The half birthday trend started with me.
My birthday is on Christmas Eve, and though this date had some advantages (I was always with my family to celebrate!), it also meant I could never have one of those traditional “invite your friends over” kind of parties. Most of my friends were either out of town or enmeshed in their own family holiday traditions.
Starting in the first grade, my mom brilliantly declared that we should celebrate half birthdays. I could experience turning 6 with my family, and turning 6-and-a-half with my friends. Ever since then, June 24th has been another date on the calendar I claim as my own. Yes, even this year I celebrated the day I turned 39 … and a half.
When my son, W, was born, I didn’t give much thought about his half birthday. It wasn’t until my grandmother passed away one day after W’s half birthday that I realized how meaningful the date would always be. It’s when I realized I would want to mark the moment to celebrate not only the half-way to a birthday point, but to create a burst of positivity on a date that could easily become dark.
We are a small family so having traditions like half birthdays feels important. It feels special. It gives us one extra date to honor every person in our family. Birthdays are still the big event and the date where the MOST fuss is made, but half birthdays have become wonderful moments to have just a bit of something extra.
So why do I REALLY celebrate half birthdays? Here are six reasons.
1. Because cake
There are three people in our family. If we only celebrated actual birthdays, that would mean we only got cake three times a year. With half birthdays we are now looking at SIX cake loving opportunities. Sure, half birthdays are only half a cake, but still … CAKE!
2. Because waiting an entire year to celebrate each other is a LONG time
Remember when you were a kid and you really, really wanted that cool gizmo or thingamasomething? And then you heard those three words, “Wait until Christmas!” Most kids had a second time of the year for that blissful unwrapping kind of morning. They had a birthday season. Having a birthday the DAY before Christmas was a long time to wait.
3. Because maybe I overcompensate
Yes, I absolutely will own up to this. I am a single mom to an only child. Of course celebrating half birthdays is a way for me to do MORE and be MORE. I won’t apologize for that.
4. Because I loved my grandmother
When I celebrate W’s half birthday, I’m also celebrating that their lives overlapped for exactly six months.
5. Because tradition
Celebrating our half birthdays is silly and fun, and I hope W will do the same with his kids.
6. Because it’s a big deal moment
If you asked W how old he is today, he would tell you he’s 6. (OK, actually he would first try to convince you he is eight, but that is another story.) The point is he is absolutely NOT a half. Becoming a half is a huge deal for him. It’s a milestone moment, a threshold to cross. Once he celebrates his half birthday, he will be able to proudly declare he is 6 … AND A HALF.
It’s never too late to adopt new traditions into your family. If you have never celebrated half birthdays with your kids, surprise them this year by doing it. We don’t make a big fuss about gifts on half birthdays. It’s more about having a family day. And cake. This year we are going to see Iron Giant together on the big screen and we will probably go out for milkshakes. W is already counting down the days!More On