The Best Birthday Freebies

  • Happy Birthday!

    What’s the best part of birthdays? The gifts, of course. Just for staying alive for another year, you’re showered with gifts (and when you get older, free drinks) by friends and family. But even people who don’t know you will give you gifts on your birthday. Many restaurants, in addition to making their wait staff sing “Happy Birthday” to you, will also give you a free meal or dessert item. And some non-food service retailers also get in on the birthday action in creative ways. In some cases you’ll have to sign up for a rewards program or subscribe to e-mail newsletters to get the gift, and in many cases the gifts are limited to children. Still, free stuff is always worth it. Here are a few restaurants and retailers that will give you or your child some birthday freebies. Photo Credit: Jessica Diamond
    The International House of Pancakes
  • The International House of Pancakes

    Last year, IHOP showed just how serious it is about pancakes by declaring the Pancake Revolution, the goal of which is to give “pancakes to the people.” If you give the chain your e-mail address, it will send you three coupons for free stacks of pancakes – one immediately, one on your birthday, and one on the one-year anniversary of your sign-up. So if you don’t have kids to bring you breakfast in bed, you can head down to IHOP and get a free stack. You don’t need to be a child to join the revolution. Photo Credit: Elliot James
  • Denny’s

    Denny’s does have the leg up on IGOP on the birthday front, it seems. Whereas IHOP will just give you a free stack of pancakes, Denny’s will give you a free Grand Slam breakfast on your birthday. For the uninitiated, that’s a choice of four items from a list that includes pancakes, biscuits, grits, eggs, sausage and more. You don’t need to be a child or sign up for anything, though a spokesperson said that restaurants reserve the right to ask adults to prove that it’s their birthday. Photo Credit:
    Burger King
  • Burger King

    Every child should be treated like a king on their birthday. Accordingly, when you sign up your under-13 child for the Birthday Club on Club BK, he or she will get a free BK Kids Hamburger Meal. Crowns, as always, are free. Photo Credit: Hakan Dahlstrom
    TGI Friday’s
  • TGI Friday’s

    When you sign up for the restaurant chain’s “Give Me More Stripes” rewards program, you’ll get a number of perks, including a “Jump the Line Pass” that allows you to skip to the front of the crowd and a free appetizer or dessert. The complimentary dessert offer is good any time during your birthday month, so you don’t even need to go there the day of your birthday to get your gift. Photo Credit:
    Toys R Us
  • Toys R Us

    Toys R Us spokes-animal Geoffrey is the coolest giraffe in town, and he also gets the best gifts. When you sign your kid up for Geoffrey’s Birthday Club at Toys R Us, he or she will get a number of perks. Among them: a greeting card, gift and special birthday call from Geoffrey himself, plus an in-store celebration where your child’s birthday will be announced over the loudspeaker. And if you’re any kind of parent, they’ll also get the toy of their choice from you. Photo Credit:
    Barnes & Noble
  • Barnes & Noble

    If you go into Barnes & Noble on your birthday, they’ll give you a free Nook Color! OK, just kidding. But your child will get a free cupcake from the in-house café, assuming your local Barnes & Noble has one. And even more cool, they’ll get to create a digital book for free on All you have to do is sign the child up for the B&N Kids’ Club, which is free and carries loads of other perks like 30% off one kids’ book and 25% off all future purchases. Children must be 12 years old or younger to sign up for birthday benefits, though they stop getting gifts once they’re 13. Photo Credit:
    Black Angus Steakhouse
  • Black Angus Steakhouse

    Yes, you can get a free steak on your birthday! To get your very own Black Angus Steakhouse steak, you’ll need to sign up for the restaurant’s e-mail newsletter, the “Prime Club,” at its website. Upon joining you’ll get a coupon for a free dessert, and you’ll also get a free steak on your first birthday after you sign up. There are terms and conditions, of course – hey, this is steak we’re talking about. You only get one free birthday steak, and only when you buy another entrée of equal or greater value. You’ll also need to show a photo ID to prove your birthday, and there’s only one free birthday steak per table, so if you go there with your twin brother you won’t both get free steaks. You must be 16 or older to join the Prime Club. Good things come to those who wait. Photo Credit: Ernestro Andade
    Red Robin
  • Red Robin

    Prefer your beef ground up and formed into a patty? You can do that too, my friend. Join the Red Robin e-mail list and you’ll get a free burger on your birthday, plus an unspecified gift upon signing up. Children and adults are both entitled to a birthday burger. Photo Credit:
  • Benihana

    Benihana, the wacky Japanese restaurant where the chefs cook in front of you and flip shrimp into their hats, will give you and your kids free stuff for your birthdays. Kids 12 and under who join “Kabuki Kids” will get a postcard within a month that entitles them to a free souvenir mug with the purchase of any kid’s meal. And if you’re 13 or older you can join “The Chef’s Table” by entering your e-mail address on the restaurant’s website. In return you’ll get a $30 gift certificate that can be used during the month of your birthday (though not on Friday, Saturday or Sunday). Photo Credit:
    Baskin Robbins
  • Baskin Robbins

    It’s our firm belief that children of all ages are entitled to ice cream on their birthdays. Baskin Robbins apparently agrees. When you join the Birthday Club by giving the chain your e-mail address, you’ll get an instant coupon for a free scoop of ice cream, plus another 2.5-ounce scoop on your birthday. You’ll also get a discount on your birthday cake, if for some reason you’re buying your own birthday cake. There is no age restriction listed. Photo Credit:
    The Children’s Place
  • The Children’s Place

    Popular kid’s clothing chain The Children’s Place has a Birthday Club as well. Like all good clubs, though, what you actually get for joining is apparently a secret; all the store will say is that you’ll get a coupon of some sort on your birthday and on your child’s birthday. There’s enough room on the sign-up form for five kids and their associated birthdays, so if you’ve got a full house you can get a bounty of birthday coupons just for giving the store a bit of personal info. Photo Credit: California Pizza Kitchen
  • California Pizza Kitchen

    When you sign up to get news and offers from California Pizza Kitchen, you can also sign your children up for the CPKids Birthday Club. They’ll get a free CPKids meal during their birthday month, as long you sign them up before they turn 10. Photo Credit: perry_marco
  • Sonic

    Children 12 and under can sign up for the Sonic Birthday Club to get a Wacky Pack Kids’ Meal on their birthday, which includes such options as corn dogs, grilled cheese, tater tots and slush. It looks delicious. Oh, to be a child again. Photo Credit:
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