Birthday Celebrations

Just curious what others do for birthdays at work.  My comany employs 450, but in my building there are 17 employees.  I have recently started in this comany and what they have done for past years is...each person gets a party (where the 17 staff gather, sing happy birthday) with cake and small gift from each employee.  Curious as to how others celebrate birthday or elected not to celebrate birthdays in the workplace?


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  • managers organize the b-day celebrations at our company.  nothing too extravagant ... there is usually some food and cake.
  • Our agency employs 100, 15 in my department.  We usually have a pot-luck, no gifts. 
  • We have 35 employees.  I send out an email on the morning of the person's birthday just saying Happy Birthday.  I have everyone sign a office appropriate birthday card.  I also get some sort of treat.  I try to do different things (i.e. cake, ice cream cake, ice cream sundaes, pastries, cupcakes, banana splits, ice cream floats) so that we are not always having the same thing. 
  • We have 21 employees here and our office manager sends around a birthday card that we all sign and present the birthday guy/girl with on their special day.


  • We celebrate birthday's once a month by bringing in lunch for everyone and have a treat of some kind.  That way no one gets missed.  No gifts or cards are exchanged. 
  • We only have 155 employees, and we don't build this into our budget.  Team members get together for decorations, cards, cakes, etc. and split the cost themselves.
  • We have a very small office - our birthday celebrations consist of everyone signing a card, and then we order in lunch from the birthday person's choice of restaurant.  Since we're so small, the company pays for lunch.
  • At our Corporate office, we have a monthly ice cream social.  Two or three people bring in their ice cream makers and make homemade ice cream.  At around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, we gather to have ice cream and celebrate the people with birthdays that month.  No gifts are exchanged at this social.  Gifts and cards are personal between the employees.  There are approx. 60 employees at Corporate.

     At my divisional office, we only have 8 people in the office.  Usually, we put up a sign on the persons cubie announcing their birthday - someone usually brings cake or cookies.  Often, we will all go out to lunch together - the others buy the birthday persons lunch.

  • Your company is rather elaborate having each person buy a gift. I would think that might get cumbersome, and expensive, for people after a while. At our company we have a monthly party with bagels or pizza to celebrate all birthdays in the company that month. Then each team can do more for their teammates if they wish to.
  • We used to list the employees' birthdays in our monthly newsletter - until someone complained about that as being data used in identity theft.  Though we never included the year enough people know each others' ages that it could be deduced. Now we simply list everyone in their month and that seems to satisfy everyone. We acknowledge the month's birthdays at our regular monthly meeting (where we have snacks and drinks).
  • Once a month we purchase a b-day cake with the name of each employee whose b-day falls in that month. No gifts are exchanged and cards/gifts are left up to individals to purchase if they wish. This way no one feels obligated financially or becomes embarrassed if unable to participate. 

  • I think these group/monthly celebrations are fine, especially if money is an issue. But I believe that, assuming your department/company can afford it--or if you as a supervisor or manager can afford it if it comes out of your pocket--that some type of individualized celebration/recognition is ideal.

    In our company, we have some supervisors who take it upon themselves to bring in a few different types of food for the person having the birthday. It is totally on their initiative--there is no policy or company norm for this and there is no budget for such celebrations. It's just that these supervisors want to do something nice and show the employee that they appreciate them.  And oftentimes co-workers gladly assist the supervisor by offering to bring in a snack or beverage to add to the "spread", lessening the financial burden on the supervisor who otherwise spends his/her own money.

    I think so long as these things don't get too elaborate/pricey, it is a gesture that is definitely worth making--people are going to feel more appreciated if they're recognized on an individual vs. group basis. With rare exceptions, I think the vast majority of employees are going to feel better about their employer if their birthday is somehow recognized. To me, a company- or department-wide monthly celebration doesn't have the same positive impact or personal touch.

  • Our company gives the employee a small gift certificate to a local restaurant. ($10) We give it directly to the employee without the involvement of other employees.  This way the employee knows that management was thinking about them without making a big deal of it. (And we all know that some employees just don't want a big deal made about their birthday.)
  • [G]We have around 85 employees so we celebrate 1 time per month...everyone gets a birthday card that we pass around the plant for everyone to sign if they want.  Then we also order in donuts and rolls for 1st break, lastly we give a 45mn lunch instead of the usual 1/2 hour.  People really appreciate the long lunch 1 time /month.
  • [G]We have around 85 employees so we celebrate 1 time per month...everyone gets a birthday card that we pass around the plant for everyone to sign if they want.  Then we also order in donuts and rolls for 1st break, lastly we give a 45mn lunch instead of the usual 1/2 hour.  People really appreciate the long lunch 1 time /month.
  • We have over 550 nationwide.  No "national" celebration.

    We have about 150 here in my building locally.  We have a monthly full sheet birthday cake once per month (ice cream cake in the three summer months).

    In my dept we have 9.  Our dept goes to lunch during a birthday month (if 2 birthdays are close we combine).  I buy lunch for the staff member having a bday, everyone else buys their own lunch.  And we set up a birthday "list" where you are responsible for the person who has a birthday after you - you buy the birthday card and get everyone in the dept to sign it, get a few balloons, and decorate the cube from our dept's birthday decoration stash. 

    This year we have a new staff member join us who is a Jehovah's Witness.  To ensure we included her we don't have a "birthday" lunch.  We have a "Celebration lunch" - so it's a "Celebration for Suzy!" luncheon. 

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