Yuck, Another Birthday (That’s Just Not the Right Attitude!)
If you’re getting frustrated with the “cake and balloons” scene and have a flair for the dramatic rather than the mediocre, you may think celebrating a birthday isn’t worth the trouble. I have talked to people that have said birthdays aren’t a big deal as you get older; all they do is remind you that another year of your life has passed by. I’m no longer a teenager myself, but I highly disagree with this! Sure, birthdays mean you’re getting older, but they’re also special. Your birthday is the one day of the year dedicated solely to you. You can do what you want, eat whatever you like (within reason, of course) and celebrate in your own personal style.
Using Your Interests to Make the Day Special
Say you love history and culture (I myself am “guilty” of this claim). You’re more at home at the Renaissance Faire than a modern 21st century apartment. There are some mind-blowing ways for a history lover to celebrate his or her birthday – no cake and balloons required! First of all, decide what time period you enjoy the most. If you have a historical costume from any particular time, this is probably what you want to choose (it saves you money you would have to spend for a different costume).
A Tea Party to Celebrate the Victorian Age – It’s Easier Than You Think
Let’s just say you love everything Victorian and have about ten Civil War-era dresses or suits. Plan a “tea party” in place of a regular birthday party. Guests will have to come in period attire (long, prairie-style dresses or skirts for girls, and trousers, plain linen shirts, and vests for guys if no one owns period attire) should do nicely. You don’t have to have the traditional chocolate or marble cake just because it’s your birthday. Go for little “tea cakes,” tarts, or, if you want a regular cake, try to find a 19th century recipe.
Consider “Going Medieval” and Making Your Own Renaissance Faire
If your tastes run more to medieval, a Renaissance Faire is the place for you. Of course if your birthday doesn’t happen to be at the time of year when a festival is being held, or you don’t live close to the event, you can always make your own. Construct wooden “stalls” and have crafty friends demonstrate arts and crafts, cooking, carpentry, or any other talents relevant to the medieval era.
At this “Renaissance Faire,” you will be the guest of honor (perhaps you would like to take advantage of this fact by dressing the part of the king or queen!). After traditional “faire” activities, a small celebration (preferably at a long table with lots of meat, bread, and other medieval specialties) can be held. Don’t be afraid to make a toast to yourself; it *is* your special day, after all.
Have some medieval music playing in a (hidden) CD player, or perhaps find a friend who can play old tunes. Medieval would, in my opinion, be one of the most fun parties to celebrate. You can eat with your fingers, dance without a care, hold a “jousting” tournament, watch the “king” or “queen” (which of course is you) in the royal procession, and have booths, entertainment, and a court jester. The lengths you go to will depend on how much you want to spend for your special day.
Greece, Egypt, Rome . . . What’s Your Ancient Specialty?
Maybe you like ancient times. Planning something like an Egyptian-themed party is actually quite simple and can be an experience you won’t forget. You’ll have to dig a little deeper to find Egyptian recipes, but it can be done. Find out what kinds of sweets were eaten in the ancient era and see if you can convert recipes into something resembling a memorable dessert.
You don’t have to make men dress in loincloths to represent traditional Egyptian dress, by the way! Long, loose-fitting white robes, gowns, or overcoats should do well enough. You could look for some Egyptian costume jewelry if you want to make the party particularly believable, or create your own with clay or a jewelry-making kit. Remember those kits for children, where you can make necklaces, bracelets, and many other things? If you can get one for a good price, it might come in handy.
How to Make it Convincing
Props can be rented to enhance the scene, no matter which historical theme you choose for your party. If your era of choice is far back in time, where fields and trees are all that would have existed, have the party outside. This is especially helpful for those who live in the country. To celebrate a special occasion outdoors as they would have done in colonial America and many other eras, plan a picnic by a river, a mountain, or another scenic spot. If you live in the city, you can improvise by going to a park or other public place. Just try to get there before (or after) everyone else to make it more realistic.
A Party is What You Make of It – Use Your Imagination
People seem to think all parties have to be the same old, same old . . . music, hats, balloons, and clowns if you’re a kid, and dinner parties or other “boring” social occasions if you’re an adult. A birthday is what you make of it. Actually, I am really into genealogy, and I chose to spend my birthday visiting my ancestors’ graves and paying respect to them. It was an “odd” way to spend my special day, but yet it felt good because I knew I was honoring the ones who gave me life. It was fun too (of course, visiting with my grandparents and having cake and ice cream did help considerably!)