Waldorf inspired birthdays

In some ways we have taken a baby steps approach to bringing Waldorf into our home. A gradual shift over time, on a journey that continues. So slowly we have shifted how we celebrate the children’s birthdays.

Trying to keep them simpler, smaller and building on our family traditions as we go. Using special items to mark the occasion, like a beautiful birthday ring, a birthday crown and birthday bunting. Special items that the children can come to expect, and that help mark their special days.

Another change is how we give our children birthday gifts. We try to keep our gift giving simple, include handmade presents and mostly toys from natural materials. We also use a gift giving philosophy of…

This keeps us focused on choosing special gifts and making good decisions. In the past I think I found it a little too easy to get caught up in the excitement of buying presents, and not always choosing the best options for our family. So now we try to be more thoughtful and purposeful in our choices.

Dino Boy adores Lego, and it keeps him occupied for long stretches of time. Building his own creations and playing with them. Or building things with his dad *smile*

So this birthday for something they want we gave him a new set of Lego…

We used to have a plastic clam sandpit, but the elements caused it to crack and break. So we’ve been thinking for some time that we would like to have a new sandpit in the yard. Sandpits are wonderful for ourside play! And then Husband of Mine found this wonderful one ~ with little seats that fold out into a lid ~ online for a bargain price… so this is Dino Boy’s something they need…

For Dino Boy’s something to wear I knitted him this gorgeous Griffin vest ~ wonderful for Spring and Autumn. Knitted with dreamy Noro yarn. And he adores it, particularly the pocket to keep his little hands in *happy sigh*

For something to read this fun and sweet book Mudpies and Other Recipes is a lovely choice. It makes us giggle and has inspired some wonderfully creative play outside!

And for this birthday, we decided to give him something to create… because he now enjoys drawing at his Waldorf preschool with lovely beeswax crayons and we thought it would be good to encourage him to continue the creative process at home.

We feel that this new approach to gift giving has helped make our family birthday celebrations more meaningful.

Do you have a gift giving philosophy?
How do you celebrate your family birthdays?

Happy celebrations,

This post was part of the series
How to bring Waldorf into your home…’
by Kelly of Happy Whimsical Hearts

You can see more from this series here.


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  • Reply Jackie(My Little Bookcase) October 10, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    I never knew it was Waldorf inspired, but we follow a similar gift-giving philosophy also.

  • Reply The Monko October 10, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    i love your gift giving philosophy. I always get carried away and this year was no exception, Goblin has a huge stash of gifts which is daft as he already has so many toys. Its hard to reign it in. i admire your will power.

  • Reply Kim Corrigan-Oliver October 11, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Beautiful! We keep it simple here too, a lovely hike in the woods, a late lunch, just one present from us, and of course his banner, birthday ring and birthday crown. We tell the rainbow bridge birthday story and share a memory from each year as we light each candle on the ring. We celebrate with the people who were in our home when he was born my parents and his god parents and we ask them to keep it simple with gifts and they happily oblige, which is really great.

    I love the simplicity of a Waldorf inspired birthday.

  • Reply katef October 13, 2013 at 11:33 am

    We use that same idea for Christmas. Our kids get one gift they want from us, then something they need, clothes, books and art supplies from ‘Santa’. Since taking on the list idea it has made things so much easier for me and I am less likely to go overboard too.

    For birthdays out kids get to choose a dinner (out or in) and get one gift from us and a small hand made gift from their siblings.

    Now if only I could encourage all our family members to simplify and limit the gift giving!

  • Reply Bekka Joy October 14, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Beautiful! 🙂 That vest really is dreamy. Miss Daisy loves hand pockets too! 🙂

  • Reply A birthday girl | Happy Whimsical Hearts June 22, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    […] still follow our gift giving philosophy. And it is serving us […]

  • Reply Decorating the birthday chair ~ Happy Whimsical Hearts May 30, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    […] can read more about our Waldorf birthday traditions here, and see how we celebrated Ruby’s last birthday […]

  • Reply Sarah Bee July 2, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    I have a quick question for you 🙂
    Do you have any tips on getting the extended family to use the same sort of approaches to birthday gifts with your children? We love this approach to gift giving and the types of gifts that you suggest- we have been doing something similar for the last 3 years. Unfortuantely we often find that our efforts end up undermined by the brigade of extended family who turn up with noisy, light-up, plastic toys that over-stimulate my boys and steal their attention away. Any advice would be wonderful 🙂

    • Reply Kelly July 2, 2016 at 5:08 pm

      Hi Sarah, that is a tricky issue isn’t it! We’ve tried to share our approach with family, that we prefer less, that we appreciate natural materials and open ended toys. There are a few different ways you could approach gifts with family and friends that don’t share the same approach – encourage no gifts, specific gifts (wish list type approach or we’d love craft materials for example), group buying for a bigger wished for item (we did that with a cubby house) or encourage an experience/time gift instead (tickets to the zoo or an outing with the family member). At the end of the day though, I’ve found we still are given things we would rather not have in our home. Some of these the children play with for a little and then lose interest very quickly. Some I put in the bath so they can see some play before they get yucky and go to the bin, some we regift or take to a donation bin. We’d still like to appreciate the gift and the effort the giver put into choosing it, so it is a balance. One other option I’ve found can work is to suggest that toy can live at the givers house for when we visit. I’ve found as family see our home more and see how the children play they often start to get it more, but this continues to be a challenge.

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