Celebrations with Clay Aiken and Family


Parker 1st birthday

NEW: Beautiful birthday montage for Parker from SueReu

smaller version

Irresistible Clay


Clay Aiken has officially announced the National Inclusion Project is now the new name for the Bubel/Aiken Foundation.

Congratulations Clay, Diane Bubel and all your team.
Here's to continued success and growth in your voice for inclusion!

"Inclusion is giving people their rightful opportunity to participate.
We work every day to make full inclusion a reality."

See the new web page here:

National Inclusion Project

Clay & Diane National Inclusion Program

photo of Clay Aiken and Diane Bubel from the National Inclusion Project website

An Open Letter from the Founders Clay Aiken and Diane Bubel

YouTube video: National Inclusion Project

Clay Online Official Fan Club


Happy First Birthday to Parker
August 8


Parker 1st birthday



The Origin of Birthday Cards
by Sherry Horton Blake
The Origin of Birthday Cards

"Happy Birthday." Birthday cards make us smile. It gives us a nice feeling to know that someone has taken the time to recognize our birthday.

Have you ever wondered how the tradition of giving birthday cards got started? Actually, the history of birthday cards is difficult to unravel. We might find a clue, though, if we look at the beginning of birthday celebrations. It is reasonable to assume that once calendars came into use, people began to recognize birthdays, at least birthdays of royalty. However, birthday greetings were most likely exchanged in person, or in the case of royalty, gifts may have been left outside the palace gates.

In the middle ages, the "birthday party" came into being. Because
it was widely believed that evil spirits were attracted to people on their birthday, friends and family would gather at the person's house to surround them with good thoughts and good things (gifts). Eventually, birthdays progressed to being a happier occasion, and in England, people began to bring cakes in which they had hidden small trinkets, rings, etc. It is likely that handwritten birthday greetings also started at this time.

To determine the history of the actual birthday "card," it is important to look at the history of greeting cards overall. In ancient China, handwritten Chinese New Year wishes were exchanged, and in ancient Egypt, greetings were exchanged on bits of papyrus. However, the oldest known greeting "card," which was hand-made, was a Valentine's Day card dating from the 1400's in England. This Valentine is now in the British Museum. Greeting cards found more popularity in the 1800's because, with the advent of the postage stamp, cards could be sent fairly inexpensively.
In fact, they became so popular that some were assembled in factories. These featured black and write pictures painted by the factory workers.

Esther Howland, considered the mother of greeting cards, sold hand-made Valentines in the 1840's. Christmas cards made their appearance in 1843. In 1856, the first American greeting card company came into existence. It was started by Louis Prang, a German immigrant. He produced Christmas cards. The best known greeting card company is probably Hallmark, started by Joyce C. Hall whose first office was a room at the YMCA. By 1915, Hall Brothers was manufacturing greeting cards (including birthday cards) in its own plant. In the 1930's, the use of color lithography led to a significant increase in the popularity of greeting cards.

In summary, the tradition of birthday greetings is probably as old as the advent of the calendar, but the actual birthday card likely had its origin in the early 1900's. Regardless, though, of how the birthday card business started, it is now "big business," as people everywhere like to be recognized on their birthdays.

More interesting birthday history here:
Birthday Traditions


When I was little, I looked forward to my birthday cake. My favourite was angel food, and it would have pennies, nickels and one dime wrapped in wax paper throughout the cake. Somehow I always got the piece with the dime in it!
How those coins got in the cake was a mystery for many years.





Do you have any family traditions for your birthday celebrations?
It would be fun to see them in your comment!



Carolina Clay said...


There much to celebrate in the Clay Aiken family this week -- Parker's birthday tomorrow and the official announcement of TBAF name change to the National Inclusion Project! You have covered both very well.

Thnx for the accompanying info and beautiful graphics.

Happy Birthday, Parker!


SueReu said...

Great blog Ashes!!!! Love the story about the origin of the birthday card - fascinating!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PARKER!! Congrats to Clay, it's a big week for him!!!!

dee said...

I love that photo of Clay and Diane . Congratuations to them both and to the faithful , hardworking team who has made the foundation a success . Hurrah for the Project !

Happy Birthday to Parker . Enjoy your big day .

copingincalifornia said...

How can it be Parker's first birthday already?? Amazing. Thanks Ashes for this lovely tribute to Clay Aiken and family.

anaturegirl said...


Clay Aiken said it was going to be a great week and it has been. Congats to Clay and Diane for their continued work for inclusion of children with disabilities. Their dream has matured through the years and will continue on through the National Inclusion Project.

Happy Birthday Parker Aiken. Mom and Dad must be really proud.

Beanblossom said...

It sure is a big week in Clay Aiken's life - a new name for his charity, and the first birthday for his son.

Interesting information about the first birthday card - thanks.

fgs said...

Great blog, I learned a lot about the origin of greeting cards--never knew most of that info. Hope Parker has a wonderful first birthday. Will he make a mess of his first cake? That age is so fun to watch!

claniac24 said...

I love your site
Ashes. You do such a beautiful job. I'm so proud to have you as a major member/contributor to our Clay Family.

musicfan said...

Ashes.......This is a beautiful blog. IT is full of love and lots of information too.

I always enjoy visiting here. You are so creative!!

PaulaBear said...

Another beautiful blog with pictures!!! Clay Aiken and Jaymes Foster must be so excited for today! Happy Birthday Parker!!

T said...

Great blog! Special celebrations for Parker's 1st b-day and the announcement of the National Inclusion Project. Both are very special to Clay!

Thanks so much for the beautiful graphics and the wonderful read about the origin of the birthday card.

Happy Birthday Parker and congrats to Clay for these 2 very important events close to his heart.


LovesClaysVoice said...

Happy 1st Birthday to Parker! I hope he has lots of fun today celebrating with his Mommy and Daddy!

anaturegirl said...

Happy Birthday Parker. May you grow into being a wonderful young man that has the compassion for others as your Daddy does.

jbc4clay said...

Love the Birthday Card history!
Happy Birthday to Sweet Parker!
Hope you had a wonderful day!

Anonymous said...

Ashes, this is so commendable. Your blog encompasses everything from lovely blends, a superb montage to a very interesting story on birthday cards. Kudos to you! Birthday celebrations are pretty much similar everywhere...there's food, fun and lots of presents...which I'm sure Parker will be showered with. He's such a blessing to Clay and Jaymes. Happy Birthday Parker :)


bonniecarmen said...

Only birthday tradition we had was that you could have the meal of your choice. Mine was always baked macaroni and cheese! How original!
Loved the photos...very festive birthday greetings for the little man. Sure hope Clay got to see it.
luv B

Anonymous said...

Hi Ashes,

Lots of celebrating going on in the Aiken/Foster household this weekend. It's hard to believe Parker is a year old already.

As always, I love ALL your awesome graphics!!

Big Hugs,

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