My experiences with birthday parties have been mixed, on the whole. When I was little my parents used to have a family party on my birthday, but the din of many people having many conversations at the same time was uncomfortable to me due to my then-undiagnosed auditory processing disorder, so I often hid away in my room. As I got older we downsized the parties until it was just my mom, my dad, and my sister celebrating with me, which I enjoyed a lot more. My most recent birthday "parties" have been very casual, usually amounting to some cake, a few presents, and a viewing of one of my favorite movies or television shows. While this may sound dull to some, it suits me just fine!
The one issue I have with my current birthday tradition is that my celebrations seem weirdly plagued by accidents. They usually center around the cake--one year the frosting didn't mix up properly, another year the cake layers were lopsided, and just this year a bad batch of baking soda made the cupcakes taste bitter. Even if nothing disastrous occurs, we usually wind up having to improvise or substitute ingredients at the last minute for one reason or another. Because of my bad track record with homemade birthday cakes I actually switched to bakery cakes for a couple of years, but the ones we got at Whole Foods proved too rich and too heavy on the frosting (yes, it's possible).
I'm thinking of switching to birthday brownies next year, so hopefully my cake curse doesn't carry over into other forms of dessert!