When it comes to teaching our kids how to live a life of gratitude, I’ve found the most effective way to tell them is to show them. And one special year, we used her birthday party as a way to honor the thankfulness in my daughter’s heart by throwing a gratitude birthday party.
When my oldest daughter was close to her 16th birthday, she talked about wanting to have a special birthday party. We had already had many traditional birthday parties over the years, and this time she wanted to turn the idea upside down. Rather than receiving a lot of gifts and attention, she wanted to instead throw a party where the guests were the guests of honor, and they were there to receive her gift of gratitude for the important roles they played in her life.
A Gratitude Birthday Party
Gratitude Birthday Party Planning Ideas
To prepare for this important party, I encouraged her to think of all the Godly ladies who had inspired her in her walk with the Lord as she was growing up. Then I suggested that it would be really special to not just invite her friends/peers to the party, but also those adults who had invested in her life.
We had so much fun writing down names and thinking of all of the wonderful ways God had blessed her with these people He placed in her life over the years. The hardest part about it was keeping the list from getting too long with so many people being such a blessing to her and our family.
The adult ladies that came included some relatives, Sunday School teachers, the mom of one of her good friends, and some adults from church who had encouraged her through the years.
Work Thankfulness Into Your Birthday Party
During the party, we played games, ate, and did traditional birthday party activities. We decorated the room and made sure there were plenty of yummy treats for everyone to enjoy. It was such a wonderful atmosphere to celebrate this special girl on her special day!
What should I say at a birthday party? Once the cake was eaten and everyone had a seat, my daughter got up and thanked each of the ladies for the investment and influence they had in her life. You don’t need to spend a lot of time on each person. Just a simple statement about what they mean to you and a thank you will go a long way and keep the birthday party flowing seamlessly.
What a beautiful and memorable way for my daughter to express her gratitude and actively show her special people how much they all meant to her!
How do you thank guests after the party?
The follow-up to the gratitude party is another opportunity to teach your child to be thankful in all things. Writing thank you cards can be a chore, but remind them of how even though the birthday party was a fun event for everyone, the follow-up is very important. The guests took time out of their day to be there, and maybe even brought a gift. A short, handwritten note of thanks is a nice gesture that really will go a long way. And it’s a great way to teach your child to get in the habit of making gratitude part of their celebration routines.
How do you celebrate gratitude every year?
Maybe you don’t want to use this exact party theme every year. When you throw a traditional themed birthday party, you can still incorporate many of these ideas on a smaller scale. I think many of the little ways of showing gratitude at our party can be used in yours. Maybe you choose to have a kids-only party for your younger child, but have them thank each of their friends individually. Or have them write a little note to each guest before the party as “thanks for coming” messages. Small gestures can show a lot of gratitude, and throwing a gratitude birthday party is a perfect way to display that!
I hope my daughter’s memorable party inspired your heart towards gratitude today. It was so much fun to share this with you!
I’d love to know in the comments below…
What are your favorite tips for teaching your kids gratitude when celebrating their birthdays?
Why not continue to help your teen focus on gratitude by using Gratitude Journaling for Growing Your Teen’s Faith! Learn more here today!