Life is going to knock you down. Sometimes, it will get you so low that you might not be able to imagine rising again. That’s precisely why I’m a firm believer we must find the joy in every day and celebrate whenever we can (even if that might be the cheesiest line I’ve ever written).
There are fewer better excuses for a party than a birthday. While we make a big deal out of kids’ birthdays, many of us practically ignore those of the adults in our life. Some of them don’t want anyone to know their age, after all. Truly, the older we get, the more reason we should recognize and honor our birthdays. Not everyone gets into those later years. So, make the joy when you turn the next number.
Here are some ideas I incorporated into last year’s party for my sixty-something father:
- Make the guest of honor’s favorite food. This is a no-brainer. If you’re not a chef, take them out to dinner. My father loves to cook himself (and in old-Italian-man fashion doesn’t believe anyone else can cook as well), so he actually made his own meal for the party. My son and I just made him yellow cupcakes with chocolate icing, and my mom made a lemon meringue pie, which is his favorite dessert.
- Set a gorgeous table. You can make a table shine with a few little details, such as matching plates and silverware, nice glasses, and a fun napkin fold. I like to search napkin folds online. I pulled together the above bash in a few hours. I just put a blue plastic tablecloth from the dollar store on the table and made it fancy by adding gold fabric, which had been meant to wrap a Christmas gift, as a runner. I also had collected pine cones in the fall and kept them on hand. I used them to hold up place cards I made in the shape of stars. I just used Word.
- Put up a banner. Nothing could be easier than making a personalized birthday banner. Sure, some are elaborate, but they definitely don’t have to be. For this one, I just typed each letter into Word and used different fonts for each. Then, I printed it out on blue paper and attached the letters to a ribbon using tape.
- Put a centerpiece on the table. My father is a landscaper, so I try to use real, fresh flowers for his birthdays. But you could easily use artificial flowers or candles or little figurines or ornaments. Really, you’re limited only by your imagination. For this floral arrangement, I used baby’s breath and some roses, which I picked up at the supermarket, to start. The roses are at the center, and the filler frames the bouquet. You can use floral tape to make a grid on your container to keep flowers in place or you can use floral foam to do the same. I added blue plastic stirrers to add some flourish.
- Get festive. I had party hats and horns on hand for this fiesta. I like crepe paper and balloons. And conversation is always flowing at our house, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t up for fun and games. I’ve had cards asking for best memories of the guest of honor. We’ve played Tombola, Italian Bingo, or Italian cards or bowling on the Wii. The point is to distract yourselves with something entertaining to bring a little extra joy to life in recognition of another year on the planet.