Celebrating birthdays in the office the right way

Celebrating birthdays in the office the right way

Birthdays are my favorite holidays. The way I see it, your birthday is a personal holiday created just for you. How great is that? Birthdays are definitely a special occasion, and naturally, they fall during the work week from time to time. This is an opportunity to recognize your coworkers, celebrate them personally, and build team camaraderie. This begs the question— how do you celebrate birthdays in the office?  Is there a right way? Can you do too much? Thankfully, it’s not that complicated.

Every office has its own culture and with that comes its own brand of birthday etiquette. Personally, I make it a point to bring in a birthday treat for everybody on the team. Our coworkers decorate the associate’s cubicle with streamers, and the birthday guy or gal gets a card signed by the department. But there are plenty of ways you can celebrate a birthday in the office and make anyone’s birthday special.

Keep it simple

For the ever-efficient office, a keep-it-simple philosophy can be applied to birthdays at the office. Although extravagant affairs are a good time, they’re also a lot of work and not necessary to make birthdays special. You can pass a card around the office for everyone to sign or decorate the birthday guy or gal’s desk with some simple streamers, balloons or a banner. The point isn’t to make a spectacle out of someone’s birthday but to merely recognize the special day. It’s the thought that counts, and a birthday card or splash of color at a desk can make just about anyone smile.

Share the birthday love!

If you have a large office, it can become overwhelming to do something for everyone’s birthday. Here are some ideas:

  • Have monthly celebrations for all the birthdays of the month. Everybody in the office can bring treats to celebrate the month’s birthdays.
  • You can have themed office celebrations each month to add some variety to the usual festivities. One month you can have a cookie decorating celebration, another month you have a team ice cream social, and another could be a birthday breakfast event. Variety is the spice of life after all.

Personalize it!

When you take the time to add a special touch to a birthday celebration, it’s appreciated that much more!

  • If the birthday guy or gal is a diehard Bears fan, bring in some blue and orange cupcakes. Or bring something else in his or her favorite color.
  • If you know he or she loves apple pie, stop by the grocery store before work and pick up the dessert. Cupcakes and cookies aren’t the only treats people love!
  • For the coworker who doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth but cannot resist your famous taco dip, surprise him or her with a savory birthday treat instead.

Mix it up!

Since we’re all trying to watch our figures, food isn’t the only way to celebrate a birthday. Feel free to mix it up and do something a bit different for birthdays.

  • Make a donation to the charity of the birthday guy or gal’s choice.
  • Celebrate with an after-work happy hour or mingling event like bowling.
  • For the creative types who like to have a little fun at the birthday guy or gal’s expense, you can play a prank and fill his or her office with balloons or wrap the desk in wrapping paper.

In the end, any way you celebrate is a good one. Everybody enjoys at least a little bit of limelight on their special day! Your work family is an important part of your life, and it puts a smile on everyone’s face when you make birthdays a little brighter.

We’d love to hear what your office does to celebrate birthdays or a special story of how your work family has surprised you in the comments below!