Your birthday is your personal holiday. It can be as low key or as extravagant as you can handle. I know a lot of people follow a cookie cutter formula for their birthday. They contact a promoter, buy bottle service, invite their friends, and get really drunk. They can’t remember the party the next day, but they are sure they had a good time based on the pictures of them posted on myspace.
I’ve made my birthday into an extended festival with its own traditions, history and concepts. While most people are either amused or confused by my practices, a few people have adopted this way of life for their own birthday.
In an effort to assist everyone in developing their own personal holiday, I’ve outline the steps you can take to enhance your birthday.
1) Make it more than a day. You were born on one certain day during the year. That doesn’t mean that your celebration can only be on one day during the year. It can be very stressful to have just one birthday party. If some people can’t make it or the weather is bad or you get sick, the whole thing is a wash. If you celebrate for a week, then it gives the people who care about you the chance to take you to lunch, dinner, drinks, dancing and/ or the birthday party. I actually celebrate by birthday for a month, partially because I’m unreasonably vain and partially because it makes scheduling much easier. I don’t think anyone can milk the birthday thing for more than a month, but if you can pull it off, go for it.
2) Don’t delegate. Some people let their friends, significant others or complete strangers set up their birthday. While these people might have valid opinions or access to venues and services that you don’t have, they should be contacted for support, not for the overall management of the event. You know what you like that year. You know who you want to invite. You know what type of place you like. If you delegate this party to someone else, you run the risk of disappointment or no party at all. Better to handle you own affairs here.
3) Go with what you know. It is always a good idea to venture outside your comfort zone and visit some new places now and then. But for your personal holiday it might be better to go with a place you are already comfortable with. You’ll have a better handle on what they offer, what kind of music will be playing and how hard it is for you and your people to get in. You might even already know the staff and the management which will make running your party much smoother. A new place offers excitement but it also includes a significant amount of confusion.
4) Bring people together and keep them apart. If you’re like me, you know a lot of different people and a lot of different types of people. Use your holiday to bring people together that wouldn’t otherwise see each other or people who you think would be cool with each other. Make it a point of introducing all the musicians, models and drunks that you know to each other. They’ll start talking and entertain themselves. But keep in mind that all these people might like you they might not like each other. It might make sense not to bring together people who might kill each other. This is another reason why multiple celebrations are a good idea.
5) You don’t have to buy a bottle. Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to purchase bottle service to have a birthday party. I’ve reserved whole floors of lounges for my parties in the past, and I’ve set up parties for other people with guest lists of 30 or more and bottle service has never been part of the deal. While it is often easier to get into a club if you buy a bottle and you might feel special in the VIP section, I’ve seen more than one birthday devolve into accusation of stealing, forgery and deception brought about by bottle service. The concept is simple; if you can afford it without worrying about it, go for it. If you can’t…don’t.
6) Rethink the drunken tradition. When you have a birthday at a bar or club, everyone who comes to your party will want to buy you a drink to celebrate. This is very generous, but if left unchecked this can spiral into shots of questionable quality and end with you waking up in a strange place covered in honey and feathers. Your personal holiday is a chance to entertain all your people and possibly meet some new people in the process. It’s harder to socialize when you’re passed out.