I am not a birthday person.  At all.  I have been that way since I was a teenager.  I vividly remember my parents throwing me a surprise 16th birthday party and I distinctly recall being completely irritated by it. I was ungrateful.  I just don't like celebrating my birthday.  To me, it's just another day.  I turn 50 later this year and Kevin asked me if I wanted a party.  It took me about a second and a half to say, "Uh, no."

I do have some friends, however, who turn their birthday into birthDAYS!  Angel, for instance, starts talking about her birthday, which is February 27th, about a month out.  Seriously.  When Feb 1st hits, you better prepare your brain for the barrage of gift reminders coming your way. My friends Jennifer Vogle and Valerie Simmons up the ante even more.  These two ladies are an absolute scream.

Maria Clark Photography
Maria Clark Photography

We'll start with Jennifer, because we have officially entered her birth month. In fact, on Wednesday, September 1st, she let all of her friends know that Jentember was underway.  Yes.  For Jennifer, September isn't "September" at all.  It's JENTEMBER- a month-long celebration and Jen set the stage by sharing this-

It's officially Jentember. Small gifts and offerings are appropriate for the first two weeks!

If you're curious about the origins of Jentember, it was founded years ago when Jen lived in Tennessee.  Her coworkers would tell their boss, "We need a long lunch.  It's Jen's birthday."  That single day then turned into a week and various friends would spend it taking Jen to lunch and those lunch hours lasted MUCH longer than they were supposed to.  Jen says the birthday week quickly snowballed into an entire birthday month.  That month is now known, far and wide, as Jentember.  She says, "I now have a whole month where I am the chosen one."  LOL!

Here's how it works essentially.  While gifts are certainly appreciated, they're not necessarily the focus of Jentember.  But Jen is.  She gets to pick what exercises she and her workout friends do.  Her family gives her the honor of picking the movie they watch or what they're having for dinner.  And while small gifts and tokens are accepted for the first two weeks of the month, they need to step up their game the third week.  Jen's birthday is September 22nd and, by the point in the month, she expects large offerings.

This Jentember got off to a delicious start earlier this week at Jen's book club.  A fellow member treated her to a glass of wine.  As Jennifer says, "The first person to make an offering is bestowed the blessing of Jentember."

As someone who doesn't care, at all, about his own birthdays, I find this absolutely hilarious.  And while Jentember is relatively new to me, the concept of an extended birthday celebration is not.

This morning, Jen joined Angel and me on the show to chat about Jentember's origins and its rich tradition of celebration.

My longtime friend, Valerie Dant Simmons, has celebrated her own birthday in a monumental manner for years.  While Jennifer Vogel celebrates Jentember in September, Valerie celebrates Valukkah in April.

Valerie Simmons/Facebook
Valerie Simmons/Facebook

Valukkah is clearly patterned after the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.  Valukkah was founded by our mutual friend, Bill Eidson, who decided that Valerie needs seven to eight consecutive days of celebration as opposed to just one.  Valukkah begins a full week before April 5th.  There are gifts, nightly dinners and daily celebrations of all things Valerie.  I have been a part of several Valukkah events and I must say- it's a helluva fun celebration!

Valerie joined us today to share the origins of her birthday celebration.

So, what about you?  Have you come up with a way to extend your birthday celebrations?


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