It'd be a lot easier to keep track of posts (along with birthdays) if they were posted on a portal on the front page of the site, as opposed to going right to the forums and finding nothing.
I still kinda wish we were still on VBulletin, I knew what to do there and we had a portal.The birthdays are available on a plug-in that, if I remember right, isn't compatible with the our backbone. I looked over Christmas, and didn't see an update, but can check again.
I can check on the portal. I use a link to get to the site that brings me to "Unread Posts" so I can see what's happening without having to browse. I read them all pretty pretty easily that way, but I do miss the birthday notices by jumping in there.
XenForo doesn't offer the same interface options as Vbulletin. Since they XenForo programmers were former Vbulletin developers, I think they made a conscious effort to make them look different.