Our family birthday tradition is a "special" breakfast in bed, which we carry in singing "happy birthday" in a little procession with a candle, some small gifts and cards, flowers or leaves from the garden.
Willy requested cereal and orange juice for breakfast (now really, Willy, why can't you be reasonable!) and he was rather anxious about us forgetting. His last words before he went to sleep were, "Don't forget...the cereal...."
You have to understand, to children raised on wholesome, home-made, delicious (to Will and I) breakfasts like smoothies and omelettes, boxed cereal is an unheard-of treat. And let me tell you, four sugar-deprived children can devour a box of cereal at one sitting!
This year, I instituted the "birthday crown" tradition! (You can make a crown from a round of cardboard cut into crenellations...you know, the pointy things on top of the crown...and fabric top-sewn over it. As always, I'm pretty sure there's an easier way to make one, but I always choose the hard way. In case you've got a stash of liturgical fabric, just remember that gold embroidered priests' vestments make a decent crown...)
With some of his favourite family around (not all, sniff sniff), a new bike to rip around on, some lovely moccasins hand made by Uncle Ben (for sneaking around the woods, of course), a waffle maker and compass of his own (thank you, Grandma and Grandpa, how fabulous!), some truly exciting lego from Grandma Mary, and a lifetime supply of Tintin from his papa, this is the happiest, proudest little boy around.
We've done various degrees of "official" birthday parties over the years, but the favourite tradition that must never change is the birthday breakfast procession.
"Simple and Special" is my motto, for family celebrations. (Thank you, soulemama, for such a concise definition!) As always, it's the little traditions that are the most cherished and remembered.