Do Birthdays Matter?

'Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and 
 sweet words.' (Plautus)

As a true ‘birthday’ person, I was rather taken aback during the week when our one and only, who is twenty today, told me that his birthday was ‘just another day’ to him and that he didn’t want anyone to make anything out of it.


There may be a touch of like father like son here as hubby is exactly the same!

Is this a male thing; have birthdays lost their significance; or are there others out there who treasure birthdays, especially those of their kids, no matter what age they happen to be?

All views welcome!

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

28 thoughts on “Do Birthdays Matter?”

  1. Tell him it is a significant day for you, as his mother, and that you would like to celebrate the joy he has brought into your life. I sometimes think people who don’t want a fuss made are afraid that no one will make a fuss, so they head it off at the pass.

  2. I always beware of the man who says he does not want any fuss on his birthday… if you take him at his word he may well sulk for weeks…. mine would!

  3. I strongly imagine your son does care really Jean, and similarly so your husband does too. A card is sufficient though, and there’s no desire in the least for a song and dance; yet to receive no acknowledgment at all would be hurtful. Am I wide of the mark do you think?

    1. Hariod, I just don’t know where the ‘mark’ is!
      Having said that, I found a tiny ‘non-birthday’ card and wrote a little bit on it. That was appreciated.

  4. Birthdays are special even if you choose not to celebrate it…I would make a special meal of things that your son likes..and tell him even though he chooses not to celebrate it’s also a special day for you seeing that you gave him life…Best Wishes to All..Someday when he becomes a father again if he chooses he will know what a special day it is…

  5. My OH never celebrated a birthday (didn’t even get cards for his 21st) before I met him. Coming from a family who celebrate everything I couldn’t accept that and ignored his reluctance.
    I love birthdays, and my kids go along with me for their own, regardless if they want to. It is a special day whether he thinks it or not. It is the day you became his mum, and the day you and your husband welcomed him into your life. Of course it’s not a normal day.
    Maybe he’d be secretly pleased if you made a small deal of it

    1. Hi Tric, interesting that you encountered the same kind of man! I think a lot is in the upbringing. However, I haven’t managed to convert either of them!

  6. As the others have stated; often times the one who says he doesn’t want to celebrate his birthday, secretly wants to. I shall forever feel guilty that I did not celebrate Mick’s 50th with a surprise party (in my defense, we left during the night of the 18th to the 19th of December – his birthday being the 19th ~ to drive down to Florida). We were celebrating big-time with a trip down to the Keys. Of course, his next birthday was his final one and he was not in a state to celebrate so. Tell your son that it’s not only for him. It’s for those who love him who want to take this special day to celebrate his existence! It need not be present-filled to be special…

    1. Oh Dale, I hate to see you feeling guilty as I’m sure Mick wanted nothing more than to be with you all on that birthday.
      Remarkably, my mother had a surprise birthday party for me on what was the last birthday of mine that she lived to see. I was stunned but perhaps she had a premonition.

  7. Ummm. I live alone and I never used to want to celebrate birthdays. Now that no one does recognize my birthday I must confess i miss it. Your post reminded me of a Jewish comedian i once heard do a stand-up. He was very funny. He said about celebrations: “Everyone asks me why Jews have so many celebrations in their religion. I tell them the answer is rather simple. You see every time that some group or ruler or government tries to kill us all and doesn’t succeed, we declare a holiday and a celebration for those who they missed.” Ha! Well as you get older and have experienced the brush of the Grim Reaper a few times, you marvel at each birthday marking your continuation in life.

      1. I’ve been to Irish Wakes and they are amazing- I’d love to see what you do for a live person!

  8. I am the same as your lad. The last birthday I bothered with was my 21st – a messy affair in Birmingham city centre that turned out 🙂 They’ve been of no relevance to me at all (though it’s quite nice when you move up into the next Masters’ age group and you get a sniff of a running trophy maybe).

  9. I have the same birthday as my husband, which is also our wedding anniversary. My son has insisted on taking us out for a meal to celebrate for the last two years, just as we always take him out on his birthday.
    PS So glad you’re back blogging again, Jean 🙂 Have missed you.

  10. I love this topic Jean … Because I’ve never really thought about it much. I usually don’t make a fuss … But like to acknowledge people’s birthday. I am also a twin, so its a way for my brother and I to commiserate together as we go through life. 😉
    My hubby loves to celebrate birthdays. He thinks its the most important day of the year and enjoys making it special … Of course, this means that I have to make it special for him too!

    1. Val, I always wanted to have a twin when I was growing up. One tends not to think of them so much when passed about 15! But I see where you’re coming from about moving through life with your twin brother.

  11. I’m not a date person. If I didn’t write them in my “birthday” book I think I’d forget some of them and that’s births or deaths (although I don’t write them down). Seasons affect me. Each autumn I feel lower and that’s because my parents both died in the autumn, but I forgotten the dates. Or maybye I could make myself remember but prefer not to.

  12. Birthdays were never a big thing in our family, so I’ve never been too bothered about mine – though as I grow older I think perhaps I should make more of a celebration of it!

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