Q: My boyfriend has a birthday approaching. His family isn’t big on them, and in fact he can only remember getting a cake once since he went to college, therefore he doesn’t seem to care it’s approaching. I, however, like to celebrate mine for practically the entire month! I would love to go overboard and celebrate, but we’ve only been dating a couple of months and I don’t want to overstep. What should I do?

Holiday HooplaA: Birthdays are near and dear to my heart (I even cheer, literally, every time I see the time 7:14 on the clock – because that’s the date of mine) so I understand the need to make them extra special. Your birthday is your very own holiday to be celebrated and appreciated! Everyone loves to be appreciated.

If you don’t want to make it about his “birthday” you could make it about how much you appreciate him. Cake included! You mentioned cake — did he smile at the memory? Did he mention what delicious flavor it was? If you know his favorite cake you could make it for him. Maybe you don’t have to bring it to his work and make a big deal about it, but it can at least be for a special dinner with the two of you.

If you feel him resistant to the idea of celebrating his birthday, which is different than him not receiving a celebration before, then start your own birthday tradition (not necessarily on that day but that week or month) to make it special between the two of you. “Birthday” need not ever be mentioned. If you really like this guy, then around the time of his birthday is a terrific time to show him you value him in other ways: go to his choice of movie, make his favorite dish, attend his favorite event that maybe you balked at before, and wear your hair the way you know he likes it. Wink. Unfortunately, not everyone gets as excited about their birthday as us. You can’t force your excitement about birthdays on him, but there are ways around it if you want to use it as a time to show him how you feel. Showing is always better than telling.

Dana Volney, author of Holiday Hoopla

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