Birthdays are a big deal at our house! I believe in celebrating the day that the ones we love came into this world. I look forward to Joe’s birthday all year long and have started planning my surprises and celebrations almost six months in advance. Now that we have kids, I do the same for them. If you were to turn to my little family’s birthday months in my planner, at any point in time, you’d find a list of ideas for anything from food to activities to gifts. I LOVE birthdays!
My sister-in-law used to tell me that by going big with the birthday celebrations those first few years of our marriage, I was setting the bar high for birthdays for years to come. That didn’t deter me in any way! Some years our celebrations are big and extravagant and others they are more low key. The one thing I try to incorporate into my husband’s birthday surprises each year is making him feel special. It doesn’t matter what you do for your spouse for their birthday, what matters is that they know you care and that they feel loved and appreciated and important in this world. I believe that everyone deserves that every day of their life, but a little extra on their birthday.
Ideas to Make Your Spouse’s Birthday Extra Special
Plan a Special Outing with Their Friends
One of the things that my mother-in-law did for my father-in-law’s 60th birthday was to arrange for all of the sons and son-in-laws to take him golfing for the morning. She coordinated everything and made sure that he’d be home when they stopped by to pick him up. Arrange for a group of your spouse’s closest friends to get together and do something they love and maybe don’t get to do often. For your husband; paintball, golf, shooting range, air soft guns, pizza and video games, etc. are all fun ideas. For your wife; group pedicures, dinner and a show, a day of shopping, tickets to a concert, etc. are all fun ideas.
Bonus: If you have the resources to plan a night or a weekend away, set that up! Reserve a hotel, make dinner reservations, get tickets for a concert, show or activity, etc. This is a great thing to plan for when your spouse has a milestone birthday coming up such as their golden birthday or when they enter a new decade of life.
Plan a Special Date Night Out
This is my personal favorite way to feel celebrated for any occasion. Birthday, anniversary, Valentine’s, graduation, passing a test, getting a new job, etc. Put together and afternoon, evening or entire day filled with all of your spouse’s favorite things and a lot of quality time with you. Think restaurants you don’t go to as often or one with a fun date night atmosphere, your spouse’s favorite activity that you don’t get to do together often, and/or something that’s a bit of a splurge.
Some ideas to get you started:
bucket list activity (skydiving, big sports game, tickets to a concert or show, etc.)
a movie at the really nice theater with the reclining chairs and a meal while you watch
Bonus: Make your date a “choose your own adventure date”. Depending on your time frame, give your spouse two or three options for each portion of the date. You tell them your exact ideas or give the options to them as vaguely as possible to still make it a surprise like this date idea from The Dating Divas. You will have things planned that you know your spouse will love, they will still have a say in what you do and it will be a little bit of a surprise as well!
Cook Their Favorite Meal(s)
One of my family’s birthday traditions growing up was that the birthday VIP got to pick every aspect of dinner on their birthday and they could haven’t whatever they wanted. We still do this now that we’re older, on whatever day we get together to celebrate as a family. I’ve carred this tradition into my own family in my own way. The week of Joe’s birthday, I plan our meals to be all of his favorites. We eat the casserole he loves, grab takeout from a few of his favorite restaurants, have steak, and stay far away from chicken dishes. Because his birthday is on Halloween, it’s harder to let him pick a big, fancy meal the day of his birthday but I do my best to make it extra special and something that I know he’ll love.
Get Away Together
The second year we were married, we started a tradition of getting away for a night or two the month of our birthdays. Our birthdays are two weeks apart so we usually try to get away the weekend in between them if possible. We reserve a room at a romantic bed and breakfast or nicer hotel, plan a nice dinner date, pick a fun activity that we don’t get to do often and enjoy some quality time away together. It’s always nice to getaway from our every day responsibilities and focus all of our attention on each other.
Schedule Text Messages Throughout the Day
Last Valentine’s Day, I scheduled 14 reasons why I love my husband to text to him throughout the day. I think this would be a fun thing to do each year for a birthday. You could send one an hour or as many reasons as they are old. Create your list of reasons and then search online for instructions on how to schedule text messages from your particular phone. After you’ve got your list put together, get to work scheduling them for your spouse to enjoy.
Collect Letters of Love from Friends and Family
When my husband turned 25, I sent a message to his closest family and friends asking them to write a personal letter to him. I suggested people share their favorite memory of him, why they are grateful to have him in their lives, or something he’s done that’s changed them for good. They were welcome to mail or e-mail me the letters along with pictures they thought would be fun to include if they wanted. I put together a 25 day countdown to his birthday with letters in envelopes taped to a wall. Each day he got to open letters from groups of his friends, his siblings, our nieces and nephew, our parents, etc. I compiled them all into a binder for him to read later on as well.
Send Them Little Gifts Every Hour
This is a cute idea that I stumbled across years ago while I was looking for gift ideas online. The idea is to put together and wrap a collection of 12 different gifts to give to your spouse every hour throughout the day. These can be as simple as their favorite candy bar, a gift card for ice cream, the chapstick they love, fun socks, a new movie, the book they’ve been wanting to read, a flower, etc. Be creative and stick to your budget!
Tie Love Notes and Pictures to Balloons Above Your Bed
Similar to the idea of texting love notes to your spouse throughout the day, but print them out on colored paper along with some of your favorite photos of the two of you. Pick up a bouquet of helium balloons, maybe the same number as they are old, then tie a love note or photo to the end of each string. When you’re finished, let them all float to the ceiling around or bedroom or over your bed.
Small Birthday Surprises
This year I planned a few little birthday surprises for the day of Joe’s birthday. These are things that are easy to do and make the day of their birthday a little extra special, no matter how or when you celebrate. When you’re an adult, birthdays aren’t quite as exciting because you still have to work and take care of your other life responsibilities. Joe’s birthday is on Halloween, so celebrating him will continue to be more overshadowed by candy and trick-or-treating. Planning little surprises helps me make him feel loved and makes the day more exciting than every other one.
I woke up and put a happy birthday sign out in our yard while he was in the shower. Then I made breakfast for him to enjoy, something a little more elaborate than what he’d eat any other morning. After the kids were in bed that night, I made fresh chocolate chip cookies and we watched his favorite show on Netflix. You could surprise your spouse at work with their favorite drink and cookies for their coworkers. Kidnap them and take them out for a little date on their lunch break. Enlist the help of their coworkers to decorate their work space before they get there in the morning. Have flower, a fruit arrangement or candy bouquet delivered in the middle of the day. Or pick any one of the ideas on this list and turn it into a small surprise on their birthday.
BONUS: Plan an Entire Week of Birthday Celebrations
Use the small birthday surprise ideas or a combination of the ideas from above to curate the perfect schedule of fun for the entire week of your spouse’s birthday. I like to declare Sunday through Saturday, the week that Joe’s birthday falls in as birthday week. We celebrate with something small every day. Some days I surprise him with lunch or a drink at work, other days I make fresh cookies before bed, watch his favorite show or play video games with him. There’s always a special date and a party with our families.
No matter what you choose to do, make it something that you know your spouse will love and remember that it’s about making them feel special and loved on their special day!
What are some of the ways you’ve made each other’s birthdays special throughout the year?
Photography by Sadie Banks Photography