Americans Feeling Birthday Burnout

REDMOND, Wash., April 29, 2004 — Americans are tired of celebrating birthdays, and it’s not because they live in a society obsessed with staying young. According to a recent survey by MarketFacts, the majority of Americans say their birthday feels no different from any other day of the year, and a third of those surveyed say their lack of enthusiasm stems from the hassle of planning a party. 1

Americans are busier than ever. For many, life moves so fast they find it hard to keep up with work, family, school and activities, and still manage to have some fun. But the more hectic life gets, the more important it becomes to rejuvenate the routine and accentuate the special moments.

Jan Jewell, co-founder of, a one-stop shopping solution for event coordination, knows that finding the resources and time to plan celebrations can be frustrating. Twelve years ago, Jan was a busy mother of three, and her youngest son, Sebastian, was approaching his first birthday. Sebastian was a premature baby, which made his first year of life a struggle. As a result of their ordeal, the Jewells realized Sebastian’s life is a celebration — every life is a celebration. With this awareness they started Birthday Express with a mission of helping other busy parents stop stressing and start celebrating.

“Birthdays are an opportunity to celebrate life, family and friends, but this survey confirms that the hassle of planning has dimmed America’s celebratory spirit,” Jewell said. “What many people don’t realize is that there are easy, convenient ways to take advantage of what we’re using every day — technology — to make birthdays special without the stress. With the help of some handy software, the Internet and a little homegrown creativity, people can feel like they have more time in the day to balance, find, accomplish, discover and share more than ever before.”

Jewell says it’s time to stop and take a 360-degree look around and discover how to turn everyday occurrences into celebrations. Jewell recommends the following technology to start experiencing Life360 and make the most of any celebration:

  • A suite deal. Microsoft® Works Suite 2004 is a home software package that has all the tools needed to help plan a party with style easily: Microsoft Works 7.0, Microsoft Word 2002, and the 2004 versions of Money Standard, Microsoft Encarta® Encyclopedia Standard, Picture It!®
    Photo Premium 9 and Streets & Trips. From initiating the planning process to picking out the perfect invitation, this software is jam-packed with ways to help the consumer spend less time coordinating and more time celebrating.

  • Go surfing. These days it seems people turn to the Web for everything, but when it comes to planning a party, helps reduce the amount of stress, time and effort involved in coordinating an event or celebration.

  • Face time. Everyone wants his or her 15 minutes of fame; one way to do this is to treat the guest of honor to the ultimate adulation by putting his or her image right on the birthday cake. There are bakeries all over the country with the tools to reprint any snapshot in edible ink on paper that dissolves into the icing of a cake on contact. The cake is the focal point of any celebration, and this tasty trend that’s sweeping the nation brings it into the 21st century.

  • Celebrate now… and then. A great way to pay tribute to a birthday is to celebrate the history that preceded it. A record of the unique and interesting events that took place on the birthday honoree’s special day is available as a birthday scroll from Birthday Express. The consumer also can create his or her own birthday scroll using Microsoft Encarta. He or she can look back at the events that took place on the day of birth, or imagine looking at his or her grandmother’s birthday scroll with her and seeing the cost of a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread on the day she was born.

  • You ought to be in pictures. Almost 120 billion digital images were created last year, 2 so why not let the guests get in on the action? At Ritz Camera Centers, single-use digital cameras can be picked up for only $11 a pop. Guests can get snap-happy, and when the cameras are collected, the birthday boy or girls can relive the celebration through the guests’ eyes. The photos can be turned into a post-party Web site, or Microsoft Picture It! Premium can be used to create photo postcards for thank-you notes.

About Microsoft Works Suite

Works Suite 2004 is available in CD and includes the following software titles and features:

  • Microsoft Works 7.0, the essential home productivity application, encourages users to create, organize and plan life as it happens.

  • Microsoft Word 2002 is the ultimate word processing program for work, school or home.

  • Microsoft Money Standard 2004 makes it easy for parents and teenagers alike to perform effortless financial tracking and management on their PC.

  • New! Microsoft Encarta Standard 2004, the No. 1 best-selling encyclopedia brand, 3 encourages users to gain knowledge and explore their world with this trusted, award-winning and up-to-date resource.

  • New! Microsoft Picture It! Photo Premium 9 enables consumers to easily fix photos with professional tools.

  • New! Microsoft Streets & Trips 2004 includes more than 6.7 million miles of routable city, state and highway roads in the U.S. and Canada.


An incredible value, Works Suite 2004 is available for an estimated retail price of $99 (U.S.), less than half of what consumers would pay for the applications individually. 4 In addition, there is a $15 (U.S./$25 CAN) mail-in rebate in the Works Suite 2004 box. Consumers can visit for more information on Microsoft Works Suite 2004.

About Microsoft Home Retail Division

Microsoft Home Retail Division (HRD) is a leading publisher of home software for the PC. Celebrating Microsoft’s 20 years of delivering products that help consumers accomplish and enjoy everyday tasks, HRD brings consumers Microsoft Encarta, the industry’s best-selling3 encyclopedia brand; Microsoft Digital Image products, which combine advanced photo-editing features and unmatched organizational tools with unparalleled ease of use; Microsoft Money, easy-to-use personal finance management software; Streets & Trips, Microsoft’s all-in-one mapping solution with points of interest, routes, driving directions and Pocket PC compatibility in one value-priced software package; and Microsoft Works Suite, the best-selling3 integrated home productivity software that offers six of the latest essential home software titles in one package for tremendous value. Used with the MSN®
network of Internet services, these products have a unique depth and mobility that allow users to take their PC experience even further. More information about the Home Retail Division product lineup is available at .

About Birthday Express

Founded in 1994 in Kirkland, Wash., by husband-and-wife team Mike and Jan Jewell, Birthday Express provides busy consumers a one-stop shopping solution that reduces the amount of stress, time and effort involved in coordinating an event or celebration. The company streamlines the party planning process with instant access to fun, imaginative and affordable party packages for a wide variety of occasions and any number of guests.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

1 Source: MarketFacts Survey Sponsored by Microsoft , +/- 3%. Fielded April 30–May 5, 2003

2 IDC, December 2003

3 The NPD Group/NPD TechworldSM, March 1993–February 2004., based on total U.S. retail sales

4 Actual retail prices may vary. Savings based on estimated retail prices.

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