Friday, March 16, 2012

remembering birthdays is thoughtful

With my birthday last week, I was freshly reminded of just how nice it is to get sweet birthday wishes (thanks, everyone!).  I received cards in the mail (which I got when I returned home from New York), phone calls, emails, texts, and Facebook wishes.  All day long Tuesday my phone was abuzz with greetings, and it was so fun.  And all week long mail trickled in, and you know I love mail.  I think it's great that nowadays there are so many ways to wish someone a happy birthday.

I am trying this year to send everyone on my birthday list a greeting in some form or another.  I've done okay so far, and I think I might be getting my system down now that it's March.  For me, the key is my planner.  I have the birthday calendar up in my kitchen, and I see that everyday.  But if I don't also write in my planner, all I will do is look at those birthdays on the calendar and not really do anything about them.  So even though the idea of a perpetual calendar is that you don't necessarily have to write the birthdays over each year, I actually do.  And I use the perpetual calendar as a daily reminder and my master list.  I have just found that I work best with every little step spelled out for me.

Step 1  Write the birthdays in my planner.  It's become kind of a tradition for me in the last few years that I do this after Christmas, which means I have to have my new planner purchased by then.  For several years I have purchased a Blue Sky brand planner at Target, and it works great for me.  Writing all the birthdays takes time, but I really enjoy writing in my planner (nerd alert!).  And I like thinking of each person and the year ahead as I write down all the names and dates.  I use the previous year's planner to fill out the upcoming year's planner--that way I will be able to add in birthdays and important dates that were new to me last year.

Step 2  This step has been the turnaround for me.  I make little "send birthday card" notes in my planner--I go back a few days from the birthday listed and write a note to myself to get that person's birthday card in the mail.  For instance, this year my cousin Molly's birthday was on Thursday, March 8, so I made a note on Monday the 5th to send her card (I hope it got there on time, Moll?).

Step 3  The tricky part--have birthday cards on hand!  I could also write a "buy or make birthday card" note a few days before the "send birthday card" note in my planner, but I think that would be too many notes, even for me.  Recently, I have bought cards and mailed them on the same day.  I would love to have a routine of taking one day a month to shop for and/or make all the cards I want to send in that month, but I am not there yet.

Right now, this is my ideal--get a card in the mail.  If at some point I realize that this is not going to happen, then I will try to call, text, email, or Facebook the person . . . I just want them to know I am thinking of them on their day!

[Just a note, I choose sending cards as my ideal because of my love for mail and because the practice is becoming less common.  But I don't care how others tell me happy birthday--I just love it when they do!  But even if you don't send me a birthday card, please do send me mail.  :)]

So tell me--how do you remember birthdays?  Do you have a plan for getting greetings out?  Are you a card in the mail kind of person?  Or do you go the more technologically advanced route?  I love hearing what other people do to be thoughtful--please share!


  1. This is great. I inherited so many extra birthdays to remember when I got married. It's hard to keep up.

    1. I know--it's a big task! Always trying to find ways to be a little more successful at it . . . :)

  2. I fail miserably at birthdays, and the guilt is terrible. I remember one year, I had flown home from seeing my dad at Christmas (and you know leaving home is always sad), Derek was deployed, I had Henry and Kate on my own in NJ. I don't know what happened that year, I had seen so many people earlier over the holidays, that I had nothing to open on my birthday (I always save cards until the day of the big day). Then, my mother in law had a spa basket delivered. It was 5pm, I had spent my whole birthday with two very cranky babies who didn't know what birthdays were/that you weren't supposed to act 2 on your mom's day:). I literally cried when the ups man left! What a dork! Anyway, it made me very happy. So please know that you sending these is very admirable and likely touches people more than you know, am.

    1. Awww, Gina! Well . . . I am trying . . . but it has taken me until March this year to get cards in the mail. (That reminds me--did you get my voicemail on your birthday? Obviously, I didn't send a card this year! But my phone was cutting off that day, and I meant to check back to see if you'd gotten it . . . )

      I remember one year you called me in the morning and said you had just opened your card from me (the year I actually sent one), and the fact that you took the time to tell me it was special really bolstered my desire to get cards out on time . . . so thanks for the encouragement then and the encouragement now (means a lot)!

      The birthday calendar and the notes in the planner have really helped me! Start fresh in April (or mid-March) and see how it goes! :) I love hearing from you on here, friend. xo


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