I read about “Birthday Boss” in the newspaper when my son was 2 and my daughter was just born. I knew immediately it was something I wanted to do to create amazing memories with James and the kids. Hands down, it beats all other kids birthday party ideas I’ve come across. We all look forward to Birthday Boss and the kids spend weeks planning theirs out. We’ve now been doing Birthday Boss for 6 years and James and I love it as much as the kids do.
How “Birthday Boss” works
It goes like this:
- Usually on the weekend before one of our birthdays, that person gets to be the “Birthday Boss” of our family for 24 hours. All rules are out the window
- We clear the calendar – no other social activities are accepted during the 24 hours. If the kids have a scheduled extra-curricular activity during the 24 hours (e.g. football game or gymnastics class) they get factored in to what we do
- It usually starts at 7am on a Saturday morning and goes right through to 7am Sunday. The person who has their birthday coming up is the “Birthday Boss” and gets to choose everything we do in that 24 hours. Yes, everything! If they want chocolate and ice cream for breakfast they can, because they’re “Birthday Boss”. And if they want chips for lunch they can, because they’re “Birthday Boss”. Then if they want cake for dinner they can, because … well, you get the picture. It’s usually pretty disgusting what they eat in 24 hours, but it also helps when they want to load up on other days and we tell them to put it on their Birthday Boss list
- In terms of what we do during the day and that night, it’s also up to the Birthday Boss. Over the past 6 years it has usually involved us going to the beach or a park, and a mix of the movies, zoo, aquarium and bowling
- At night, it involves staying up late and watching movies. The latest the kids have got to so far is 10pm, so it’s not too crazy … yet! The Birthday Boss also says where they want to sleep. Usually this involves one of the kids in our bed with one of us or all of us in our sleeping bags on the floor somewhere in the house.
When I say “all rules are out the window”, that’s not QUITE right
We’ve had to introduce 3 rules over the years based on what the kids have asked for. Our Birthday Boss rules are:
1. No getting on a plane. When we first introduced Birthday Boss, our son asked to fly to Disneyland for the day! So we let them choose somewhere to drive to which is up to 2 hours away, but it’s about staying relatively local
2. It’s not about buying things. The same year our son asked to go to our local toy shop and buy his favourite toys! We explained it’s about being together and experiencing things, not about possessions
3. You can’t be mean. This means our daughter can’t make our son eat meat (he’s been a vegetarian since he was 5 … I’ll save that story for another time!) and our son can’t make his sister sleep outside by herself
That’s it. Everything else is fair game.
I’ve had loads of friends adapt this concept to just do a “Birthday Boss morning / night”, as the thought of 24 hours of mayhem was a bit too much for them. It does get full on, and I can only imagine what they will come up with when they’re teenagers, but if I think about my favourite memories with my kids, they involve having ice cream for breakfast … “because that’s what the Birthday Boss wanted”!