your child watches it about a zillion times, save it to a CD and pop it in a special place (safe deposit box, fireproof box, etc.) so your child will always have it.

4. Photos.
I try to take as many pictures as I can on birthdays and even make sure I’m included in some of them, since I’m the mom and all! Later, we like to get out old photo albums and the birthday kid’s baby album.

5. Special meal. One of my kids loves the neighborhood restaurant where they sing Happy Birthday and are given a balloon to take home. Another is content heading to the local fast-food indoor play area and grabbing bites of food in between trips down the slide. Make at least one meal of the birthday child’s day something out of the ordinary!

6. Special treat. We like to hit the cupcake restaurant or grab huge, frosted cookies from a local baker and share with our friends and neighbors to spread the celebration around. A cheap – and just as special – route would be to make your child’s favorite dessert at home: cookies, cake, banana splits, shakes or ice cream sundaes are always a good bet. Depending on which fruit is in season (or go frozen!), a decadent fruit smoothie made with frozen yogurt could be nice.

7. Party (doesn’t have to be on the actual birthday). If you get a few gray hairs every time you think of planning a birthday party, don’t fret. Options include: a simple party at your place with just a few people, a bash at a park shelter or a celebration where a local children’s party place does all the work.

8. Birthday weekend sleepover with a few special friends (for kids over age seven).
Warning: this one is not for the faint of heart! I suggest a maximum of three friends to stay the night at your house on a Friday night around the time of your child’s birthday. Order pizza to make life easy on yourself, grab some movies from the library and have them set up their sleeping bags as far away from your bedroom as possible.

Kerrie is the proud and kooky mom of five. Check out their adventures at

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