Natural Birthday Traditions, Part One.


I've been asked many questions about the choices we make in our home for birthday celebrations. (You can see some past celebrations here, here, and here.) Since Sage just turned eight I thought I would share with you a few pieces of our traditions. To keep this from becoming an irrationally long post, I'll break it up over two days. Here are the first three traditions:


A Party! Guest list size.

On years we plan a party, we allow our kids to invite one child per year of their age to their birthday celebration. We've never had a birthday melt-down using this method. Sage is not a big crowds kid, so for the past two years he had chosen a single friend to celebrate with (and this year that friend was in his 30's, a friend of my sister's). Whatever fits. The intention of this tradition is to prevent over-stimulation and overload from a party that is bigger than the child can handle. At five Sage could handle five guests. By seven he knew he couldn't handle seven.

Favors. Simple, meaningful.

Party favors are kept simple and magical. For Sage's fourth birthday (before my crafty phase) I purchased these felt gnomes, straws, a few glass pebbles, and vintage juice cups. I put the name of each child on the cups with strong letter stickers and they used the cup and straw thorough the party. The other treasures were in a cotton drawstring bag for the child to collect upon leaving. These cups are still in use in our house and friends' houses, years later.

For his fifth birthday the children made bubble wands and I had a jar of prepared bubble juice and a helium balloon for each child to take home. When Sage turned six I gave each child a shell and two rocks from the river where we gathered. So simple, and they were thrilled.

The Birthday Ring.

The birthday ring (and the story, that goes with it) are my favorite birthday custom. The ring is a way to mark time by watching, year by year, as the ring fills with candles and the peg people and animals slowly disappear. Eventually the ring is filled when the child is twelve.

I bought mine from a woman I met online, and you can find them at Waldorf school stores and at natural toy stores or improvise one with a collection of simple candle holders.



As for the decorations, I created ours from unfinished wooden peg people and coat pegs purchased here. Using bits of wool felt and roving and some acorn caps I transformed them into a squirrel, pirate, Sage-man, Lupine-girl, gnome, flower fairy, dragonfly, and more. I purchased corks at the hardware store and glued one to each peg base to insert into the spiral. 

I'll share more Birthday Traditions next week. Have a magical weekend everyone!



9 thoughts on “Natural Birthday Traditions, Part One.

  1. Lindsay says:

    Thanks for sharing these. I would like to do similar things for my daughter’s parties. I was unorganized this year and ended up buying some things from the dollar store for gift bags the day of the party, but regretted it and wished I had come up with a better solution. Going to the beach and collecting rocks and shells would have been a way better idea (and fit the theme of her party more too, she had it at a nature hosue). I can’t wait to see the rest.

  2. Stephinie says:

    Thank you for sharing. We do a birthday table at our house…. which I am posting about next week! Celebrating the births of our babes as they grow with simple festivities and special traditions really makes for a fabulous event 🙂

  3. abbie says:

    Your birthdays sound magical! Love the idea of limiting the party guests to the age of the child.
    I read another birthday party post this morning about a mom that got live goldfish for a party favor from a birthday party that her child attended. At first I thought this was very clever but then the mom described how after just a few shorts hours the fish were dead. Not sure how you make your young children understand that their party favor has died!! hehehe

    Thanks for sharing all your great traditions. Can’t wait to hear the rest.

  4. Rachel Wolf says:

    The limit of guests by age came up just after I attended a well-meaning party for a two-year old. She had over a dozen friends their and cried for most of the celebration. That was clarifying for me. Blessings,


  5. Mrs. O says:

    I love the simplicity of it all, really and truly. I want that for my kids too, a true celebration of life. No more chaos, lists, favors, endless tasks, stress. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Rachel Wolf says:

    Mrs. O,
    The pressure of the activities is intense. Each birthday weve done one activity – a craft. At the fairies and gnomes party we made fairy wands, at the water party we made bubble wands. With few kids they play so peacefully that there is no need to force our agenda. They know perfectly well how to play. 🙂

    Have fun!

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