Just because traveling or large in-person gatherings aren’t an option, it doesn’t mean there can’t be birthday celebrations. From online surprise parties to easy-but-over-the-top decorations, here are some loving ways friends and family are making birthdays memorable.
Throw a Birthday Surprise Party
“For my friend’s 40th birthday, we’re doing a Zoom surprise party. He thinks he’s going to chat with just one of his friends, but when he joins the meeting, there’ll be about 30 people waiting for him.” —John W.
“My wife Cori’s birthday is this Saturday. Our 13-year-old, Zoe, created an invitation for a surprise parade through the cul-de-sac. She’s going to tell her mom she and the neighbor girl are going for a (socially distanced) walk. They’re going to walk to the park down the street where about twenty cars full of Cori’s friends, in-town family, and co-workers will gather. Then Zoe will race home and Cori’s best friend will lead the caravan up to our house. I’ll have Cori outside somehow—probably doing some suburban driveway day-drinking—and Zoe will serve as grand marshal leading the cars, with Cori’s parents on FaceTime so they can participate from afar. The whole thing was Zoe’s idea.” —Zach L.
“We had a Zoom birthday party for my father-in-law, Gary, in early April. We really didn’t do anything special—just chatted and hung out for an hour and a half. I played with my cat for part of the time, which was entertaining for the teenagers on the call. I noticed my niece and nephew quietly tuning out and trickling away at different times, too. I think that’s the best, when virtual meetings can be casual like that without the need for everyone to be ‘on’ at every moment.”—Keely C.
Try these ideas for surprise celebrations
- Give the birthday person a night in at the movies. Get everyone online, pop some popcorn, and watch a movie together. Apps like Rabbit, SyncPlay, and Netflix Party make it easy.
- Celebrations matter even more when we give back. Coordinate friends and family and donate to a charity in the person-of-honor’s name. Some nonprofits will mail a thank-you card—or you can compile the information yourself for a big reveal.
- Shower them with cards. With a little advance notice, you can make sure their mailbox is filled to overflowing on the big day.