We like to think that birthdays are special occasions, but some are more important than others. These are the milestone birthdays, or as we call them ‘over the hill’ birthdays. They arrive when it’s time for the human body odometer to turn over to the next decade.
Now there are two possible ways to approach milestone birthdays, kindly or humorously. If you go for the humorous approach, you must of course make sure that your guest of honor has a sense of humor! The purpose of such a party is, of course, to make your friend or spouse feel loved and cherished. You want to cheer him or her up and highlight the positive sides of aging – for instance, by inviting all the friends he or she has gathered over the course of years. But if your friend etc. has no sense of humor, don’t throw old age jokes at him or her. Be cautious and make sure the other guest don’t laugh at the birthday boy’s or girl’s expense!
The first milestone birthday comes at 30, when you are still feeling much younger than you are. Perhaps you’re married now, have children and/or bought your first house or flat. This is the time your friends feel it could be funny to organize an ‘over the hill’ party for you (30 being hardly over the hill).
The one who organizes the party can ask the guests to bring small presents that will tease the guest of honor. Some examples: laxatives, reading glasses, hair dye, adult diapers, … figure it out? Decorations might have black balloons or streamers. The food can include something soft, like baby food for the poor, toothless, geriatric friend!
A variety on this is a mock funeral party… Remember to check first if your guest of honor has enough humor to appreciate this! Ask your guests to come in black clothing (or other colors for mourning). Some of them can read an eulogy. Decorate your table with lilies and have organ music. Bake a cake in the form of a tombstone with RIP in white frosting, …
Now, if your friend or spouse is too old, or not funny enough, to appreciate an ‘over the hill’ party, best go for the kind approach. Now it’s better to design the party around activities or a theme that the guest of honor enjoys. Like for instance, gardening. Here you could suggest that the guest bring little things to help with the garden, such as seed packets or fertilizer spikes. Ask them to dress as gardeners and wear straw hats. Create a cake with a real or fake flowers on top of it. Serve snacks in clay pots (best cover the hole in the bottom with some foil).
Or you could go for a ‘This is your life’ party. Make a pictorial timeline of the birthday child’s life as part of the décor. Invite friends from his or her past, and ask them to bring along their best or funniest memories of the guest of honor.