August 17, 2010

How to have a Birthday Week

So, Blog, one of my Facebook friends asked, "You get to have a birthday week?" To which I replied, "Actually, everyone does, they just don't all know it."

I myself didn't always realize this. I can't precisely recall when I first started observing the Birthday Week tradition, but I'm pretty sure how it came to be. And you'll be pleased to know that it springs not purely from self-indulgent, narcissistic motives. Although certainly it does in part. But actually, I have always been pretty flexible about the specific day my birthday is officially observed, because my family members are busy and have other commitments and I really like to make the party convenient for everyone.

So, for example, this year it worked out for everyone to be available on Sunday the 14th. Aka Day Two of my Birthday Week (Day One being the day I gave our cats their Turbo Track). So, here's Principle #1 of Having a Birthday Week: one of the days is the day you have your family party. I had a super one this year: My fabulous chef daughters with their fabulous sous chef boyfriends prepared a Mexican feast featuring a fajita bar with grilled beef and chicken, and chips and guacamole. My dad and little Ava (age 5) were on hand so we had a 79-year age span in the attendees. Mother Nature gave us perhaps the loveliest weather of the whole summer, and the patio was splendiferously prepared by Davie. My cat Cody provided entertainment (his birthday gift to me).

Now, it's always nice, if you have a significant other, to also have a private, romantic birthday-related event. In other words, Principle #2 of Having a Birthday Week is that one of the days is the day you celebrate with spouse or mate. This year I'm doing this with Davie on Day Four, and we're getting duck BLT's at Honeypie. We have heard they are uber-scrumptious. Bet we'll follow up with some cozy cuddle time at Magic House, watching "Mad Men" or "Food Network Star" on DVR with amusing commentary by us.

Principle #3 of Having a Birthday Week is that you also observe your actual birthday. Mine this year falls on Day Five (aka August 18th, the day it always is). I'll be taking off work and am going to spend the day with my dad and be treated to lunch at the place we call the Pink Palace. There's nothing like spending quality time on your birthday with someone who was there when you were born, especially when enhanced by a Greek-owned restaurant that makes great omelettes and hash browns.

Now, so far we've covered three days of your birthday week, assuming you do all the above on different days. That leaves you a lot of days left over! What do you do with those? Principle #4 states, see if there's a reason to open a present on its own day. In this case, I asked for the Turbo Track for my cats, and opened it on Day One so that we could let the cats get the hang of it by Day Two, aka Family Birthday Party. See how this works? You may be able to find a reason like this too, for example, one gift is an item of clothing you want to wear on your birthday itself.

Principle #5 is that you can look at some fun thing you were planning to do anyway during your birthday week and declare it part of the celebration. Here's my example from this year: I have been trying since May to work out a day off to go to the Milwaukee Zoo. Every time we have planned to do this, it has ended up cold and rainy or super hot, or our plumbing has unexpectedly exploded. But the forecast for Milwaukee for Day Six of my Birthday Week is sunny, warm, and not horribly humid, plus it's Zoo a la Carte week! Anything that involves tigers and sampling local food is a celebration in my book!

Now Blog, with those days in your birthday week that just don't seem to have anything special going on, you may have to take a good look at your activities that day and just find something that seems cool enough to call celebratory. Aka Principle #6. On Day Three of my Birthday Week, I installed the makeup mirror I got from Davie on Day Two. Anytime I wield power tools and the project turns out well, I consider that a party. It's also a party to use my makeup mirror, which is the exact same kind I fell in love with when we stayed at the Vdara Hotel in Vegas in January (pictured here in this still from a video I took there).

There is one final Principle, #7. And that is that your birthday week is a time to indulge in something you really, really like to do. Maybe it's a trip to your favorite out-of-town shopping mall, or getting a mani-pedi, or going to the horse track, or getting yourself a bottle of your fave expensive wine. That kind of treat qualifies an entire day. Or combine several. As for me, I'm doing the latter, because on Day Seven of My Birthday Week I will be kicking off our annual mother-daughters camping trip, with my favorite girls in the world, at my favorite place in the world, Point Beach State Forest.

And that, Blog, is how you have a birthday week. Birthday Week is really a state of mind and doesn't have to cost you or your loved ones any more than having a mere puny birthday. And yet it packs 600% more birthday punch! So I hope our readers will plan now to enjoy their right to an entire Birthday Week the next time that happy occasion rolls around.


  1. Have a great b'day week! I can barely get a "happy birthday" since my b'day week would get into Christmas, so I'm happy you can take your time enjoying yours! Have fun at the Pink Palace and Honey Pie!

  2. Diana,
    (as usual), I like the way you think! I love how you broke it down into principles of the birthday week. We often have to celebrate birthdays randomly in my family- with so many people, it's inevitable that someone will be busy- so you just share the party to another day. :) I have an aunt who is fond of saying she doesn't have a birthday, but a "birthday season". It sounds like you have been enjoying your birth-week so far.. and with more fun to come, it should only get better!

    Happy Birth-week and almost actual Birth-day to you!

  3. Thanks Cherie! Yes, it's always tough having a birthday during the holidays...I had a cousin born on Christmas Eve. Honeypie was great...and I'll try not to pig out too much at the Pink Palace today!

    Sam, thanks...we try to do public service here on the blog. :-) Birthday season is a grand idea!

  4. I love this idea! But I have to disagree on one teeny point.

    My birthday is Christmas Eve and I've always felt sorry for you guys who have just a birth-day to celebrate. I have a built-in birthday week of festivities every year.

    I welcome you all to the concept of enjoying a festive week surrounding the anniversary of your birth every year.

    Happy birthweek, Diana!

  5. Thank you, Eileen! And thanks for another outlook on that situation, one which makes a lot of sense. :-)