We’ve all seen it, the sad quarantine birthday photo showing someone sitting alone, donned in their party hat in front of a very large cake, looking rather sad. The caption reads, “Everyone who has a birthday in April.”
I am one of those people. In fact, today is my birthday. And truly, I’m not feeling sad. It’s actually kind of a relief to be free from the pressure of having to do something “special.” In the weeks leading up to today, I kind of imagined this year’s birthday to be spent much like the man in the picture. But now that it has arrived, even though I am alone, I feel surrounded with love. So far, it has been a good birthday, and nothing extraordinary has happened, but I feel extraordinary despite that.
I am lucky, because I have family and friends who are making is special from afar. My mother has expressed to me this week how terrible she feels for being unable to provide for me the usual celebratory gestures as she does each year. And I would be lying if I said they hadn’t become something I look forward to, or that it’s a bit of a bummer to not get to celebrate the same way. So today she has tasked me with buying a large bouquet of flowers, a large chocolate cake, and to do a little bit of online shopping.
If you know someone with a birthday coming up who will be alone in quarantine, here are 5 exciting ways to help them celebrate their special day to the fullest, from a distance.
1. Virtual dinner party
Everyone order or make the same type of cuisine. Where I live, take out from restaurants is still an option. Your family and friends can order from the same restaurant at the same time, and you can all sit down virtually to a dinner from the same restaurant. This is a sure way to bring a feeling of togetherness despite the distance.
If you don’t have take-out from restaurants available where you live, you can all make the same type of food. This can be as simple as cheese and crackers, or chips and dip.
2. Send them a checklist of things to do & have them document their day with photos
This is a great all-day activity. For someone who is dreading spending their birthday alone, this has the potential of keeping them occupied all day and giving them several fun things to look forward to throughout the day. For example, a few of the ideas could be: Make yourself a special breakfast, build a pillow fort and watch your favorite movie, or get dressed up and have a virtual dinner party.
3. Decorate the outside of their house
If you are fortunate enough to live in driving proximity to your loved one on their birthday (and you are permitted to do so), head over to their house with homemade decorations to hang in their front yard or on the windows. You can even gift-wrap their front door for a fun surprise in the morning, drop a homemade cake on their doorstep or tie balloons to their mailbox
4. Create a birthday video
For my 13th birthday, my brother made a compilation of all my favorite cartoon clips. It was probably one of the best presents I’ve even gotten. Technology has only made it that much easier to create videos. This is still a great idea for a teenager. Or if for an adult, have a group of family and friends each record a special message.
5. Send a gift
This one is a little more generic than the others—but let’s be real, who doesn’t love getting gifts in the mail? My friend sent me this adorable crafting kit to create a little felt rabbit. I can’t wait to make it! It will be a perfect birthday activity.
Birthdays spent in isolation don’t have to be lonely. Any of these ideas are sure to bring excitement and positivity in your loved one’s life.
Have you had a birthday during the pandemic? Was there anything that made it feel extra special?
Also by Nea: How To Be Altruistic In the Time of Corona
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Photo: Twinsfisch, Deluvio, Spiske; Unsplash