I’ve found that most people like to celebrate their birthday and have a fuss made over them, but that’s not true of everyone. So what do you do for the coworker who hates her birthday and wants it to remain quiet and fuss-less?
You don’t do anything. In fact, to ensure that nothing was done I emailed my team with the game plan:
“It’s Anna’s birthday tomorrow, but she hates her birthday, so don’t even say ‘Happy birthday’. Just act like we don’t know or don’t care. Then in a few weeks, when she least expects it, we’ll have an unbirthday party for her.”
And so we did. We let her think we were ignoring her birthday a couple of months ago when in fact we were lying in wait, letting her feel perfectly ignored when we really had big plans to pounce on one of her 364 unbirthdays.
Lucky for me this was Anna and not Christine or Dave, because an “Anna in Wonderland” unbirthday party has a much better ring to it than, say, “Brian in Wonderland”. With the “Alice in Wonderland” tea party theme already well defined, it was just a matter of Googling some fun decorating ideas and then baking up a storm.
I kept a lookout for old tea cups and saucers at garage sales and thrift shops in the weeks before the unbirthday, but for once I came up empty. I did have a good tea pot of my own though, so that went on the table along with my more dainty plates for serving.
Have a pack of cards? Pull out those hearts. They’ll look great in a tea pot, stuck in a vase of flowers or just spread around the table.
This was the only Disneyfied version of Wonderland I had, as I wanted to stick more to the original Louis Carroll style for my other decorations, including the quotes and images I put up.
I got two boxes of make your own banners from Think Geek a while back and finally got a chance to use them. (Doesn’t look like they sell them anymore though. Sorry.) They made nice, colorful signs, not at all difficult to put together, and add a nice bit of personalization to the occasion.
Now you just need some food, right? It’s a tea party, so I thought about doing finger sandwiches, but people in my office have a strong sweet tooth. I’d like to do sandwiches another time though. Maybe for a Downton Abbey season premiere party? Hmmm.
Instead I went with shortbread, scones with honey (from a package mix someone gave me), orange cupcakes (box mix), and finally… lemon macarons.
The macarons were far and away the star of the day. It was only my second time making them but they turned out really well and people raved about them, even asking if I could maybe make them all the time. For every occasion. Every week. Forever.
For the orange cupcakes, I was going to design my own cupcake toppers with pictures and quotes, but sometimes it’s easier to buy these things. I found some really cool ones on etsy for just $2.50, and they have an instant download feature now, so even if you’re doing something last minute you can take advantage of them.
My favorite part of the day was seeing Anna walking around with a huge smile on her face. It wasn’t her birthday, so she could enjoy the party without all the birthday pressure, and she got to see how much affection we all have for her.
Click for full-sized images you can download: