A few years ago,  I experienced a wonderful birthday gift + want to share it with you.

This is an idea you should steal!

About a week before my birthday, my family gave me an envelope with a “Chinese menu” of celebration ideas for an entire day. I got to choose the where, whats, and whens of every part of the day from breakfast to sundown!

Each category had three to five choices. For instance, did I want homemade cinnamon bread for breakfast or did I prefer to go to a colorful local eatery? Maybe I wanted to grab some sweet treats and sit by the water and watch the ferries come in? Perhaps I wanted to have an early morning appetizer of watching the sun come up as we sipped coffee from a thermos and munched yummies we brought along?

This is an AWESOME gift for someone you love who lives with or near you. (Or whom you’ll be with in person on their special occasion!) All you have to do is come up with three to five categories for your “menu.” You could do appetizers, starters, main dish, cheese plate, and dessert, like my family did. Or, you could choose a simple, “morning, noon, and night.” If you wanted to stretch the celebration out for a whole week, you could do something like “Monday, Wednesday, Friday.”

Once you have your categories, then brainstorm some “menu items.” Check the local entertainment listings, think of fave things this person loves to do, and get creative with ideas of no-to-low cost fun that would provide an incredible experience for anyone who is joining in the menu of fun.




The thing that is so great about this experiential gift is that you really don’t have to spend a lot of money. It’s all about spending time together, doing things that the birthday gal-or-guy really loves. One of the things that touched me so much about my menu of items, was that my son suggested that “watch the sunrise together” be added to the starters on the menu. He knows how much I love going to see the sunset and he thought seeing the sunrise would be a little different, but every bit as enjoyable. And wow, was it. (That’s us there to the left, taking goofy photos in the glow of the sunrise!)

For my birthday, I chose the sunrise, followed by a trip to Santa Cruz for breakfast and a jaunt around the boardwalk to ride the sky-glider and eat some taffy. Then we stopped in Half Moon Bay to wind our way around the cornstalk labyrinth and to bop by the beach for a little R&R in the sun. Believe me, it was a real feast for the senses. There’s really nothing like spending a whole day doing fun things with the people you love!

So next time you need a special birthday gift, why not consider coming up with your own menu of delights for the person you want to celebrate? I promise you, a day of fun makes memories that will be enjoyed forever. (I’m currently re-enjoying my own birthday celebration right this second as I tell you about it!!!)




Be sure and let me know how it goes, okay?!



P.S. As an added treat for the birthday person, you could bring along your camera or smart phone and make sure you snap some fun shots throughout the day. Later you could make ’em a small photo album (remember those?!) or print up some pics so they have a tangible reminder of the celebration day.