If you’re like me, you’re one of the “lucky” ones who has a birthday coming up during a global pandemic in a city with a stay-at-home order in effect. That’s okay, I didn’t want to celebrate my birthday anyway.
But seriously, just because we’re practicing social distancing or quarantining ourselves at home doesn’t mean we can’t also have a little fun, right? In fact, celebrating a birthday can be a bright spot in a time of dismal news stories and economic uncertainty. After all, singing “Happy Birthday” used to mean more than teaching people to wash their hands for 20 seconds.
Whether you live alone or with a partner, roommate or family, there are ways to celebrate someone’s big day while still being safe.
One thing’s for certain—this is a birthday none of us will soon forget.
1. Host a Virtual Hangout
Chances are you’ve used a video-calling app in the past few weeks—probably a lot. While office meetings have moved to Zoom and Slack, friend and family hangouts have been relegated to Facetime, Google Hangouts, Skype, WhatsApp, Houseparty … the list goes on.
Take advantage of the ability to get more than 10 people together by throwing a virtual birthday party on one of the above platforms. Set some mood lighting, make margaritas, create a Spotify playlist that everyone can listen to, play trivia, stream a movie together, or make it a themed party in which everyone dresses up.
Wish you were celebrating on a beach? Me too. Choose from Canva’s customizable Zoom background images and videos so you can take your virtual birthday party anywhere you want to go.
2. Send Them A Gift
If it’s not possible to get everyone together for a shindig, send it to them! Gift a Birthday Celebration-in-a-Box ($99.95) from family-owned Celebration Stadium. It includes a colourful, four-layer confetti cake, the dad-invented, birthday-approved Celebration Stadium candle holder, 100 gold and silver candles, personalized birthday card, gold foil paper crown and a “Happy Birthday” gold cake topper! You’ll also get 20% off sitewide through August 31, 2020 with the purchase of a Celebration Stadium candle holder or a Birthday Celebration-in-a-Box when you use code Summer20 at checkout. Birthday done right!
3. Decorate The Lawn
It’s always nice to receive a hand-written card in the mail, but this year seems like the perfect time to go above and beyond. Founded by two moms in Austin, Texas, yard-greeting service Card My Yard is spreading birthday cheer by creating giant personalised messages from the social-distance safety of your yard. Choose your custom message with prices starting at $40 and up depending on the complexity and duration of the message, and they’ll cover the setup and takedown.
4. Create A Piñatagram
I remember piñatas being a staple at all of my birthday parties growing up and more than once I’ve wanted to bring the tradition back in my adult years. Enter Piñatagrams. The company will ship a colorful lil’ piñata ($19.99) filled with sweets and a custom message directly to the birthday girl or guy. Plus, you can get 25% off with code RETAILMENOT25. This special party gift is guaranteed to put a smile on their face—and TBD on whether they’ll want to smash the thing or keep it as a decoration forever. Oh, and they also have zombie and reindeer piñatas. No one’s getting a boring Christmas card from me ever again.
5. Organise A Celebrity Cameo
PSA: There is a service that allows you to pay actors, musicians, reality TV stars, athletes and other public figures for personalised shout-outs. I didn’t know this until recently! For anywhere from $2 to $2,500, you can request a birthday video message through Cameo from celebrities like Brett Favre, Mandy Moore, Tony Hawk, James Van Der Beek, Debra Messing and Flavor Flav. I’m personally hoping for one from Wesley Snipes or Val Kilmer. Limited-time Cameo promo code! Use 7jT6ahved to get 10% off at Cameo.com. This code works on Cameo.com only, not the app.
6. Gift Them A Subscription
A subscription gift is a great way to give them something that will last and—bonus—something that will remind them of you every time they use it. If they’re a Star Wars or Marvel fan, consider a Disney+ subscription. Or for health and fitness lovers, try a vitamin subscription service or kit from Care/of or Hilma, or an online workout pass to get their body moving. And there are plenty of other options, like coffee subscriptions, fashion subscription boxes and even gaming subscriptions like Xbox Game Pass.
7. Send Them A Hamper
I don’t know about everyone, but food is certainly the way to my heart. Getting a favourite meal, birthday cake or even a bottle of wine delivered to my doorstep is a guaranteed birthday success.
8. Shower Them With Gifts
While many brick-and-mortar stores are temporarily closed, online stores are still very much in business—many of which are offering free delivery along with some massive sales and discounts. It’s also a great idea to consider supporting one of the many small businesses that have moved online only and have some cool, funny gifts!
9. Host A Movie Night
Have a virtual movie night with friends! Tell your friends to get in their pyjamas and grab some snacks, then watch your child’s favourite movie from different lounge rooms, at the same time! Netflix Party synchronises your movie play and lets you chat with your mates while you’re watching.
9. Pizza Night
Ordering pizza is easy but getting together to make your own dough is a real memory maker. Kids love getting hands on with mixing, rolling and topping their own pizza and doing it together makes the pizza taste even yummier. Here’s an easy recipe for the dough and you can even set the table with decorations that fit your party theme to make it extra special.
10. Host A Video Game Party
Older kids are having fantastic Birthday parties online via their video games. Games like Minecraft and Fortnite are hot spots for social interaction and friend and party features are perfect for celebration with those they surely miss most.