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Be the Birthday Hero

Singing telegrams aren't exactly the contemporary vehicles for sending awkwardly funny messages, but harmless embarrassment plus special attention is always a winning combo. I decided to embrace the formula for a friend's birthday—a friend who is beloved by everyone, has a gazillion friends and, thus, a gazillion birthday gifts.

Rather than hop on the overloaded gift bus, I decided to up the mood at her low-key party and arrived dressed as a birthday superhero, complete with a sidekick—my 3-year-old daughter dressed as a ballerina superhero (she actually wanted to be a Santa superhero). My costume was simple: a wig, a New Year's Eve mask, a comic-themed coat salvaged from a secondhand store (found while looking for a superhero T-shirt), a black crinoline skirt, leggings and boots. In my hands, a clear, covered cake plate filled with kitschy birthday swag (paddle ball, silly putty, temporary tattoos, fake jewels, jacks, Chinese jump rope and lip gloss rings from my daughter's birthday party).

We presided over a cupcake ceremony and started a toasting circle where everyone gave heartfelt toasts about why our friend was their hero while my trusty sidekick handed out crowns and tiaras. The guests and the birthday girl loved the surprise and the nostalgic swag! The gesture was our gift to her. And now I get asked when the next birthday superhero appearance will be but it's a surprise!

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