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!