Jennifer Garner Teases Her Birthday Plans — and It Includes 'Great Food': 'It’s Coming Together' (Exclusive)

The actress tells PEOPLE that she plans the special day after asking herself, "How am I giving back to the world?"

<p>Gotham/GC Images</p> Jennifer Garner in April

Gotham/GC Images

Jennifer Garner in April

Jennifer Garner sees her birthday as an occasion to give back, and this year is no exception.

"Every year I do something for my birthday," the actress and Neutrogena brand ambassador tells PEOPLE when asked about plans to celebrate turning 52 on April 17. "To me that day is like, 'Okay, how am I going to look forward this next year? How am I going to look outside of myself? How am I giving back to the world that gives me so much?'"

Garner says she "planted trees with my kids" last year in partnership with the L.A. Parks Foundation. (She shares children Violet, 18, Seraphina, 15, and Samuel, 12, with ex-husband Ben Affleck.)

Related: Jennifer Garner Brings ‘Cooking Fairy’ Ina Garten for Another Pretend Cooking Show Episode

She also recalls her 50th birthday bash, when she asked guests to fill 5,000 backpacks each with enough food to feed a family of four. The bags benefited the Blessings in a Backpack program.

"So every year there's something, like, that feeds me and that I love to just include people in," she says. "And I know what I'm going to do this year and it's coming together, but I'll talk about it after."

<p>Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Netflix</p> Jennifer Garner

Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Netflix

Jennifer Garner

In addition to the charitable aspect, there will be the usual party elements. "I love to have a good time and I love to make it nice and there'll be great food and all of those things," she teases.

Food and cooking is a great source of joy for the actress after all.

Garner, co-founder of the organic brand Once Upon a Farm, has been displaying her culinary skills in her "Pretend Cooking Show" on social media since 2017.

Related: Jennifer Garner Plays the Saxophone for Reese Witherspoon's Birthday in Jazzy Tribute Video

During a visit to The View in November, she poked fun at some of her cooking fails.

"My worst kitchen disaster is being let into the kitchen in the first place," she joked.

"I love to cook and thank goodness I’ve trained my kids to really love the flavor of char," said Garner. "They say that’s how they know I made it. 'Cause I always want things just a little bit crispy and then I forget. It’s like, whatever. My toxic trait is optimism. I’m going to remember to take things out of the oven."

Jesse Grant/Getty Jennifer Garner
Jesse Grant/Getty Jennifer Garner

In 2022, Garner admitted to PEOPLE that roughly half her recipes turn out to be flops.

"Sometimes I really do think about 50 percent of what I make works out. It doesn't deter me. Honestly, my kids are pretty patient with me," she said. "I'll bake cookies or I'll bake bread and I'll forget and leave it in too long or I won't pay attention and I'll pull it out too early."

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However, it’s all done with affection for her loved ones.

"To me, baking and cooking for your family is love. They know that I care and that I'm trying my scattered best. I wish I were a type A as some of my characters have been in the past, but that is not my skill set," she said with a laugh.

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