help us spice things up!

We celebrate our employees' birthdays with the typical birthday cake and a card that gets passed around the company, for everyone to include their warm wishes. After the lunch hour, everyone gathers in the kitchen and waits for the birthday person to arrive.

We then yell surprise, sing happy birthday and proceed to the cake cutting. We've done this for everyone in our company and it's started to become a bit monotonous. (Not to mention is no longer a surprise, and it’s pretty much expected).

I was wondering if you have any ideas to share in how we can continue this tradition, while we add some spice to our employees’ birthday celebrations.


  • 17 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Do the same thing, but shoot 'em with Silly String when you yell surprise, and give the birthday girl a tiara or give the birthday boy a crown to wear for the day.
  • I'll be watching this thread with interest, because our birthday celebrations are about the same as yours but we stopped yelling "Surprise" ages ago. Hope someone out there has some creative insights.
  • Ice a cereal box as if it were a sheet cake and then watch them struggle to cut the cake.

    In the alternative, do breakfast with doughnuts and muffins so the surprise comes when they're not expecting it.

    Margaret Morford
  • This ties in so well with the thread about 'office pranks' and the things I miss so much from my early career days. When I turned 40, I got the standard office birthday cake, just like everybody else did on their dull, boring office birthday. And there was the tradional card with well wishes and maybe one little box to open from a coworker. BUT! 40 was special! I got asked to cut and serve the cake. What a special moment for me! When I cut into the cake, after several clumsy attempts, and tried to slice it perfectly and place it on the paper plates, I began to hear the chuckles and sensed I was the donkey. The cake, beautiful from the outside, contained two dozen boiled eggs! It was then that I remembered what I had done to one of the ladies in the office several months back. She had shopped for a few groceries at noon and put them in the breakroom fridge. While nobody was in the breakroom, I boiled her two-dozen eggs on the stove's eye and slipped them back into the cartons and placed them back in her sack in the fridge. She never mentioned it. But, she is the one who made my 40th birthday cake! The black crepe paper over my door complete with black wreath, the Lordy Lordy sign, the taped funeral dirge....all paled in comparison to my cake.
  • Back in the early 90's when I was on 2nd shift, my supervisor planned a "special" birthday surprise for me. He hired a stripper to come in and perform. She was a real stripper from one of the local gentleman's clubs - his favorite hangouts. Well, I couldn't/wouldn't stick around for the show, so he sat in for me. He ended up getting a written reprimand for it, too.
  • >Back in the early 90's when I was on 2nd shift, my supervisor planned
    >a "special" birthday surprise for me. He hired a stripper to come in
    >and perform. She was a real stripper from one of the local
    >gentleman's clubs - his favorite hangouts. Well, I couldn't/wouldn't
    >stick around for the show, so he sat in for me. He ended up getting a
    >written reprimand for it, too.

    This is along the same lines. One of our offices (full of women!) had a birthday party for another girl in the office and they had a cake in the shape of a penis! Of course, I got a call from one of the more "proper ladies" that she was highly offended, so I had to go counsel the office at their lack of decorum. (Hey...I thought it was a cake in the shape of Florida!)

  • I can top that one.

    One of our female staff members was about to go on FMLA leave for a surgical procedure. Her department co-worker (male, 25 yrs. old, kind of religious)had his MOTHER help him bake a "uterus" cake with the unforgetable (and regretable)phrase "Gone - but not forgotten" in red icing across the cake.

    The staff member loved it! She's the one who showed the pictures all over the place - before I ever got wind of it.

    Anne in Ohio
  • My co-workers have gone all out on the birthday cakes. For the last two years they have given me a theme cake. I love Jimmy Buffett,so last year (never mind what birth year it was) they game me a cake with Buffett stuff on it that I could reuse (some I could). For instance, there was a flip flop key ring, Parrot corn cob holders, a flamingo plastic figurine, a pop top, palm tree and umbrella drink thingies. This year I got a giant margarita cake. They took one of the giant margarita glasses and put a cake in it. Used coconut as the salt around the rim...whipped up the icing to look like was awesome.

    I can't wait to see what they do next year!
  • You are doing this backward. Our employees bring in treats on their birthday, we don't supply them. This way, we get a variety of things.
  • Oh how I wish we had fewer employees! If we gave everyone a cake for their b-day, we would be having cake at least 10 times a month, so once a month we have a b-day cake at break time to celebrate all the b-days that month. Last month we did an ice-cream cake which everyone loved. We do give each employee a b-day card on their b-day, but it would be fun to do more.
  • With so many employees, we leave it to the departments to handle. In HR we do, cake, pie, cheesecake...whatever the birthday person wants. It is not a surprise. For the special bds we'll hang balloons, black stuff everywhere, and generally harass the person for being old.

    When I turned 40, the HR staff covered my desk in black and sprinkled little metallic 40s everywhere. I was picking them up forever, finding them in odd places, dumping them out of my keyboard. A few days later I was standing in the doorway of another's office when I smelled something burning. I looked over at my desk and my monitor had little flames shooting out of the top. You got it...metallic 40s strike again!
  • I am so jealous of all of you! When I started here last year, I wanted to implement posting the birthdays on the bulletin board. Happy Birthday so-and-so!

    The owners frowned on this and said birthdays are private information and people may not want that information out. What the HECK is that? They said they felt the employee would be harassed too much about "having to buy beer on their birthday".

    For each birthday, I e-mail the supervisor so they can at least say Happy Birthday to the employee. I also make sure I track down the birthday boy or birthday girl and tell them happy birthday. They seem to love it.

    Do you think my "owners" are overly paranoid about something? If any of you remember my previous posts, these are the same owners that hang out at the bars with most of the employees. It's a majorly casual environment around here.
  • We have about 200 employees here and our COO holds a monthly birthday luncheon. Everyone who has a birthday in June lets say, would be invited to a local restaurant. We are a Credit Union and have 9 different branches. It helps everyone get to know one another......... we also get our birthday off with pay, plus our birthday is announced in the employee newsletter. The President and the COO also send each one of us a card interoffice for our birthday. Special birthdays are handled within each department or branch.

    We have the same version of a new hire breakfast. Anyone hired in the previous month gets to go to breakfast with the COO. At that time, he is able to fill everyone in on the history of the C.U. A great time!
  • I know what you mean--our computer system used to be set up so that, when you logged on, that day's birthdays came on the screen. We had to stop, since some of our employees didn't want others knowing when their birthday is. As it is now, each department handles birthdays on their own, although "milestone" birthdays get "special" treatment x;-)
  • We do the normal birthday cake and song. But on special birthdays we do something special and usually embarassing. One guy, who's wife works here, we had a belly dancer come in and dance for him. The wife knew about it and brought in a video camera to tape the event and utilize for a future date.

    We are just so happy to be able to give a gift that just keeps on giving.
  • We completely shrunk wrapped everything on the managers (turning 40) desk, i.e. phone, computer, etc. and then shrunk wrapped the entire desk... we then filled his office with black balloons. When he came back from lunch we waited until he waded into his office and then called his phone extension. When he came back out a little flustered we yelled suprise and presented a big black cake ;-)
  • We do Birthday PRANKS for milestone birthdays! x}>

    The owner of our company just celebrated his 80th B-day and we rounded up a picture of him that was taken 20 years ago and had it made into a poster size....put a funny saying on it and put it on his office door. We also had yard signs made with a picture of him when he joined the Navy (60 years ago?) and stuck them at the end of his road, on the interstate entrance, at the office, etc. Then we decorated his car (of course it was locked) with Austin Power stuff like tie die bandanas, shaggadelic flowers and fur. Also had 80 candles on the cake!!!

    One year we made a sponge cake...with actual sponges!! Wait to see the B-day boy or girl cut that!

    I think PRANK PARTIES are the way to go. As long as the person can take a joke and is a good sport no matter what the prank is. And we always make sure not to ruin the vehicle or physically hurt someone.
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