fun good things

Celebrate Birthdays Spontaniously

I carry birthday candles in my purse.

They are $2 for a small pack of ultra-skinny ones at One Girl Cookies in Brooklyn, and I picked them up to have on hand at home but forgot to take them out, so they lived in my purse for months, and one day it was someone’s birthday in a restaurant, so I dug one out and stuck it in their food. Because they’re so tiny, they can be jammed in just about anything – more than once they’ve been stuck in the lime of a tequila shot – and since birthdays are right up there with puppies and sex as my favorite things ever, they stayed in my purse for spontaneous, low-key celebrations anywhere. (I’ve since taken to tucking them into a credit card slot in my wallet, actually, so they don’t get broken.)

A few nights ago in a group of people I’d just met, someone mentioned, and then immediately shrugged off, that it was his birthday. We were in a bar, and I heard from his buddies he was going through a rough breakup, and he was a complete stranger, so I felt kind of silly, but I dug out a candle anyway, held it out lit, and said, “Hey, I hope you don’t mind…”

The guy next to him got the bright idea to tuck it into the tab of his friend’s beer can, and we all sang Happy Birthday to this guy who was completely touched and happy. Phew!

If you want to buy your own ultra skinny birthday candles, Bake It Pretty has a lot of them.


  1. Sarahmia

    7 November 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I LOVE this idea. It makes me want to come to Brooklyn on my birthday just so I can find you and hope for a sneak candle 🙂

  2. Cindy

    8 November 2013 at 10:58 am

    You know, the first thing I ever noticed about you was the way you encouraged and supported those around you. Even strangers. You are the world’s cheerleader. I want you to know that it doesn’t go unnoticed. The birthday candle thing is just bonus. You are awesome.

  3. Daffodil Campbell

    8 November 2013 at 12:41 pm

    This is the perfect illustration of why you are my favorite. (Sh. Don’t tell the kids.)

  4. agirlandaboy

    24 November 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Um, this is amazing. Putting candles in my purse RIGHT NOW.

    (We were out to dinner with a friend last night and realized we hadn’t celebrated her birthday over the summer, so my husband had the wait staff come out and sing her Happy Birthday and give her a tiny creme brulee, and MAN, if I’d had a candle, it would have been the best.)

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