Birthday Celebration Ideas During Pandemic – Birthdays are kind of a big deal in my house. Usually we celebrate with a group of friends, sharing great food and wine and rocking into the wee hours.
But when my husband Dan’s birthday rolled around this year, we were on lockdown like everyone else and needed to get creative. So, I posted love poems around the house the night before, baked his mother’s famous chocolate cake and organized a surprise zoom birthday celebration with some close friends holding candles and sending him warm wishes.
Birthday Celebration Ideas During Pandemic
Why go to all the trouble? Like weddings and other celebrations, birthday parties are bigger than just one person. They bring friends and family together, strengthening the bonds that make up our society. They remind us that we are not alone in the face of our own mortality. They are a great excuse to eat cake.
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We all celebrate a birthday (or possibly two or three) under the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. We may not be willing to risk large social gatherings, even if it’s easier. It doesn’t matter if some birthdays go unnoticed –
In a study in the UK, researchers asked them to describe their birthday celebrations and how the celebrations affected them on two levels.
They came to some interesting conclusions: the rituals associated with birthdays – giving cards and gifts, or sharing cake or food – affect them with significance and meaning. They provide a sense of “collective continuity”—that is, a feeling that we’re all living life together—that helps us feel less focused on our individual aging.
Birthday parties make us feel loved, it’s a great way to boost our mental health – especially during stressful times. And birthdays can be especially important to children, helping them understand the concept of aging while boosting their self-esteem and their sense of belonging to their family.
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Birthdays (and other temporary markers) can be times to reevaluate our lives. Research suggests that birthdays can help motivate people to make important changes—like exercising more or starting a healthier diet—and more consciously pursue life goals. Birthdays help us put our “old self” behind us in favor of a future, evolving self, helping us move forward on our life’s path.
Of course, birthdays often give us the opportunity to participate in shared celebrations: emotional group gatherings that help us transcend the present moment and deepen our connection with others. Research shows that shared rituals make us part of a larger social identity, suggesting that it is difficult for us to lose these rituals.
So, what can we do to help people maintain and follow these benefits during this time? Here are some guidelines to follow.
Birthdays are an opportunity to let people know you are special. That’s why I want to express my appreciation to Dan’s friends on his birthday. It imbued the mundane zoom social times with more meaning and emotional resonance.
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Amber M. of Novato, California; He was not expected to do much for his 31st birthday, which fell just two weeks into the lockdown. But her sister, daughter and niece created a birthday car parade, with friends driving through their neighborhood in cars decorated with signs and balloons, blaring their radios or hanging onto their sunroofs to serenade her as she exited her front yard. Some threw her thoughtful gifts like potty liners and toilet paper, which were hard to come by in the early days of the lockdown.
“It was one of the most amazing things that ever happened to me in my life,” says Amber. “It makes me very happy.”
Later, Amber was surprised to find that this display of love had an effect on her neighbors as well. Many of them wanted to get to know her and her husband better, and thought that someone who brought out so much excitement for a birthday must be nice and worth getting close to.
The procession was filmed and posted on Facebook, meaning she could watch it in the months that followed when she felt the pandemic was bringing her down.
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“When I start to feel bad about not seeing friends and doing the things I want to do, I look at this and it lifts my spirits,” says Amber.
Above all, birthdays are an opportunity for people to know they are part of a community of caring people, which is what made Amber’s party so special. Because we feel more connected when we’re in each other’s presence, it’s good to bring people together in person, even if they have to be physically apart.
Seventeen-year-old Ann-Lynn S. of Flemington, New Jersey. They organized a driveway party, which involved gathering friends at the birthday girl’s house to hang out together to chat, chat and share cake. Even though the girls stand six feet apart and wear gloves and masks most of the time, being together lets the celebrant know they matter.
“As humans, we have to be together,” says An-Lin. “It’s the first time everyone’s out of their house and socializing, so it’s special.”
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Aidan G., 20, of Kensington, California. Despite being home from college due to covid, his girlfriend put together a video of college friends wishing him happy birthday and sharing appreciation, which really touched him. Later, his mother invited six local friends over to the house and hung out on the front lawn, sitting around the fire and making s’mores.
“My birthday was surprisingly happy, better than I expected, because I connected with people even though everyone had to be socially distanced,” Aidan says. “I was reminded that people care about me.”
Surprises can make people feel a burst of energy and energize them, which can be especially helpful at this time. So, on her son’s 14th birthday, Anne S. of Berkeley, California, invited his friends, family and some of his teachers to send him a video clip wishing him a happy birthday. He asked his eldest daughter to put it together in a fun slide show with music to share with him on his actual birthday.
Angela J. of Los Angeles, California. He attended the birthday party of an aunt who lives in Philadelphia, Zoom, who turned 90. More than 80 family members and friends from across the country joined the call, congratulating and appreciating their aunt. A cousin has also created a special online presentation for the call, featuring live and recorded music, as well as dance performances and poetry.
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Of course, the most important thing in creating any celebration is knowing the likes and dislikes of the birthday recipient – and what’s important to them. It may take a bit more of a concerted effort to do something during lockdown that resonates with the holiday season and still keeps everyone safe from harm.
However, it makes sense to hold festivals like this during COVID. Losing social rituals is detrimental to our well-being, making us less connected to others and less united in purpose. Conversely, continuing with important rituals, such as birthday celebrations, can build the positive emotions, social relationships, and sense of control over our lives that we need during this stressful, uncertain time.
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Coronavirus or not, birthdays are on the calendar, and Central Jerseyans are getting creative to make sure their birthdays aren’t forgotten, in the absence of a party, dinner or grandma’s birthday hug.
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Tiny Town, a children’s playground in Metuchen that is often the venue for children’s birthday parties, has been closed since March 12, but they are still doing their best to bring birthday activities to kids and adults alike.
For the first time, the location is offering deliveries of balloons and ice cream cake from Metuchen ice cream shop What’s the Scoop for $42; Front porch decorations with balloons for $50 and even “virtual birthday parties” for $200. Parties include the distribution of cupcakes, a banner and balloons for the birthday boy or girl, and then the recipient chooses three of their friends for the same cupcakes, balloons and get a goody bag. Later, they all hop on a Zoom meeting for their “virtual party.”
“Many planned events at Tiny Town had to be canceled and parents were very upset, so we wanted to provide ways to still celebrate,” said Tiny Town owner Sarah Smith. “Now we keep getting emails from people who have booked these services saying, ‘You absolutely saved the day.’
Birthday “parties” available to recipients in most Middlesex County cities are popular — Smith said he’s gotten about 50 people emailing him. Those interested can contact Smith at [email protected].
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However, many Central Jerseyans celebrate and