I can’t really think of anything this coronavirus pandemic doesn’t impact. As we all stay at home to fight this virus, our entire social lives upended. While others deal with far worse—job loss and family sickness—this social change is downright odd. Recently, a few friends had birthdays, and rather than making plans for an in-person celebration, I needed to get creative about celebrating from my computer. If you’re thinking about how to celebrate a birthday virtually as well, I hope you find this guide for making these big days special, even from afar.
Make a Video Call
Though I’m sick of them, there simply is no substitute for a video call, and carving out time for one is the beginning of celebrating a birthday virtually. Though it’s tempting to simply wish the birthday boy, girl, man, or woman a happy birthday and say goodbye, try to instead block out an hour or more. If it makes sense, try to have your video call—complete with family and friends—occupy a significant portion of the day, just like a normal birthday party would.
Send a Physical Gift
While a virtual birthday does without so many of the trappings we’re used to, don’t miss your chance to make the celebration concrete. Whether you go in on something or get something on your own, find them the perfect gift and ship it their way. Smelling a specialty candle, tasting their favorite snack, and otherwise enjoying their tangible gift can make them feel less distant on their birthday.
Create a Video for Them
As you go virtual, consider how you can use what you have to make a sweet gesture. Making a video to play on your call—complete with interviews of loved ones, a photo montage, and a sappy music sequence—promises to hit them in the feelings. Take this time when many are sheltering-in-place as an opportunity to reflect on what you may take for granted about your loved one. Then, turn that reflection into material for your video—aiming to make them cry (happy tears, of course) is always a good goal!
Have a Dance Party and Play a Game
Finally—and this is what I ended up doing—celebrate a birthday virtually by starting a virtual dance party and playing games. Dancing rounds out the celebratory feel of the day while allowing y’all a break from talking. Meanwhile, games ranging from old-school charades to any number of video call-enabled phone apps help you forge new and long-lasting memories.