Happy 2016 everyone! As the Cherry clan gets ready to move into a new home, I’ve been reminiscing a lot about the last few years at this house and the family traditions we’ve created here. Growing up, we had super fun parties including potato sack races, hikes around the lake behind our house, and my all time favorite party, when my mom papered the walls of our den and all the kids got to graffiti the walls. It was awesome. Over the past four years we’ve created some of our own family birthday traditions that I am excited to take with us into the next chapter of our lives. My girls are beginning to expect them each year and it’s made each year extra special.
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One tradition that I love in particular is handmade birthday cake decorations. How sweet are these rainbows? My four year old made these and I still have them in her baby book. She just drew some designs on thick paper with our favorite oil pastels, cut them out and I taped them to some lollipop sticks covered in washi tape. Really easy I promise and so effective. You can find the letter candles here, which I never get tired of using.
Next, we always make family balloons. I precut circles and ovals each year and let the kids do whatever they want. The ones below were made with oil pastels (one of my top ten must have art supplies) glitter and liquid watercolors. We bring out all the balloons made year after year. Soon we’ll have enough to fill a whole room and each years they look really different. I have to remember to add the dates and birthday details on the back before I forget.
We made the ones below for my husband’s birthday a few years ago and surprised him by hanging them on the wall with washi tape string. I’m excited to see the progression in the details of the balloon as the years go by. I spelled out the words with tape and my toddlers, at the time, painted over them. Then we removed the tape.
Handmade play dough has also become a tradition. I promised myself I wouldn’t go crazy preparing over the top activities for the girl’s birthday parties. I did that when Gigi turned two and it was insane. I had to sleep for a week after. Now just a little handmade play dough goes a long way.
We’ve done a seven layer play dough birthday cake a few times and it’s so cute. The kids love it. Stick a few stars in there and you’ve got a good 30 to 40 minutes of engaged play for the kids. It’s cheap, simple and really festive.
Of course we do the party favors too, which I am usually frantically putting together an hour before the party. Does that count as a tradition because it literally happens every year. Though, now that my girls can help it’s become slightly more fun. Inside these little packages are cut up watercolor paper squares and the cutest mini watercolor palettes you ever did see.
My four year old and some friends made the sign to go with them and the girls amazing Aunt Er over at EricaReitman.com bought us that super cool vintage art easel/basket. We use it for glitter projects too. Everything stays in the basket, just like this post I wrote on everything staying in the tub.And of course what party is complete without some delicious food? My mom always makes the most gorgeous antipasto salad that’s almost too pretty to eat…almost.
It actually gets devoured pretty quickly. You can see why.
Lastly, we have my favorite family birthday tradition. The night before my girl’s birthdays, I hang balloons in their doorway with string and tape, along with a birthday banner. When they wake up they come running out through the balloons and pretty much go nuts with excitement.
Each one of these handmade family birthday traditions have brought us so much joy. I’m so grateful we can continue each one over the years.
Do you have any family birthday traditions that you love? Please share them in the comments below or send me a pic. I’d love to see!
Wishing everyone continued happiness and family love throughout the year. Happy celebrating! xo Meri
I love the running through balloons on your birthday…what a great way to start a day. I might just pretend that it’s time for my birthday and do it for myself!
Do it!!! We all deserve to run through balloons every morning : )
Meri, you are so absolutely incredible.
My heart literally skips a little beat with every post. Once I get a newsletter and find myself back on your site, I always end up clicking away through colourey goodness!
Love your work so much.
Love Chrissy x
You’re note goes straight to my heart, Chrissy. Thank you so much. With gratitude, Meri
I love the rainbow shapes on the cake. Really love!!!! It’s so simple and yet so genius!
Samara!!!! So cool to see your name pop up here. Thank you!!!!
My very favorite and easy birthday tradition is our birthday tablecloth. On my daughter’s first birthday, I bought a plain tablecloth and put fabric markers out for our family to write with- each year we get it out and all of us fondly reminisce about birthdays past. We traced her hands (and ours as well,) write notes and dates, etc. we made one for my twin boys as well. I get tears eyed now each time it comes out, thinking of family members who are no longer with us, or thinking about how quickly time is passing.
Thank you for your fun ideas, love them!
What a beautiful idea. Wow. I am so inspired to do something similar. My oldest will be 5 this May. I would love to add something like this. So special. Thanks for sharing!
Every year, I take a picture on or close to my child’s birthday. I used to hang each picture around their homemade day banner. Last year I got organized and bought used photo frames so that we could make a bigger deal of how they changed. Since I have 3 kids, I just rotate the pictures depending on whose birthday it is. This year, I will have 14 frames out for my daughter. She turns 14 on Friday! One other tradition I cherish…my daughter wears my mom’s prom dress every year for a birthday pic. Mom never knew my kids but I know she would have been crazy about them…makes me remember her on my daughter’s special day!
Such heartfelt ideas. I love picturing the prom dress getting “smaller and smaller” What a lovely tradition. Thanks for sharing.
We always decorate the chair at the table where that child usually sits. We also make them a birthday crown – of felt or something. This year I also put craft petals leading from their bed, through the house to the presents.