My birthday is 2 weeks before Christmas--right in the middle of holiday party-ing.
What we did growing up: cake and a special dinner on my actual birthday. Usually with grandma, grandpa, and any aunts, uncles, or cousins who could make it. This was usually at home.
A party with friends any other time of year. We did a May Day party on the first in 4th grade and invited all the girls in my class and went roller skating. I had a sleepover Thanksgiving weekend one year. One summer we did a half birthday and went swimming, etc.
Now that I'm an adult, I do what I want, when I want and if people can make it, great! Last year, I ran the Honolulu Marathon on my birthday and invited a bunch of people to join me at the finish line for cupcakes and beers. This year, DH took me out for a special dinner. For his birthday this year, we went to a dueling piano bar with a couple of friends. Good times!