Yes, birthdays were a lot bigger when we were younger since we would have cool celebrations and get gifts etc.
This is not what I care about, it is just a little message that I want. Something that makes me see that you have not forgotten about me, that you still somewhat care about our friendship. Maybe you can relate to this better.
When I left school for uni keeping in touch became harder, I then moved, not far, but out of my hometown. So birthdays are a great way of getting in touch again and doing things together again.