Ideas for an 85th Birthday

Written by rebecca mooney
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Ideas for an 85th Birthday
An 85th birthday is a special occasion to be commemorated. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Celebrating the 85th birthday of a loved one is a joyous occasion. Creating a beautiful party with loved ones is a way to show how much the honoured guest means to you. Finalising an overall theme, decorations, gifts and other details can be a daunting task but it is well worth the effort.

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The theme of an 85th birthday should be largely dependent on the honoured guest's likes and values. If the guest is an avid traveller, naming each table after a destination she visited is a great idea. Use a map theme for invites and decorations and create a menu that highlights favourite vacation destinations. If the celebrant's career was extremely important to him, you may want to incorporate that into the theme -- some professions that work well are firefighter, police officer or military personnel. A broader theme would be "Times of Your Life" and could focus on different life phases such as childhood, high school, marriage, starting a family etc.


Centrepieces, while largely dependent on the theme of the party, are a great place to incorporate pictures. If you are assigning seats, you can tailor each table's centrepiece around the guests who will be sitting there. You can also create centrepieces that reflect the honoree's favourite hobbies or personality. Some suggestions include focusing on a sport or activity, drawing on a favourite or meaningful place to live or visit or incorporating favourite flowers or colours.

Involving Guests

There are many ways to involve guests when planning an 85th birthday celebration for a loved one. Ask all guests to mail or e-mail their favourite picture with the honoured guest. Use the photos to create a slide show, photo collage or scrapbook as a centrepiece for the party. You can also mail a square of fabric with each invitation and ask guests to decorate it with a message, pictures or decorations. Tie or sew the squares together to create a memory quilt for the birthday celebrant.

Gift Ideas

Thinking of the perfect gift to give for an 85th birthday celebration can be difficult. The 85-year-old may have everything she wants or needs or may be living with a relative or may have moved to assisted living or to a smaller house or apartment and not have the room for many large gifts. One suggestion for a meaningful gift is to focus on personal memories. Create a mug or wall calendar featuring photos of yourself with the 85-year-old. Another idea is to purchase a gift card or tickets to enjoy a meal or event.

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