I've had several requests about our Birthday Table, so I thought I would share.
Over the past few years I have been reading so much about celebrating festivals. Waldorf education strongly believes in the tradition and rhythm of yearly festivals. Through this I pulled together our Birthday Table. It isn't something I have read about specifically, just something that sort of came to be, which makes it all the more magical in some way.
In the days leading up to the birthday we clear the nature table and set out a special silk or pretty cloth. A baby picture of the birthday recipient or perhaps a hand painted number of their new age is placed in a wooden frame. I love the connection between the birth and birthday that pictures can bring to the celebration, and such sweet memories for the mama too.
The kids tend to decorate the table with just a few things for their birthday sibling. I always try to add fresh flowers, even if it means picking all the pretty weeds in the neighborhood. Handmade gifts wrapped in fabric and cards start to show up as well. The idea for us, is to keep it very simple and beautiful. The table we use is in our den, which is where we all gather to watch present opening time and sing Happy Birthday. We plan to add a candle to the table for the next birthday, a suggestion by Miss Seven (soon to be eight!)
Pulling this all together has become very special for each of our children. I really adore what my youngest children add to their sibling's tables. Such thoughtful little things, and of course a great deal of humorous ones as well. It changes a bit from year to year. I think a festival should have a strong core, with a little fluidity to move and change as the family grows. It's a very simple way to show a child how grateful you are for having them, and that they were just the one you had dreamed of. Kids never get to old to hear this either, even through the "oh mom" sigh of a large teenage boy…. I know his heart is fond of hearing those words.
We leave the table decorate for a day or two after the birthday before we clear it and bring back our nature table items. I hope this might inspire you to bring some simple and very meaningful elements into your own celebrations.
And, of course, Happy Birthday to my own not so little boy. 14 years, wow. My heart would swear that picture above was not so long ago….