7 Unexpected Ideas That Will Make You Enjoy Your Birthday Again

adult birthdays

I find that the older I get, the less I enjoy celebrating my birthday. Although I do enjoy the excuse to get the whole family together for dinner (our usual method of celebrating birthdays), getting another year older doesn’t feel quite as positive and exciting as it used to!

But I think that many adults feel that way. As you get older, your birthday seems to lose some of its luster, and it just doesn’t hold the appeal that it did when we were kids!

But since my birthday is coming around again next month, I figured it’s a good time to reinvent how I celebrate it, both for my sake and for all of yours! So in today’s post, I’ll be sharing 7 unconventional and, dare I say, even fun ways to celebrate your birthday as an adult! :-)

7 Creative Ways To Celebrate Your Birthday As An Adult

adult birthdays

1. Write & Reflect

Take some time on your birthday to reflect on the previous year. Ask yourself what you accomplished during the last year that you’re proud of, and what could you have handled better?

It’s also a good time to think about the year ahead, and explore where you’d like to be (physically, mentally, emotionally, etc.) this time next year. Jot these thoughts down in your journal, or type it up and on your phone or computer so you can add to it on your next birthday!

adult birthdays

2. Celebrate Like Your Ancestors

Put a more personal twist on your birthday this year by highlighting your heritage! Your ancestors had their own ways of celebrating special occasions, and observing one or two of those traditions on your birthday can be a meaningful way to reconnect with your roots.

Since my own birthday is coming up next month, I’ve picked out a couple of Danish birthday traditions to observe in honor of my Danish heritage. I’ll be making my own birthday cake to share, and I’ll be displaying some Danish flags! :-)

A simple Google search is a great place to get started if you want to find birthday traditions associated with your own heritage!

adult birthdays

3. Get Birthday Freebies

We all love getting stuff for free, right? So why not spend your birthday collecting as many birthday freebies as you possibly can? :-)

Check out The Real Deal’s extensive list of birthday freebies to find out what you can get for free on your special day. (Many stores and brands require you to sign up for their email list to get their birthday freebie, but you can always unsubscribe later if you want!)

adult birthdays

4. Treat Yourself

Treat yourself to something special on your big day! While there’s nothing wrong with splurging if you want to, you can also keep it relatively cheap and still make it feel like a treat.

You might stop by your favorite bakery for breakfast, then take some time to yourself to read or do a crossword in the afternoon. Whatever feels indulgent to you is fair game! :-)

adult birthdays

5. Overcome A Challenge

Your birthday is the perfect opportunity to push yourself to new heights! There’s nothing like that feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction after you’ve done something challenging, whether that’s starting a new exercise routine or finally having that difficult conversation that you’ve been putting off.

Start your next year of life on the right foot by doing something that makes you feel strong and capable of anything! :-)

adult birthdays

6. Plan A Weekend Getaway

Make your birthday an occasion to remember by planning a weekend getaway with your friends or family! A few days in a vacation rental can be surprising affordable if everyone is willing to chip in.

adult birthdays

7. Do Something Good

Use your birthday as an opportunity to do something good for someone else! Get together with a few friends or family members and donate your time at a local food bank, animal shelter, or soup kitchen.

You could also donate items by turning it into a fun birthday activity! Get a list of requested items from your favorite charitable organization, then spend an afternoon out shopping for items on the list.

Bonus: Your husband may not like his birthday to be a big deal either, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make him a heart-felt card that expresses how you feel about him! Check out these 35 Birthday Greetings For Husbands and find one that suits, then put it in this free printable birthday card!

How do you celebrate your birthday as an adult?

Read This Next

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • I had sent flowers to my Mom for years on my birthday and let her know how much I loved her. It’s what I miss most about my day and have not celebrated in years since my Mom passed. I did like the idea of heritage traditions. I might try that this year. Thanks for the idea.

  • Happy Birthday Jillee! My inspirational ‘friend’ on the net!
    I tried many of your ideas and every single one worked! And saved me some $ too…

    Cheers from Canada!

  • When my mother was still alive, I used to send her flowers on MY birthday – was always fun to hear her response (and of her friends who wondered why she got the posies!). One year I sent flowers to my in-laws on my husband’s birthday – to thank them for him. They were surprised and delighted. Just an idea….

  • Something I’ve always wanted to do but haven’t yet is to go to the nearest maternity ward and see all the new babies that were born on my birthday or treat my husband to that surprise. We always are shocked when we find that special person who also shares our same day of birth.

  • A few years ago I planned a progressive birthday dinner for me, my husband, and my sister. We picked her up about 3:30 p.m. and by the time we’d hit four restaurants (apps and cocktails, soup/salad, main entrée, dessert) and got her back home it was 11:30! Eight hours!! It was fun. Two states, 3 counties, 4 towns.

    This year my husband and I will spend the night at the Castle Inn Bed’n Breakfast. A real castle and Friday night will be a Murder Mystery Dinner! We have been encouraged to dress for the period — early 1900s. Still working on our costumes. So looking forward to it!

    P.S. It’s my birthday. Who knows what adventure I’ll come up with for future birthdays!!

  • Jillee, I am Norwegian descent and I never knew you were Danish decent. We know what good food is ! I like your spirit and encouragements, to be kind to ourselves on our Birthday. We are always so concerned for our love ones and tend to forget we need uplifting as well. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to YOU

  • Your post today made my heart smile! I will be 82 on Valentine’s Day and love birthdays. Whenever anyone is shocked and says, “I can’t believe that you are going to be 82!”, I smile and say, “And, if you are lucky, one day you will have that blessing as well.” Birthdays are a special gift in themselves! I plan to go snowshoeing this year as I did on my 80th – a challenge that I have started the last years and wish I had started earlier. Have loved your posts way back when you spoke of Fargo as I went to college across the river at Concordia and have a daughter in Fargo now. I have lived in Montana again for many years now.

    • Karyl, I love your attitude! I believe it is an attitude about life like yours that adds to living longer! Happy birthday to you… and may you celebrate many more!

  • Happy Birthday! My birthday is next month too and turning 73 is daunting until I thought to turn those numbers around and be 37! Lol! We are trying to retire from the farm (which isn’t easy) and so lots of changes could be around the corner. I will celebrate by going to see both my daughters and see my grandsons play basketball!

  • What a surprise I got this morning on MY birthday when I saw your latest email. Such perfect timing. I tend to celebrate the whole month of January by seeing friends, volunteering, and giving thanks for the wonderful people in my life especially my loving husband. I “got” him through a dating service 34 years ago with a half off coupon so he’s the best bargain I’ve ever found.

    • Happy birthday Judy!! Sound like you really know how to celebrate your birthday! I love the month long celebration. Your comment about your husband being the best bargain made me giggle. Have a wonderful day! :-)

    • Fantastic Judy! You are now giving hope to a whole lot of people! Your post is so cute (don’t tell him I said that) and is probably inspiring others to try new ways to meet a spouse/companion! So…I see at least 4 things here: 1. Giving romantic hope. 2. Making people laugh. 3. Spreading luv to others less fortunate. 4. How to use a bargain!
      So… I hope your birthday was awesome. Cheers!

  • Years ago (before I started getting old) someone pointed out that the alternative to turning a year older was death, so being a year older was looking pretty good! We mourn those who die “too young” but at the same time we don’t celebrate being on this earth for another year. This has been a year of loss for me, but I try to remember and be thankful for those whom I still have in my life.

    • I know your feeling and admire your comment alot! What a great attitude you have kept. Understanding your loss and feelings is very good…I hope when your birthday comes around you are able to enjoy and be with those in your life you clearly deserve it!
      Sending peace from Canada

  • I have a friend who celebrated his birthday by doing a random act of kindness for each of his years. It can be as simple or elaborate as you choose. It could be a solo activity or a group activity … the sky is the limit!
    Happy Birthday everyone!

  • Great ideas. I always remember the saying your getting older and wiser. My mom and I have birthdays 2 days apart in October. We usually go to lunch and finish birthday shopping. We started doing the shopping a week before when I was a teen and my siblings like to do it too. For the ones who are away she’ll send packages and some extra money. In recent years the going out has included my dad who’s retired. We try to do a birthday celebration for the nearby family often. I love the birthday freebies. So much fun.

    • I also like what you said about learning about your heritage. My moms family is 1/2 Swedish. Her Dads parents were immigrants and I guess in those days you kind of abandoned your old country’s ways when you came here. So my Grandpa (moms dad) wasn’t able to pass these along. I’ve had to learn a lot about their culture by reading up. They do eat lots of fish which I’m glad they didn’t pass that down. Grandpa did hunt quite a bit when he was alive.

  • My younger sister(by 2 years) and I have our birthdays in November. When she was turning 50 I took her on a 4 day weekend to New Orleans. We’ve been doing this for the past 9 years, always a different place and always less then $1000 for the 2 of us. We have such fun reconnecting and learning things from where we visit. And it’s short enough that we don’t get on each other’s nerves.

  • Happy upcoming birthday Jillee. I live in the Republic of Panama and have subscribed to an outfit that offers coupons, sort of like Groupon and I always look out for the 50% off on hotel stay for one night coupons. Even if it’s close to where we live, it’s so nice to “get away” and have a nice meal at the hotel, swim the next morning, drink coffee on the balcony, etc. That’s my birthday treat and it doesn’t cost a fortune. We are lucky enough to have year round nice weather here. Thanks for all that you do for all of us.

  • I celebrated my birthday on year by surprising my family by giving them birthday presents. It was fun; I did it on some significant birthday year. Had a number of them, so not sure which one. But they still talk about it, lol.

  • Like the birthday ideas, especially the traditional idea. I have a question which is sort of on topic. I have an instant pot and crock pot. Do I need my crockpot ?

    • I have never used my crockpot for cooking in the 3+ years that I have had my instant pot. However, I have saved my crockpot for serving various items that I want to keep warm on a buffet table – like soups, etc.

  • Hi Jillee!

    Thanks for the birthday post. My birthday is coming up in early March and yes, celebrating it seems a bit ‘ugh’. This past year hasn’t been the greatest so I am trying to be optimistic as I reach my late ’50’s. Noticed a lot of changes in myself in the past year.

    • Dear Sylvia, you don’t know me but… embrace these years and do what you can and love to do. I am ahead of you in years and understand and even coming right here to this site Jillee is a great inspiration and her vast knowledge helped me get through hip surgery and several other things like mentalpause… :)
      Cheers and have a great birthday. Stay in the positive.

      PS I get to still golf and that makes me happy.

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