The You Are Special Plate: A Family Birthday Tradition


Since I was a kid, this plate has been very special to me and my siblings. It’s the red plate that we only got to use on our birthdays. We all called it the You Are Special plate.

Every year on our birthdays, we knew two things: that we would be able to go into the hands-off china cabinet to carefully remove the You Are Special plate and that we would be able to choose whatever we wanted to have for dinner.

I remember running to the hutch and opening the door. You had to pull on it gently but also pretty hard, and when it opened you would hear a small pop and tinkling of glass as everything in the cabinet shifted. It smelled of polished wood. And leaning against the back of the cabinet on the lowest shelf was the You Are Special plate.

What would we pick for dinner? It seems that my siblings and I are creatures of habit and always seemed to pick the same meal every year. I always picked corned beef and cabbage, which probably made my mom very happy because she just had to throw it in the crock pot!

I always worried I would drop the plate and break it. But none of the five of us ever did. That You Are Special plate is now in my china cabinet.

This year, I carefully pulled the plate out and explained the You Are Special plate tradition to Ethan. I told him that me and his aunts and uncles ate our birthday dinners off of it every year when we were little (and as we got bigger too!). I asked him what he wanted for dinner, but he said he wanted a special breakfast instead. So I made him these Cake Batter Pancakes that I found on (where else?) Pinterest. He was so excited to eat of the very special You Are Special plate!

My only problem is what am I going to do on the twins’ birthday? I guess I could let them both pick a separate meal. I found the You Are Special plate on…maybe I should buy a second plate.

Do you have any special birthday traditions in your family?


  1. What a great idea and yes, I think you need two plates! Brittany recently posted..Happy Trails: The Land of Waterfalls in Brevard, NCMy Profile
  2. Maribel Reyes says:
    What a lovely tradition! We usually eat the birthday boy or girl's favorite meal too, but no special plate. We also take them to shop for one special item they've been wanting. They are treated like royalty and don't have to do their chores on that day. It is a little tiring for mom and dad but seeing the kids' eyes light up in joy makes it all worth it. I think I will check out this plate to see if we will get it and have my parents bring it to us :D it would be so much fun :D and special memory for sure. Oh one other thing we do is that I have a special notebook/journal in which they get to doodle, write or draw one page per special moment {first day of school, birthday, mother's day} this is my memory keepsake of them.
  3. I love the You Are Special Plate - such a lovely tradition. We also have the birthday person choose their favourite meal - the boys are starting to look forward to it and talk about what they will choose when the day comes. :) Kim@Co-Pilot Mom recently posted..15 ReasonsMy Profile
  4. We didn't have any traditions like that, and now I'm kind of sad. That is really sweet. Jennifer recently posted..Back To School Command CenterMy Profile
  5. We had this plate too! We called it "the red plate." I'm looking to find the same one for my kids so that they can have the same tradition that you and I had!! I think I saw a hallmark selling it, I have to look again...
  6. Never mind, just saw your link for Amazon :)
  7. We had this same plate and used it every birthday. It was broken during a move :(. My daughter will celebrate her first birthday soon so I ordered it off of amazon to start our new tradition :). Such great memories!