Why (un)birthdays last two days in our house

Kids are excited. The years go fast. Here's how stretch out the special times.

Why (un)birthdays last two days in our house

Why (un)birthdays last two days in our house 1024 777 Looking out Loud

This is 60-second Dadspeak—daily reflections on becoming a dad, while still growing up myself. You can find the full mini-pod audio list here.


Kids so look forward to their birthdays. And then it comes and goes so fast. This is why birthday celebrations in our house begin the day before someone’s birthday.

Tomorrow my oldest turns 12. So today, after a long drive home, we celebrated his unbirthday.

We borrowed the idea of unbirthday parties from the Mad Hatter and the March Hare in Alice and Wonderland. Here’s their rationale:

Mad Hatter: Now, statistics prove, prove that you’ve one birthday
March Hare: Imagine, just one birthday every year
Mad Hatter: Ah, but there are three hundred and sixty four unbirthdays!
March Hare: Precisely why we’re gathered here to cheer
Alice: Why then today is my unbirthday too!

On their account, we each technically have 364 unbirthdays, not counting leap years. But in our house, we just celebrate the day before the birthday. Which is also the last day of their current age. So it’s kind of like a farewell to the year that’s finishing.

What do we do?

Nothing fancy. No presents, no party. We just note to our children during the day that it’s their unbirthday. This gets them in the birthday spirit, and reminds them to enjoy their last day of whatever age they are now.

After dinner, we’ve also started celebrating with a small dessert and a few candles—to blow out the outgoing year. Sometimes it’s a small cake, and other years it’s a couple of muffins. Today it was mini powdered donuts. Because we were coming home from a weekend road trip, and that was the best I could secretly buy during a stop at the gas station.

And it was perfect. Because the point isn’t a massive party full of favorite treats. It’s just a simple opportunity to bring a few extra smiles and meaningful memories to years that pass too quickly.

And if you need a refresh on the whole song, here you go:



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