Birthdays in a Box

 

birthday decorNo, this is not a blog drawing on Justin Timberlake’s famous SNL skit offering his girl the present she’s always dreamed of in “a box” for the holidays. Instead, it’s about a clever birthday marketing idea I came across. Much more upscale than the birthday in a box kits I’ve seen (and still use when traveling) at something like a Target, the Birthday Butler offers portable, mailable birthday party packages for celebrations on the go.

The founder, Lisa Bader, loves “making people feel special on their birthdays” and wants grown-ups to be able to enjoy great, easy celebrations too. She’s a former Intel and Procter and Gamble branding and marketing executive who wants to “make it as easy as possible for you to celebrate your loved ones.”

birthday decor

That’s an easy idea to get behind!

The BirthdayButler.com offers several different styles of birthday party decor, in two different package sizes. There’s a black and gold, more upscale-looking option as well as a pink and yellow party theme called Sweet Indulgence.

birthday decor

My favorite thought is the Outdoor Theme one. Apparently inspired “by Mother Nature herself,” this party features greenery and natural woods.

 

I came across this party decor helper in an interview with her local TV station. Personally, I’m willing to give this idea two thumbs up. Not only because of its smart appeal to adults who are too busy or may be traveling on their birthday, but also due to its wholehearted embrace of the idea that grown-ups deserve a good birthday party too.

Unicorn party idea

Unicorn Birthdays and Celebrity Sparkle

Sometimes it is just fun to see how the rich and famous live. No, I’m not a Kardashian loyalist. But, when my birthday news alert (yes, I have one of those!) blew up with coverage of a Kardashian birthday party I couldn’t resist.

Cousins North (who turns 5 on June 15) and Penelope (6 on July 8)  wore matching rainbow-colored robes and swimsuits at the June 3 party Kim shared on Instagram. There were also horses with sparkly manes and rainbow-colored horns!

 

 

Grandma Kris Jenner…wonder what they actually call her (is there still a show people watch and already know that?) was also covered cuddling
with Dream Kardashian.

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Unicorn Party Ideas

The theme is popular for parties, so I thought I’d share some great unicorn party touches. Like this one to make Unicorn Poop Slime, which I know several girls in my neighborhood would absolutely love.

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Or let everyone wear a unicorn horn headband. Crafty kids could make their own at the party.

unicorn party ideas
You can easily go on Amazon and buy a cake topper that converts a cake into a unicorn.
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Or you might make these fondant golden horn cupcake toppers.

unicorn party idea

Then, there all the games you might play. There’s the obvious Pin the Tail on the Unicorn. Or, you could give each partygoer their own Unicorn to ride, as suggested in LollyJane’s 17 unicorn party ideas.

unicorn party idea

unicorn party idea

There are also videos and tutorials online to make your very own unicorn piñata.

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UNICORNS! It’s the best of little girl dreams: horses, magic, color, and — if it were my party — sparkle.

Birthday Surprise for Military Son

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I’m a fan of creative gift-giving. My friends did a scavenger hunt for me to find my present in college, and I loved it. I have aunts who sent the same plastic figure back and forth to each other embedded in other gifts. I’ve done the big box of empty to faux disappoint a child. Plus, a lump of coal for my husband one Christmas.

So, I get the idea behind the birthday gift prank played on the boy in this MilitaryKind video I saw shared on Facebook:

 

Birthday Prank

The boy is given a big box with more boxes inside of it. At one point he opens one to find a letter, which has him in tears reading out loud how his Dad won’t be able to make it home for his birthday. So sad. Then, he keeps on opening more boxes…Finally, he hits a note that says “Surprise” and out comes Dad — home after all.

Perhaps not as surprising is the mixed reactions on Facebook. Some people thought the whole thing so sweet — Father and Son reunion after all. Others were upset about the cruel trick played on the little boy.

One wrote: “Why put the kid through the emotional trauma of the first part of this surprise by first lying to him??? Cruel.”

I appreciated this response to that perspective: “…guess all of you saying how cruel this is have never done anything to tease anyone in your lives.”

Still, the comments made me view the video again in a different light. I’ve decided taking out the letter part, where the kid’s hopes are crushed, could have had the same surprise impact and softened the blow.

What’s the cruelest/cleverest thing you’ve done to celebrate a friend’s birthday?

Texas School Stops Birthday Swats

Even decades later I remember the birthday “paddy whacks” we would dole out on the schoolyard at recess. When we were little it was cause for hilarity. When we were just beginning to “like” boys or girls it was an awkward/embarrassing excuse for a group of one sex to grab hold of one of the opposite sex (single sex liking was not socially accepted on schoolyards then, sorry).

Then, there would be lots of teasing and laughing while someone was put through the mill of whacks — imagine a line up of kids swatting the birthday kid scrambling as quick as possible past their “friends.” But even if I put quotes around friends, because it wasn’t always your closest buddies doing this, it was always your classmates. Peers. People of your own age. 

Principal Paddy Whacks

In Texas, an elementary school recently made the news after parents complained about a principal’s practice of offering birthday spankings “along with a birthday/special day pencil and a piece of candy.”

birthday swat

Texas Elementary School

The principal said in a letter home to parents that no more than five pupils had requested “something other than the birthday swat” over her past eight years. Plus, she said that the spankings were on camera and there were “always other adults in the office celebrating with us all.” (UHM, them being on camera helps her case how?).

Students who rejected the spanking had the option of a birthday hug or high five. Yet now, based on a few parent complaints, the practice has been cancelled in favor of the hug or high five options only.

In one report of parent reactions, “one said it was done in a playful manner, while another said it was a fun tradition and her kids ‘always look forward to it’.” 

A NY Daily News report quoted parent Jessica Moore telling a local TV station, ”If it was a big deal to the kid, they would’ve brought it up way before now.”

Parent Heather Redder suggested the distress was due to a lack of understanding. “They’re not used to a small community,” she explained. “And that’s what we are. People that move here from the big city, they don’t realize, and they’re not used to this.”

Mine was not a small community, but in Canada and Britain the paddy whacks are admittedly more common. Still, even being the nerd I was throughout all my schooling, I can’t imagine having the principal swatting my bottom being something I would enjoy on my birthday. In my world you tried to steer clear of the principal at all costs! Admittedly, I probably would have been pretty excited about that special day pencil though.

Matching your Birthday Month to Your Enthusiasm Level

birthday month

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If your birthday is this month, according to a writer for Sweety High, you “always anticipate” your birthday “will be as awesome as [you’ve] imagined.” After all, you’re one of the “optimistic May babies” who can “seize the opportunity to celebrate outside and take advantage of the great weather.” Even if the weather isn’t so great, you’ll  “tend to look on the bright side of things.”

Of course, this article has absolutely no sourcing, so it could all be the opinion of Amanda Pillon, the writer for Sweety High (yes, that really is the site’s name). But who doesn’t love a good birthday personality predictor?

Checking out her view of October birthdays, I did not see myself in the first half of the description about loving Halloween and turning my party into a costume party. Yet, I could agree with the second half at least:

“…they wouldnt change their birth month for the world. The timing also means that fall is back in full swing, meaning the weather is cool, the style is fashionable and the candy is abundant.”

Birthday Personality

My son is February, so I checked his description next. But it was all about people having given up their New Year’s resolutions and being able to eat cake with him and looking forward to spring. This one was definitely not written for a 10-year-old boy.

On to December, for my husband who has to deal with a holiday week birthday, and would definitely agree with the statement: “they really wish they could be any other time of year.” After all, Pillon tells us, “because of all of the holiday commotion, people are either forgetting your birthday altogether, or lumping your holiday presents in with the birthday ones….Youve probably considered celebrating your half-birthday in the summer, instead.”

My friend who does celebrate her half-birthday is actually an August birthday, so I read that one next. Apparently, “August babies know that it is the chillest month to have a birthday,” and “know theres tons of potential in an August birthday and that [their] job is to unlock it.”

Me, I don’t want my birthday to be a job, so I’m glad I’m not August. January didn’t sound so great to me either:

“If you were born in January, chances are that you see your big day as a mixed bag. While youre invigorated by celebrating your birthday along with a new year and new beginnings, you dont love it when people skimp on the gifts because they just bought you ones for the holiday.”

March birthdays seem a little disappointing too: “March birthdays dont always live up to the expectations you have for them…the weather absolutely cant seem to make up its mind…Plus, everyone seems distracted by tests and school, and spring break never seems to coincide with your special day.”

Birthday Spin

April gets a positive spin though as “Everyone else has a good association with your birthday, too, because they relate it to the sun shining and the flowers blooming.”

June, too, since “June birthdays mean summertime is officially here, and June babies cherish that.”

She also had high hopes for November birthdays: “everyone is getting into the holiday spirit, but pre-holiday present-buying panic hasnt set in. Your birthday gets to sit comfortably in the middle.”

A July birthday, on the other hand, “means freedom. Youll never have to worry about being in school for your birthday, and you can essentially transform your big day into a summer-long celebration all about you.”

Now, the summer-long celebration part sounds appealing, but I think the line that most appealed to me came in September’s description.

Although it is the most popular month to be born, there’s the upside of having “the first birthday of the school year (which is also the most exciting birthday all year).” And, the part I liked best, “everyone is eager to get back into celebration mode, so they jump at the opportunity to make yours a great birthday. You love being a star for a day.”

Why, yes, I do love being the star — only in October. See you then!

Celebrity Birthday Greetings

As a huge Alias fan, I’ve always really admired Jennifer Garner. Where others might say they could see themselves being friends with Jennifer Aniston, my imaginary celeb best friend would be Garner.

Her birthday shoutout to Reese Witherspoon earlier this year only clinched it for me:
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Witherspoon and Garner are long-time “gal-pals” (man, I hate that phrase, but I would be Jennifer’s gal-pal if she’d have me!). Witherspoon sent a birthday greeting of for Garner’s birthday too:

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Of course, this tells me that Garner spells her name with just one “n,” which is a bit disappointing to this two-n Jenn, but I can accept it. We don’t have to be the same people, after all…

Nonetheless, I love what says about friendship and birthdays. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor, famous or not you are (and your friends are), you still want to celebrate birthdays and let friends and family know they are loved.

Spice Girl’s Fruit Cake Prompts Commentary

I’m a bit of a Posh Spice fan. I can admit it. Although when the Spice Girls were big I probably appreciated Ginger Spice more. But, Victoria’s last name says it all, really. She landed David Beckham. And, although I love my own husband, of course, David Beckham is very much on my list. 

Victoria’s Birthday Cake

So, when I saw a blog criticizing Victoria Beckham’s birthday cake, I couldn’t click on the link fast enough to see what the fuss was about. Turns out, the fuss was about Watermelon. The kitchn story announced: “Victoria Beckham’s Birthday “Cake” Is Just a Big Watermelon in Disguise.”

When Beckham turned 44, she posted a video of her daughter sweetly singing “Happy Birthday” as the cake was sliced in front of handmade cards on Instagram. 

birthday cake

And the commentary began: 

The kitchn columnist said, “If you put this ‘cake’ and a real cake in the same place, no one would eat this one because there would be real cake.”

She collected some of the twitter responses, and I did quite enjoy these ones:

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Cake Alternative Accepted

Still, I have to say there is nothing wrong with a healthy alternative to cake (at least not for someone else, that is). Not everyone loves cake. If I loved cake less, I could likely go to the gym less too…

To me, it’s one thing to have a few laughs over the cake, but quite another to bash her eating choices overall. Those comments I won’t be repeating. She was happy with the cake, and loved that her family knew her so well. 

Her daughter sang! There are handmade cards, people! In March Time reported, her “net worth is about $450 million, thanks to brand sponsorships, modeling contracts, and a massively popular fashion label.” That’s just her net worth, without David. The kids could probably afford greeting cards — but they made them! And they made her a fruit cake instead of having a seven-tier something-or-other custom-made by some celeb chef. 

Say what you might about the watermelon having seeds or it not being a real cake, but it was prepared with love, which is what birthdays are about in the end!