Birthday Expenses and 50 Presents Each!

 

This week I went to two different birthday events. First was a surprise party for a 40-year-old. My husband, at the adult party, shared a vent with the milestone birthday man about December birthdays and how they only get “half” the presents/attention. 

The next night we went to a gathering at a pizza place on a kids’ night for a 10-year-old who “didn’t want a party.” I wondered if his parents would be able to remind him later on (say, when’s he 40 and complaining about getting shafted) that he was the one to say “no” to an official party!

Not that his parents were complaining, I’m sure. Especially at this time of year, it was probably a treat to save some money. Research from Barclays in the U.K. recently found that “the average parent will spend nearly £5,000 on celebrating birthdays during the ages of four and 11. Typically, adults spend £433.39 on birthday parties and another £164.65 on presidents.” (Yeah, I had to direct quote that because I love the typo in presents. I would have thought presidents would cost more!).

The top five party expenses were:

  • Catering
  • Entertainment
  • Party bags
  • Activities 
  • Cake.

You’d think some money could be saved hosting the party at home. That may be true, but this was the survey’s “most stressful venue for a birthday party.”

But some parents also buy as many as 50 presents per birthday, the study revealed. 

Barclay’s, being a financial institution, took the opportunity in reporting on the study to remind people, “the money you spend on presents and parties adds up and ultimately can end up having quite an impact on the savings you might have otherwise put aside for your child’s future.” Clare Francis, savings and investments director at Barclays, said: “The sooner you start saving, the better your financial trajectory will be.”

Starting at Year One

A Pop Sugar columnist would likely argue to start saving that money at year one. After all, her article is entitled, “Why You Honestly Shouldn’t Even Bother Throwing a Big First Birthday Party.”

She described the relaxed approach to her second child’s first birthday party: “It was a no-muss, no-fuss kind of party, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.” But this was a far cry from the stress of the first child’s first birthday party with “an intricate fondant-covered cake, blanketing the house in expensive decorations, and spending most of the party bouncing around the house making sure everyone had everything they needed.”

Looking back, recognizing that neither child will remember the event, she suggests “throw the rules out the window and do your kid’s birthday the way YOU want to.”

That likely means 50 presents and hundreds of dollars for some and low-pomp but lots of family fun for others. 

Finally, while we’re talking about birthday expenses, I’ll also share this article from Bustle on how millennial women deal with splitting the bill at birthday dinners. The more you know, right?

Sharing A Birthday With Your Spouse

share birthday

Image source: Globe and Mail

 

Here is something that would be a recipe for divorce at my house — sharing my birthday. I know I’m a little (OK, a lot) birthday crazed. But I can’t be the only person who would NOT want to share her birthday with her significant other. Ugh! Worse would be having to share with your child…then, you’d have to be the grown up about it and all that kind of stuff.

Canadian John Beattie recently provided a personal essay to The Globe and Mail with the title “What it’s like to share everything – even your birthday – with your wife.” Of course, this first person account read like a horror story to me.

Beattie and his wife Zuraidah on July 30th each year compare themselves to a Hollywood power couple that share the same birthday too. They “wake up asking each other ‘what would Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones do?’” Since Christo and Jean Claude, the artists that wrap buildings and parks also share a birthday, I’m not sure why they don’t ask about them (although perhaps the answer there is too obvious — wrap something).

Statistics for Sharing

Beattie guesses there are other couples that are not so famous that are also “birthday sharers” but comments there is no special word to describe this occurrence. Yet, he writes, “there really should be. There are at least seven billion people on Earth. If everyone’s birthdays are spread out evenly that would mean each of us shares a birthday with more than 19-million people. That merits a word.”

It would have to a romantic one, apparently, since “just about everyone who knows [Beattie and his wife] as a couple thinks it’s really romantic.”

But as you can already guess, I do not agree. There is no romance in having to spoil my significant other on the day I want to be spoiled. Even my husband, who already has had to endure a December 30th birthday all of his life, would probably stick with his winter doldrums bday over having to share the birthday spotlight with yours truly.

Nevertheless, at least those who share a birthday don’t have to worry about forgetting their spouse’s birthdays. Yes, apparently it’s an issue. One third of those in an evite poll of 2,000 had done so. Men were twice as likely to space, and 9/10 of them were in serious relationships when they did so. Unsurprisingly, 12% of their relationships hit the skids because of the birthday gaffe.

Help With Your Birthday Message

Want to stand out from the others saying “Happy Birthday” or, if really creative, “Hope you have a Happy Birthday” on someone’s social media? You could add a birthday bitmoji! I personally prefer the unicorn one:

birthday greetings

If you don’t have that app, the Internet has your back. You can easily grab a birthday gif or meme from google. This is a fun one…

giphy.gif

Then there’s the need to draw attention to ourselves on our birthdays. But what is the perfect thing to say when posting our selfies? 

Seventeen magazine weighed in recently with a list of “35 Birthday Instagram Captions Perfect To Celebrate Your Big Day.” Some of my faves from the list included:

  • “Surround yourself with people who are more excited for your birthday than you are.”
  • “It’s not the years that count, it’s the memories you make over these years.”
  • “Hold on to your inner child as you grow older.”
  • “Live your life and forget your age.”
  • “This is my year of dreams coming true.”
  • “Birthdays are good for me. The more I have, the longer I live.”
  • “Of course, I don’t know how to act my age. I’ve never been this age before!”

To me, some of Seventeen’s suggestions work better as a social media post you’d share with someone celebrating their birthday:

  • “It’s your birthday you don’t have to do nothin’.” – Destiny’s Child, ‘Birthday’
  • “Birthdays are nature’s way of telling you to eat more cake.” — Jo Brand
  • “Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional.” Walt Disney
  • “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”Dr. Seuss

Still need some ideas? Try some birthday jokes. The ones I found on this site are pretty awful, but they sent me to this video with some funny ones:

birthday greetings

 

Birthdays Can’t Be A Problem!

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Growing up I remember enjoying logic puzzles. The kind where you would draw a grid of all of the people and one other attribute about them to, by process of elimination, determine the solution to the posed problem. Somehow, I am no longer any good at these puzzles. Or, they have become much more complicated (or maybe I don’t remember cheating?).

Recently though I came across a Birthday Problem in the Guardian:

“Ariel, Balthazar and Chastity are great mates, genius logicians and they always tell the truth. Neither Ariel nor Balthazar know the day or the month of Chastity’s birthday, so she decides to tell them in the following way:

First, she says out loud, so both Ariel and Balthazar can hear her: “The day (of the month) of my birthday is at most the number of the month of my birthday.”

Then she whispers the day to Ariel and the month to Balthazar

Ariel says “Balthazar cannot know Chastity’s birthday.”

Balthazar thinks a bit, then says: “Ariel also cannot know Chastity’s birthday.”

They carry on like this, each saying these exact same sentences in turn until Balthazar announces: “Both of us can now know what Chastity’s birthday is. Interestingly, that was the longest conversation like that we could have possibly had before both figuring it out.”

When is Chastity’s birthday?”

I read the first few lines and thought, “this one I can do.” She has to have been born by the 12th day of the December, right? Only that still leaves me with a whole lot of options and the remaining text of the clue did not help me at all!

How does their saying to one another that they “cannot know Chastity’s birthday” over and over again get us to the answer?! Argh. This is why my brother is the logician in the family (really, truly, he is) while I’m the one blogging about birthdays.

What about you? Did you figure it out? If not, the answer is provided here. Wish I could say it made me bang my head to my forehead and say “oh, of course! How could you miss that?!” But, no, I really must have been cheating to do well on these in the past.

This isn’t even the first birthday problem I’ve encountered. Seems wrong to me to make birthdays a skill-testing question.

 

Birthdays a Tradition, on the 13th no less.

birthday luck

foter.com

OK, so there are many people out there who are superstitious about 13, and particularly Friday the 13th. It’s even got its own name — triskaidekaphobia. Now, that would get you a bunch of points in Words with Friends.

The term comes from Greek, where tris means three, kai means and, deka means ten and phobia means fear. A triskaidekaphobia info site — yes, you really can find anything online — tells us:

“The number 13 wasn’t always bad-famed, quite the contrary. In ancient China and Egypt, thirteen was considered a lucky number. It is unclear when exactly [13 did] become an unlucky number.

Some attribute it to the Bible, where the Last Supper was attended by 13 people, and some speculated that the 13th person at the table was Judas, who later betrayed Jesus. However, there is no reference to support this theory.

Another belief is that the phobia of number 13 is caused by it being an irrational number and 12 being the number of perfection.

There are 12 months in a year, 12 zodiacs, 12 hours in a clock and there were 12 tribes of Israel.”

Now, all that said, you’re wondering what this has to do with birthdays right?

Birthday Luck

Well, there is a family in Orange County, California that can only look at the 13th as a lucky day. After all, FOUR generations of the family celebrate their birthday on August 13th!
Sarah Peeler shares her birthday with her daughter Lori (which distracts me with the thought of having to go into labor on your birthday — ugh). But the day was special even before that.
Lori’s grandfather and great-grandmother also were born on the same birth date. And Lori’s parents didn’t even plan for the Aug. 13 delivery.
“Several weeks before, we just thought this won’t happen, for sure it won’t happen,” Sarah told ABC News. “Once we reached the week of, we both looked at each other and said ‘I think it’s going to happen, it’s fate!'”

Lori’s birth earned the family a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records, for “most generations born on the same day.

birthday luck
Now Sarah’s husband Ryan, and Lori’s dad, only has one date to remember:
“I hadn’t really thought about it, before we celebrated this weekend, let’s have two back-to-back parties,” he said. “Trying to figure it out, I don’t know what the protocol is yet for something like this.”

The odds are estimated to be somewhere in the one in a million range, the family said.  But Ryan for one doesn’t need to push his luck, saying his daughter is: “Better than any lotto ticket.”

100th Birthday Brunch Becomes a Wedding Party

birthday wedding

Source: NYT

On Labor Day 2018, Mannie Corman invited 160-plus people to celebrate his 100th birthday. He even wore a black shirt reading “Vintage 1918; Aged to perfection,” and a matching hat with the number 100 printed in white.

Guests who had flown in from California, Las Vegas and Texas with others from New York enjoyed a crooner singing, a roaming photo booth, and the enthusiastic welcome of Mr. Corman and his girlfriend of seven years, Judith Goldman, 76.

After awhile, the guests were invited to take their seats at the tables in Liberty Warehouse in Brooklyn. The centerpieces featured handmade wooden boxes depicting a specific year of Mr. Corman’s century. Before the buffet stations began serving though, a  closed black velvet curtain opened to reveal a flower girl and ring bearer.

Ms. Goldman, who’d added a veil to her white ensemble, and Mr. Corman, who’d added a black tux jacket, entered behind them while “Young at Heart” played in the background. A collapsible huppah appeared and was immediately erected for family members to hold the corners.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/06/fashion/weddings/a-100th-birthday-celebration-and-surprise-a-wedding-too.html

Source: NYT

Will You Marry Me?

Mr. Corman began asking Ms. Goldman to marry him in 2014. She refused, because she was unwilling to move to Brooklyn. He finally won her over, and they decided to marry. Initially they were going to do so after the birthday party. Then, realizing that they didn’t want to plan another big event, they decided to do both celebrations in one.

“When you go with a girl like Judy, you’re supposed to marry her. That’s the way it works,” Mr. Corman told the New York Times.

The guests were happy to part of the birthday/wedding event.

“I’ve known Mannie for more than 50 years, I never dreamed he would be having a wedding,” Steven Cohn told the New York Times. “It’s fabulous. It’s an inspiration for us. It’s never too late.”

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, who married the couple and officiated at more than 1,000 weddings, said Mr. Corman is the oldest groom he has ever married.

“People like Mannie and Judith recognize the importance of each and every day,” he told the Times. “They don’t worry about tomorrow. They may think about yesterday, but they concentrate on today.”

What better mentality to bring to your birthday — whatever age you are turning?

There’s a Wrong Way to Cut a Circular Cake?

I love cake, especially birthday cake. Really, I’m typically so focused on what kind of frosting was used (“please not fondant, please not fondant”) and what the inside is (“yeah chocolate!”) that cutting it correctly is the least of my concerns.

Yet I did recently come across an article suggesting I’ve been cutting circular cakes wrong all this time! Who knew?

Of course, it’s a mathematician who has chimed in with the best way to divide (or would it be bisect? That geometry term is springing up in my mind for some reason) a circular cake.

Going with small triangles is not the best plan, according to a YouTube video “The Scientific Way to Cut a Cake – Numberphile.” Drawing on a science magazine article from 1906, mathematician Alex Bellos suggests instead we should be cutting slabs directly down the middle to help preserve the cake longer.

So, you would start in the very middle of the cake and cut all the way through it from one edge to the other. Then you would do this again parallel to your first cut. Now, you have a slab from which to serve people.

You can then push the remaining sides of the cake back together with the exposed edges facing inwards for prolonged freshness.

There is even a suggestion of wrapping a rubber band around the cake. I don’t have the mental elasticity to see how this would work. Wouldn’t an elastic just cut into the cake itself? At least it would an iced cake rather than one enveloped in the aforementioned fondant (ugh).

The next time you cut into the cake you would repeat the two parallel slices across the cake’s center, then bring the now smaller cake back together again.

No matter the shape of the cake you’re sharing with humans, I’m guessing you will have an easier time of it than these pandas. Their birthday cakes are made of bamboo! Although, of course, they get to use their paws.

birthday cake