How to Win at Birthdays (and other occasions too!)

All year long, important dates pepper our lives. Some celebrations are a surprise, such as an engagement or a new baby.  Others, come on the same day each year. But that doesn't mean they don't still sneak up on us sometimes!

How many times have you caught yourself running to the store for a card on your way to a graduation?

Ever paid extra to rush deliver your mother's day flowers? What about the time you raided your "re-gift" stash to find the perfect birthday present?

We need to stop this madness.

It's inefficient, expensive, and stressful. There IS a better way. 

Mission 1:  Escape Hallmark Hell.

Let's tackle the cards. It does not make sense to run out and buy a new card every time an occasion pops up. It's a waste of your valuable time to drive to the store 45 different times each year to buy 1 card at a time.

It also causes unnecessary pressure to find the PERFECT CARD in TEN MINUTES because you are LATE

Stop the insanity. 


Buy all your greeting cards for the entire year at once.

You may be thinking, "that's ridiculous!" or "how can I choose the right card message for a birthday that's 6 months away?"

Stay with me. 

You're going to buy BLANK birthday cards. Tally the number of birthdays you have for the year and divide them into male and female. Then buy the appropriate number of cards for each group. 

how to win at birthdays

Blank is the perfect solution because then you can write a personal greeting in every card. The penned message will always be a perfect fit for your recipient!

It gets better. You don't even have to go to the store!!! Buy your cards online. If you're not sure who to buy from, start here:

For feminine birthday cards, I highly recommend PAPAYA ART. For masculine birthday cards (and cards for kids), check out LAGOM DESIGN

Once you have your birthday cards in your cart, don't check out! You're not done yet. It's time to go back and grab cards for the rest of your yearly occasions. :)

Have any anniversaries on the calendar? Pick up the cards now! Is someone graduating this year? Know any children celebrating religious milestones? Do you need cards from the tooth fairy? Do you send valentines? Get all those cards too!

What about preparing for the unexpected? I try to keep each of the following card types in my card file: 

  • Engagement
  • Condolence
  • Congratulations
  • Wedding
  • Thinking of You
  • Get Well
  • New Baby

5 each is a good number to keep on hand. This is also a great time to replenish your stock of thank you notes and personal stationary.

When you have purchased all the cards you will EVER need for the year, it's time to figure out a storage solution. I use an inexpensive office box (mine is from Ikea) with paper dividers I made to separate the different types of cards. 

Next, find your card box a home somewhere in your office. And don't forget to give the humans in your house a tour of the new card file system!

On a personal note, my husband loves this card box as much as I do. He knows we've got cards covered and he can always find one when he needs it. #winning

Mission 2: Break the cycle of last minute rushing around.

It can be really frustrating to have extra things thrown at your already heavy to do lists each day. And you shouldn't have to sprint through choosing a thoughtful gift or filling in cards. Schedule time each month to care for these items properly.


Manage all Occasions 1 Month Ahead

Buy gifts, wrap them, fill out cards, place your order for flowers, make dinner reservations... Everything you need to do for every occasion gets done the month before.

The only thing you should be doing in the current month is confirming any reservations you made. 

To make this work, I keep a list of occasions for the current month and next month on a page in my planner. The lists include check boxes for everything that needs to be done for each important date (i.e. drop gift in the mail). 

Once a month, I complete and check off every task on the monthly occasion list.

It's that easy. So, are you ready to get all the special moments life brings you under control? I created a game plan worksheet in The Library.

It takes some time to collect dates and format them into monthly sheets. But you only have to do it once. When it's finished, you are set for life (save for a yearly review). You'll never forget an occasion or go through the stress of a last minute scramble for a gift or card again. 

This has the added bonus of making you appear super thoughtful and organized to your loved ones. Especially when you ask someone 6 weeks before their birthday if they have a gift list!

Have you tamed the birthday monster? Share your success on our Facebook Page!

xo Katie