The History of Giving Birthday Presents to Kids

Most parents in western countries celebrate their children’s birthdays by giving gifts, however, birthdays weren’t always celebrated in this way. In this blog post, we take a look at the tradition of giving gifts to celebrate birthdays, how it started, and how it differs in other nations.

Who Started the Tradition of Giving Gifts?

The act of giving gifts goes as far back as the time of cavemen, perhaps even right to the origin of our species. Of course, gifts at this time weren’t the kind of goods we’d like to receive nowadays! Cave people typically gave items from nature, such as animal teeth, perhaps with a hole in to be worn as a necklace.

Over the years, the types of gifts given has changed. Coins and herds of livestock were given as gifts in later years. Nowadays, gifts can be just about anything. For adults, it’s common to receive a household gift such as a candle, flowers or a favorite food item. Teenagers can be difficult to buy for – gifts can range from anything from gadgets and tech to make up or clothes. Great present for boys and girls on their birthday can be anything that suits them. Most commonly given gifts for children are toys and games, although clothes, chocolate and candies and things for their room.

Other Historical Birthday Traditions

In ancient Greek times, gifts were given to those celebrating their birthday as a way to get rid of evil spirits. They also used noisemakers to help scare away the bad spirits – perhaps this is where the use of party poppers to celebrate birthdays came from. In Roman times, gifts were only given to men on their birthday. Women started celebrating their birthday sometime around the 12th century.

Adding candles to a birthday cake is something else we can thank the ancient Greeks for – they started this tradition as a way to honor their gods and goddesses, however, birthday cake as we know it today was developed by Germans towards the end of the 18th century. This was the same time when ‘Kinderfeste’ first started taking place – the 18th century equivalent of a child’s birthday party.

Which Countries don’t Celebrate Birthdays?

Not all cultures celebrate their birthdays the same way. Some people, because of religious beliefs do not celebrate birthdays. Some cultures do celebrate, but with different traditions. In Russia for example, you might be given a personalized pie instead of a cake. Some cultures don’t recognize official birthdays, with many people worldwide not knowing which date or even which year they were born in.

The Future of Birthday Celebrations

Birthday customs and traditions are always changing and adapting, with many popular American customs spreading to other countries. For example, many British parents now choose to do a ‘cake smash’ with their child for their first birthday, a trend which was virtually unheard of just a couple of years ago. One thing’s for sure – birthday celebrations are set to get bigger and better as time goes on.

5 very simple tips for getting the kiddos to school on time

Getting to school on time and consistently on time can be a constant struggle for some families.  Running around the house, searching for lost articles of clothing and trying to mix something up real quick for breakfast and lunch can turn into absolute mayhem.  So, how can we all prepare for a more relaxing morning while also preparing for school?  Here are some very simple tips that can help alleviate a stressful morning so we can get our children off to school…on time!

Be prepared

Prepare for the expected!  Sometimes unexpected situations happen that are out of our reach, which is ok.  However, we can prepare for what’s expected to happen that day, right?  Do what you can the night before.  Have in mind what you might want to do for breakfast and lunch.  Make sure clothes are picked out and ready to go.  Also, try to wake up before the kids do to give you some extra time to prepare for… well whatever.  Is the car filled with gas?  Do you have everything you need to make lunch?  What’s the weather prediction for the day? Be prepared!

Get organized

Organization is an important characteristic to have in everyday life, especially when trying to get the family ready for their day.  School items and any other items that will be needed for the day should have a designated area somewhere throughout the home to promote easy access to necessary items.  Having backpacks packed and ready the night before, clothes laid out the night before, and everything needed to make a solid breakfast and lunch will only make the morning less stressful for everybody! So first, prepare, then organize!

Get into a routine

A consistent schedule should be set for weekday nights and mornings.  Try to have a set bedtime and a set time to wake-up, for everybody in the family!  This will help designate an everyday routine for everyone.  Will you pack lunches that night or in the morning before the kids wake?  It’s up to us to set our routines, so do what works best for you and your family!  Prepare, organize, and get into a routine!

Set up an environment for success

Incorporate specific items in the home that might improve on-time behavior.  For example, the addition of more clocks throughout the home could possibly help with school tardiness.  Also, being prepared, getting organized, and setting a routine will help improve an environment for success!

Reinforce on-time behavior

Reinforce behaviors you expect from your children that will promote on-time behavior.  For instance, if the family makes it to school on time for a week, maybe cook a special breakfast one morning for everybody.  Or, just letting children know they are doing a “great job” sometimes helps!  Again, do what works best for you and your family, but try to reinforce positive on-time behavior in some form or fashion!   


So to wrap up, this is really about planning and preparation, which we are all capable of doing, right?  Don’t forget to discover a schedule that will establish a consistent routine.  Last, remember to set up an environment for success and reward behaviors you wish to see.  These 5 tips should help us improve our mornings, which hopefully moving forward, should improve the rest of our day!   


J.B Hewell M.Ed, BCBA