With the current COVID-19 rules and restrictions across the country, it’s a tough time to celebrate a birthday. It’s even more challenging if you have kids who can’t invite friends to a party or have elderly family and friends in care facilities who can’t receive visitors right now.
But there are ways to get creative, share joy and let people know you’re thinking about them. Here are a few ideas for helping your loved ones celebrate during quarantine and have a birthday they’ll never forget:
Decorate the front door, windows or yard There’s no reason you can’t decorate your (or their) house! Put up Christmas lights, post signs in the front lawn or decorate the front door and windows with streamers, signs and balloons. You can also write in the driveway with sidewalk chalk! For an added touch, have family and friends bring decorations the night before so your child wakes up to a fun yard surprise.
Arrange for drive-by greetings If family and friends live nearby, arrange a one-hour time window for them to drive by and share their good wishes. They can decorate their cars, beep their horns and talk to the birthday boy or girl (from a distance, of course!). You could also leave out sidewalk chalk or an easel with poster paper and markers for friends or passersby to write a special birthday message.
Host a Zoom, Google Meetup or Skype party Get a party together online! Arrange a time and date in advance and schedule time to talk, play games, sing ‘Happy Birthday’ and open presents. Play party games like Bingo by emailing everyone a game board in advance. You could also split guests up into teams and play charades, or check out the Houseparty app, which lets you play virtual games with friends on your phones. For adults, you could plan a virtual wine or beer tasting party and ask each person to talk about what beverage they are enjoying.
Schedule a movie watch party This is a great idea for teenagers or for a group of girlfriends: Download the Netflix Party extension in Chrome and watch the same Netflix movie at the same time. The extension features synchronized video playback (so everyone's screen can pause and resume at the same time), and there’s even a chat room so you can share thoughts about the film.
Send cards in advance
Whether you’re planning a birthday party for a little one or sending good wishes to a friend out of town, now is the time to take advantage of snail mail. Send birthday invitations or “Save the Date” cards in advance and ask family members and friends to send a card in time to arrive before the special day. Sending a photo insert card with a picture of you and the recipient would be especially thoughtful this year to remind them of good times together – and you or they can even frame it.
Order or make a dessert Support a local bakery or restaurant by ordering dessert delivery or use your time and talents to make and send something homemade. Mailing a birthday cake with frosting is challenging, but many homemade cookies ship very nicely – especially sturdy varieties like chocolate chip, oatmeal, brownies or biscotti. Add a nice birthday card and be sure to wrap everything carefully for shipping.
Can’t get to the post office to mail your gift? Not to worry – the US Postal Service offers free package pickup service from most homes and businesses. You can create a free account, select a pickup date, purchase postage and leave at your front door. So easy, we use it every day.
Have other ideas for celebrating a birthday while in quarantine? Tell us in the comments below, we’d love to hear your ideas!