In the days before cell phone contact lists I used a little book for important phone numbers. One of those numbers was the flower shop in Renfrew, Ontario where my parents-in-law lived. I came from a family that was sloppy about birthdays. Cards were sent when remembered….I was more likely to get one than my husband because my birthday followed his. By the time they realized they had forgotten his, it would be time to send mine. So my card often did double duty with the inclusion of a note, “Sorry John we forgot your birthday!” But that wouldn’t do for John’s parents. Hence the need for the flower shop’s phone number. If we were too late to mail a card Mom Eisen received flowers that year and we remained in her good graces.
Dutch Canadian bathrooms contain one more fixture than in other Canadian homes. The verjaardagskalendar or birthday calendar is prominently on display in Dutch bathrooms and positioned for easy reading. No excuse for missing a birthday!
I have no idea how many birthday calendars we have sold over the years. Despite the fact that these are perpetual calendars and that many people are now reminded of significant birthdays by Facebook or phone calendars, the tradition still hold strong. I think the reason is that these calendars are documents of family ties. When you use the facilities in a Dutch home, you are given a glimpse of who their family and friends are by the names you see listed on their calendar. My mother-in-law’s calendar which I now own is a testament to her gift for remaining connected over the decades with many people.
Birthday calendars have also come a long way from the days when there were only a few designs available. With all the design options available they now can fit into anyone’s decor. Check out all these beautiful versions: