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a very merry unbirthday

So many of us are moving away from our families these days. The distance can really be felt on birthdays. For us, that moving has really made us aware of the time and space that is lost between ourselves and those we love so much. As the years began to pass and more and more birthdays were missed, we started a little tradition when a family member came to visit… the Unbirthday Party.

It is the day when we take time to celebrate all the birthdays that have been missed since the last time we were together. We make cupcakes so everyone can have a candle to blow out and we go around the table and sing “Happy Unbirthday” to each person.

At first it seemed a little silly and we giggled about it, but now our kids beg us for an Unbirthday Party every time someone comes to visit! Apparently it really does mean a lot to them. The kids may be a little motivated by the presents they receive, but honestly, that has never really been the focus. Each person receives one small, inexpensive gift and the rest of the time we just focus on celebrating one another and the overwhelming joy of being together.

A few weeks ago we had a visit from Grandma, so I had a total blast pulling together a quick and simple Unbirthday Party. Here are a few key ways to throw a great Unbirthday Party on a budget:

  • Use what you have on hand. Don’t fret over buying new party decorations! Shop around your own house, using previously used party decorations and/or decor items that match if you want to create a little theme.
  • Keep the gifts under a certain price. Come up with a budget that works for your family and if you really want to keep the budget low, have everyone make their gifts.
  •  Keep the menu simple. This time we popped popcorn, grabbed some apples from the fruit bowl, and baked a couple inexpensive treats.

Post by A Subtle Revelry contributor Tina Fussell.


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  1. What an absolutely lovely idea! I live in Dublin and my family is all back in the States. When we have kids, this will be such a great idea! Well, we’ll probably have to try it out sooner! ;)

  2. What an amazing idea Tina. And the table decor looks great. We’re doing something a bit similar when we celebrate big sister day each year. When my girl got old enough she started wondering why there was a mother’s day and a father’s day and not a special day for her.

  3. Brilliant idea! I love it!!! I live quite far from my family and friends as well and I’m not able to always see them for birthday. But this year it looks like I’ll have to make un-Christmas…cause probably won’t visit my family for holidays this year.

  4. I just missed my mum’s birthday last week, this is a brilliant idea. I cannot wait to throw a unbirthday party. Thank you Victoria, it’s a lovely show of solidarity ;-)

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