I've read that traditions are important for children, and help them to feel bonded with their families. Sometimes these traditions are solemn and long planned, and sometimes they are accidental and lighthearted.
We've developed a new birthday tradition in our family this past year. It began quite by chance last fall. The kids and I were in the car, driving home from the library. K-boy's birthday was coming up, and he was listing aloud some presents that he hoped to get.
As the list grew rather long I commented, "Wow, you kids don't know how easy you have it. Birthday gifts used to be so much simpler than they are nowadays."
I went on to share with them a birthday memory of mine, from when I was about four years old. I went with my mother to visit a friend of hers. It was around my birthday and the friend gave me a present. I unwrapped it as we were driving home in our little, red, 1970 Volkswagen Beetle. Imagine my delight when I tore off the paper to reveal.....a pair of red tights, and a bag of Fritos corn chips! Yes, I really was happy about the corn chips!
I'd like to say that my kids were so impressed with my recollections of simpler times that they immediately downsized their own birthday expectations and grew an appreciation for the little things in life. I'd like to say that, but.....
"Mom," K-boy said, after a moment's thought, "I hope I get a bag of birthday Fritos this year!"
"Me too! Me too!", chimed in M-girl and D-boy, laughing. They were all laughing, so was I.
When it came time for K-boy to unwrap his presents, there sitting proudly at the top of the stack, was an oddly shaped present that contained Fritos. Every birthday since, someone reminds me to pick up a bag when I'm present shopping. It's become for us one of those unplanned traditions that is likely to go on forever, and will always give us a chuckle.