I'm so excited this is my first WFMW...so easy and so fun.
The best birthday tradition in my life was when I was little, and my father would come pick me up from school on my birthday to take me out to lunch. Talk about having your cake and eating it too...first going to school and celebrating there (this was the era where cupcakes were expected!), and then leaving before everyone else...somehow that was even better than just skipping school entirely, that getting to go home early without being sick! When I was little, he'd take me to theme restaurants...one year it was the fancy place at the airport (yeah, that dates me) so I could watch the planes take off and land, another year it was the Longhorn Ranch, a cowboy themed place in our area...later, he took me to real, white-tablecloth places and let me order whatever I wanted, and when Mom went back to work, we'd work in a visit to her classroom as well. One of my most memorable: on my 16th birthday, he took me to get my braces off!
I can't wait to share this tradition with my boys (at least the one with an October birthday!). Going to lunch on my birthday with my dad, just the two of us, worked for me!
Bonus idea I'm totally stealing for my boys this fall: our local firehouse hosts birthday parties. They pull out the trucks, take the kids (and parents!) for a ride, and set up tables in the garage bay. They have tons more space than I do and I can't wait to host their party there--order pizza from the place down the street, bring my own cake and decorations...and I'd much rather give the money to the fire company than one of the other "kid party" places!