Simple Ways We Celebrate Half Birthdays!

posted by Andrea | 01/17/2019

In general, I’m not someone who goes over-the-top to celebrate any holiday, birthday, or special occasion.

I don’t put weeks and months of work into preparing for them, and I certainly don’t spend much money celebrating.

However, we DO still celebrate in our own way!

I recently shared more about what we did (and didn’t do) for Christmas this year… slightly non-traditional, but it works for now!

We don’t go crazy for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, or any other holidays either — usually just some special paper napkins, maybe a few special snacks, and we try to dress “festively” on the actual holiday.

When it comes to birthdays, we still don’t have a set tradition, but I do love making them a special breakfast with a special plate, a special straw, etc.

They usually don’t even care about the gifts, as they are more excited to see what special thing might be waiting for them at their birthday breakfast table!

I also enjoy making special cakes (per their request) and letting them help bake or frost them when appropriate.

Sometimes, we even let them have a piece of their birthday cake for breakfast the next morning — I figure it’s not any worse than a donut!

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However, one of my favorite things to celebrate with my children is their half birthdays!

There’s no toys, no gifts, no parties, no hoopla… and other rarely ever remember their half birthday. It’s just a super fun day to help them feel extra special and loved… and it’s SO easy to pull off!

Our kids now look forward to their half birthday, often counting down the days, as they know it will be a day when they get to do a few extra special things, pick the books and TV shows we watch, choose some of their favorite meals, etc. etc.

Since we just celebrated James’ half birthday earlier this week, I figured it was a perfect time to share some of our simple (but super fun) half birthday traditions.

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NOTE: We are NOT the type of parents who feel pressured to do something for ALL our kids just because we did it for one of our children. They all get special treatment on their birthdays and half birthdays, but we don’t ALWAYS do the exact same things every time. I can’t handle that type of pressure or rigidness!

Here are some of the small things we (usually) do to celebrate…

  • We make a countdown chain about a week before
  • They get a special napkin, plate, and straw for breakfast (always a big deal in our house)
  • They get to help me bake a simple boxed cake mix (nothing fancy) but we always cut it in half and pretend it’s a “half cake” for their half birthday. I just put the other half in the freezer for later!
  • We usually do something special for lunch — maybe a frozen pizza or swing by Wendy’s or Arby’s for a sandwich and fries.
  • They get to choose the majority of the books, TV shows, and activities throughout the day
  • We measure them on our growth chart (we don’t actually mark it down)
  • We look through their old photo books
  • They get to choose a favorite food for me to make for dinner
  • They get the piece of cake with the most frosting
  • We sing “Happy Half Birthday To You” as one of the songs before they go to bed

They know they will not get any tangible gifts on their half birthday, but I guarantee they still look forward to this special day! 

Of course, it does take a little extra planning on my part to make sure I have a cake mix in the house, make sure I have a “fun” breakfast ready to go, think through different crafts or activities we could do on their special day — but it’s really not much work, and certainly not much expense. It’s something I personally enjoy at this point in my life, so I’m willing to put forth some effort.

I definitely do not think we will celebrate half birthdays always and forever, and I’m totally OK with that.

But for now, when the kids are still little and home with me all day, it’s just one simple way we ‘Upgrade the Everyday’, as I like to say!

Do you do anything special for half birthdays (or for any other special event)?

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40 comments

  1. Justina

    01/21/2019

    Thank you! Love the idea about half cakes, too!!!

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  2. Kate

    01/19/2019

    All 3 of my kids have their birthdays within 4 days of each other in February (twin girls and 1 boy). It always feels so busy so I like to do a little something for their half birthdays in August too. Last year, I made my son a half of a cake. I just baked one cake layer and cut it in half and stacked them up (kind of like you did). For my girls, I baked a whole bundt cake but iced one half in white icing, the other in chocolate. It was fun! We got them each a very small gift too but that’s not something we always do. I think it’s nice to at least acknowledge the half birthdays- it’s important to a kid!

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    Andrea Reply:

    wow that IS busy! All our kid’s birthday are spaced out every couple of months — which is nice for some things, but not so nice for others ( feel like we’re constantly planning or celebrating one of them!)

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  3. Samantha

    01/18/2019

    Aww, this brings back memories when our first turned 6 months old I wrapped up his new bowl & spoon set which we then used for his first taste of rice cereal! We sat him in his new high chair (which looked huge for him now that I look back! Haha) and we sang happy half birthday to you!
    Since then (he’s now 6…almost and a half) we always note that he can can now tell people he’s “ whichever age….and a half” and the daily countdown of “how much longer till I’m (next age)…” begins!! My second son who likes to share his age with everyone is very excited to now say (as of January) “I two and half” 🙂 Cute ideas!!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Someone else shared in the comments about singing “Halfy Birthday To You” instead of “Happy Half Birthday To You”. I think this is genius and will do it for our next half birthday (Clara in March)!! Maybe you could change up your words too — I’m pretty sure your kiddos would get a kick out of it!

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  4. calliope

    01/18/2019

    Dear Andrea,
    you are the reason I started celebrating half birthdays with my son and HE and I just LOVE THEM.
    I do almost all the things you mentioned, but since we are not that much into desserts and sweets (crazy, I know!) we just buy a slice of cake from the bakery, cut it in half, stick half a candle on it and eat it. What I like the most is that it’s just the 3 of us and no presents.
    This year, life got a bit hectic and I totally forgot about it. I was pretty sad but my son didn’t even remember it.
    So thank you! and give James a big kiss for his awesome half birthday!

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh yay — I’m so glad to hear this!!!
    And honestly, it’s probably better that you aren’t much into desserts or sweets! Your waistline will thank you 🙂

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  5. Rachel

    01/17/2019

    Both of mine have winter birthdays (beginning of Feb & Mar). We’ve had to cancel birthday parties due to colds and snowstorms… sadness. Fir breakfast I make confetti pancakes (sprinkles in the mix) served with candles on top; and the birthday kid gets hot cocoa to drink! ☕

    This past yr we put 1/2 birthdays on the calendar and the kids enjoyed being able to say “I’m four/seven and a HALF!” Next year I’ll up the game a little because there are a lot more options when the sun is shining and school isn’t on the daily agenda.

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh definitely!! Celebrating in the summer will be super fun!

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  6. Susanne

    01/17/2019

    My children are older now, but when they were younger we would occasionally have “YES” days. These were days (summer or Saturdays) when they could ask anything (within reason) and we would say “YES!”. Of course, it was only one child’s YES day at a time and my children were old enough to understand “within reason” – not too expensive, nothing too far away, etc…. We all loved YES days!

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh yes, I think you may have mentioned this “yes day” idea on another one of my blog posts (a couple years ago). I remembered it and have always thought it was such a fun idea!
    We haven’t implemented it just yet, but I told Dave we should do something like this with the kids over the summer — so fun!

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  7. Hannah Beth Reid

    01/17/2019

    Half of a cake on their half birthday is brilliant!

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    Andrea Reply:

    it’s super fun (and SO easy!)

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  8. Amie

    01/17/2019

    This is a great idea! We have never celebrated a half birthday but have other traditions. Once a year, without fail, my daughter has cake for breakfast. My dad did this for me when I was young, and it’s a memory I’ve always cherished (he balanced out the cake with fruit and milk haha!). We live in Ohio, and the weather is not great through the winter. The first Friday that is sunny and warmer, I pick my daughter up from school, and we go have an ice cream dinner. She looks forward to it every year (even at almost 15 years old), and we now have friends that go along. I know she will remember these little celebratory things, and maybe even repeat them when she has her own family.

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  9. Avia

    01/17/2019

    I haven’t done this in the past but since both my girl’s birthdays are right before Cmas it would be a lot of fun to give them something to celebrate in the summer.

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    Andrea Reply:

    holiday birthdays are always so busy — I’m guessing it would be very fun to celebrate in the summer too! Pool party!!

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  10. Shan

    01/17/2019

    Andrea, love the half of a cake idea 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks — it’s my kids’ most favorite part of their half birthday!

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  11. Cathy

    01/17/2019

    Love it! We did this too. I can’t remember when we stopped, but I transitioned to special milestone days like first day as a middle school student. I have a girl, so it was also things like a special day shopping together when she needed her first bra, a special lunch for the two of us to welcome her to the club when she got her period, things like that. They get older, but they still love special days.

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    Andrea Reply:

    this is super fun too!
    I have a feeling you probably transitioned out of half birthdays once your kids were in school full time. It’s definitely easier to do these types of fun activities when the kids are home all day. For the first time ever, Nora will have school on her half birthday this year, so I’m not sure what we’ll do??
    Thanks for the special days idea!

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  12. Justina

    01/17/2019

    Love this!!!! You are so good about celebrating with sense!!! And they will remember how you made them feel!!! My husband is Slovak, and they celebrate Name Days. I have an uncommon name here in the US, but Justina is a name on the Name Day calendar(and I’m not an ounce of Slovak, haha!). So every April 14, all women named Justina celebrate their name day! Each of my children and husband have a name day as well. I will try to use some of your ideas!!! Fun without the fuss!!! That’s my kind of celebration!!! And a really cool side note: When my father-in-law told me about Name Day and that April 14 is my Name Day, my mouth dropped. That’s the same day I became a Christian!!!

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    Shan Reply:

    Justina, love your alliteratios: celebrate with sense and fun without the fuss!

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    Justina Reply:

    Thank you!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Justina!
    And wow — what a fun story about your Name Day and the day you became a Christian! Thanks for sharing!

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    JJ Reply:

    Thank you! Love the idea about half cakes, too!!!

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes, the half cakes are a HUGE hit at our house 🙂

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  13. Jen

    01/17/2019

    Three out of four of our kids have summer birthdays, and they were always sad that they didn’t get to celebrate their birthdays during the school year with treats, etc. So, I always made it a point to ask the teacher privately if my kids could bring a treat in on their half birthdays. They were always more than happy to comply, and my kids LOVED the chance to celebrate at school with their friends.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yup, that was me — summer birthday! My half birthday was sometimes over Christmas break too — so I rarely ever got to celebrate at school 🙁
    I love the idea of sending a treat with them on the half birthday — so fun!

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  14. Anita M Dickey

    01/17/2019

    although i love half birthday’s we generally don’t do it as my two children’s half birthdays fall on the other’s actual birthday. i guess that’s what happens when you have them six months apart.

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    Andrea Reply:

    wow — that’s sort of fun in its own way! Birthday + Half Birthday on the same day — you can just have one big family party!!

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  15. Jess

    01/17/2019

    I LOVE celebrating my kids’ half birthdays. I think since it’s such an non-traditional thing to celebrate there isn’t the same pressure as holidays and actual birthdays. I might have to incorporate some of your ideas in to our celebrations. It’s pretty fun though, two of our kids have birthdays almost exactly six months apart, so it’s always a half birthday and birthday three days apart. As always, thanks for sharing your tips and ideas with us!

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes, exactly! No “pressure” of other holidays or actual birthdays!

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  16. Chris

    01/17/2019

    How fun! I love the half birthday cake idea too.

    Allowing them cake for breakfast reminds me of this – I used to read a lot to my now-adult son when he was little. Once we read a Tasha Tudor book about a girl who got to eat candy for breakfast on her birthday. So then when his birthday rolled around, he wanted candy. So I let him have it. I think he asked for it two years in a row.

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — yes, we’ve let our kids have candy for breakfast on rare occasions — like the day after a parade or the morning after halloween! Fun!

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  17. Mary Ann

    01/17/2019

    Since our little one is just now 8 weeks old, we haven’t set many traditions yet. I do like the idea of a half-birthday celebration, esp since our daughter’s birthday is during the holiday season. (She was born on Thanksgiving this year.) It’d be nice to do a little something at a less hectic time of year.

    i’m not an over-the-top celebration person either but I like your simple ways of making the day special. Children get used to those things and tend to enjoy whatever it is that we do, even if it really isn’t that much. It becomes special to them.

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh wow — contrats!
    She shares Nora’s birthday — she turned 7 on Thanksgiving Day this year!

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    Mary Ann Reply:

    Thank you! I was thinking they shared a birthday.

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    Andrea Reply:

    They definitely do! How fun!

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    Rhonda Reply:

    That is a good idea, especially for birthdays close to a major holiday. My nephew was born 12/23, and is out of town (we are in WI, he is in TX). I feel like it must be overload when we send gifts to them. Gifts or a special card in 6/23 sounds like a good idea!

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh that WOULD be fun to get a special surprise in the mail! Such a fun aunt!

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