Can you remember the joy and excitement you felt as a child when your birthday was just around the corner?
When you’re a child, birthdays are among the most exciting days of the year. All year long, you discuss and plan how you want to celebrate your birthday. You get to invite all of your best friends over, eat a delicious cake of your choosing, and generally enjoy celebrating another year on planet earth. For a kid whose biggest worries are homework and school grades, this is a huge event!
However, as we progress through adulthood, these celebrations tend to become less and less exciting. Instead of a source of joy and an excuse to see all of your best friends, it often becomes a sober reminder that you’re one year older. No longer do you spend months planning which kind of cake you want your candles on.
Birthdays don’t have to carry those negative feelings though. If you have a friend or family member who is dreading their upcoming birthday and you’re looking for a fresh, exciting way to celebrate them, you’re in the right place. Here, you will find nine fun and unconventional ideas to celebrate someone on their birthday. Let’s get into it!
Birthday Depression and How to Cope
The term “birthday depression,” often known as “the birthday blues,” is a state of mind in which a person has feelings of sadness, apathy, or disinterest when celebrating or thinking about their birthday.
A sensation of low energy or focusing on the past, including everything that you may or may not have accomplished up to this point, might also be symptoms of birthday depression. These symptoms can occur in addition to having feelings of sadness. It’s possible that a person will experience these emotions in the days leading up to their birthday, on their birthday itself, and for some time afterward as well.
For some, it can be connected to previous bad experiences they’ve had with birthdays. Others may take stock of their lives and realize they aren’t exactly where they envisioned themselves being at that particular age. Additionally, some people’s birthdays fall during periods in their lives when they are experiencing challenging circumstances.
There are a variety of treatments and coping methods that may assist in curing your birthday blues and simply easing any bad feelings you may be experiencing.
Permit Your Emotions to Come to the Surface
We have a habit of associating birthdays with festivities and happy events, but this might not be the case for everyone. Therefore, if you aren’t experiencing emotions of excitement or happiness during this time, you should give yourself permission to sit with these feelings and not ignore them.
When you give yourself permission to feel your feelings without passing judgment on them, you grant yourself the opportunity to absorb the more profound meaning hidden beneath them, which may help alleviate some of the melancholy you’re experiencing.
Engage in Acts of Self-Awareness and Compassion
It’s essential to pay attention to what you’re experiencing and to treat yourself with compassion as you are going through the process of celebrating a birthday. To have a deeper understanding of what you may be going through, focus your attention and take inventory of your feelings, thoughts, and the areas of your body in which you carry stress.
If we’re able to cultivate a heightened awareness of our sensations, we’ll be more equipped to respond compassionately to them. We have the ability to console ourselves and remind ourselves that we are human beings and that it’s normal for us to experience a wide range of emotions.
Some people may feel guilty when loved ones or friends want to celebrate and organize festivities yet they merely wish to avoid these kinds of events. Encourage those who have these emotions to talk about how they’re feeling, what they want, and what they need in relation to their birthday, and don’t do anything that will make them feel worse or guilty.
It’s their day, so you should do whatever makes them feel most comfortable, whether that’s overcoming any negative sentiments they may be experiencing in order to celebrate with loved ones or remaining at home in order to focus on taking care of themselves.
If someone in your life is experiencing birthday depression, it’s important to understand how to approach the situation and encourage them. It’s also important to have a handy list of fun and new ways to celebrate them on their special day. Now that we’ve discussed the specifics of why some people may feel sad on their birthday, let’s get into some unconventional ways to celebrate them.
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1. Throw a Surprise Party
Who doesn’t love surprises? Okay, maybe surprises aren’t universally loved, especially when they entail lots of people unexpectedly being in your house. However, that’s where you come in! You know your friend or family member best, and while some people might not be too keen on a surprise party, others would be thrilled.
If you know a surprise would make your special someone feel loved and honored, consider the following surprise birthday ideas:
Hire a musician to sing a love song to your special someone, making them feel appreciated — or gleefully embarrassed — as they turn another year older.
Why not take them by surprise and have flowers delivered to them at work? Not only will they feel special, but they’ll have bragging rights around the office.
2. Host a Movie Marathon
Perhaps your loved one isn’t the type to enjoy a rambunctious night on the town. That’s perfectly okay! You know them the best, so if they’d enjoy a quieter celebration with friends as opposed to a night of dancing and loud music, consider hosting a movie marathon for them.
If you have access to a screen projector, you can elevate the experience to feel like your very own home movie theater. You might plan ahead and spark a conversation in the weeks leading up to the party about which are your friend or family member’s favorite movies so you can make sure you either have a copy or they’re available to stream somewhere online.
3. Take an Impromptu Road Trip
We all find ourselves wishing we had done certain things or gone to a certain place “back in the day” when we had the free time to do spontaneous things. However, this doesn’t have to be a thing of the past! Honor your loved one on their birthday by planning a spontaneous road trip to a city or place you know they’ve always wanted to go.
Perhaps they’ve always wanted to visit New York City and walk through the busy streets, or maybe they’ve been talking your ear off for years about how they want to take a fun trip to Las Vegas. Make their birthday memorable by taking them on a fun birthday trip to a place you know they would love. As an alternative, you can also simply plan a road trip just for the sake of road-tripping. The world is your oyster!
4. Mail Something
We’ve seen it all before — birthday wishes on social media, email invites to holiday parties, and digital gift cards — so why not take your special someone by surprise and mail them something for their birthday? You don’t have to live in another state to take advantage of this fun idea — the novelty lies in being surprised when an unexpected package or letter arrives.
Maybe it’s a simple Christmas card with a picture of your family on it, or maybe it’s something more elaborate, like a scavenger hunt leading to a hidden birthday gift. Whatever you choose to gift your loved one, mailing it to them can be a great way to make them feel honored and valued on their birthday.
5. Make Them a Playlist
Twenty years ago, this would have been titled “make them a mixtape,” but today, there are so many options to stream music online that all you have to do is curate a playlist. You know this person better than anyone, so put together a playlist that contains music you know they love. Make sure to include fun songs that are easy to dance to and songs that create a fun and jovial atmosphere. As much as you may like somber, emotional music, it’s probably best to keep it lighthearted for their birthday, even if those somber songs have special meaning to you.
6. Plant a Tree
It’s time to think outside the box and give your loved one a gift that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. Why buy them a common gift that will likely get discarded or buried in a closet when you could gift them something memorable and lasting? Did you know you can plant a tree in someone’s honor?
Through The Arbor Foundation, an organization committed to making our planet greener, you can have a tree planted in someone’s name, and they will even send you a custom certificate that proves you have your very own tree.
7. Host a Mixology Party
Why spend all night out getting drinks and putting up with crowds when you could bring the party to you? Consider reaching out to local catering companies or your favorite restaurants and asking if they have a mixologist who can be your personal bartender for your loved one’s birthday. Usually, they will ask for the guests’ favorite ingredients beforehand so they can craft drinks that are perfectly suited to your tastes.
Remember when you were a kid and you had your birthday parties at the local skating rink? That doesn’t have to be a memory from the past. Roller skating is a great activity to do with friends, so get back to your roots and rent out the local skating rink for your loved one’s birthday. Even if they haven’t skated in years, the fun times will come flooding back into their memory as soon as a game of limbo starts in the middle of the rink and you’re all falling over each other.
This is a fun time whether you choose to take it to a local bar or just have your own karaoke night at home. Set up a playlist of songs you know all your friends love — and know the words to — and get a karaoke night going that is sure to make your friends cry with laughter. Karaoke at a local bar or pub is a great way to meet new people and include others in your fun birthday party, but you can have just as much fun at home doing your own thing.
Great Birthdays for Great Friends
Birthdays aren’t always the perfect occasion for huge parties or extravagant nights on the town, and they don’t have to follow a certain formula. Sometimes birthdays can bring about unpleasant feelings or bouts of depression, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still find a way to brighten someone’s day.
The best part about planning for a loved one’s birthday is knowing just what will make them feel special and executing a plan that will make them feel honored and special as they turn another year older. By following a few of the suggested tips in this article, your loved one will receive a birthday celebration they’ll remember for a lifetime.
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