Welcome to the new way of celebrating

It’s something we hoped we’d never have to do and yet has become an odd, sci-fi sort of reality for most of the world: celebrating a birthday in quarantine.

I myself hit the grand ol’ 28 last Saturday, which also happened to be my Golden Birthday that I have literally been waiting my entire life for (when you turn the age of the date of your birth: I turned 28 on the 28th, for example).

I’d had big plans but in the current Coronavirus crisis I had to switch up my plans just a teensey little bit! I decided to not let the small matter of being under a mandated “stay-at-home” order here in California ruin my day!

As someone who only lives with her boyfriend and friends and family strewn throughout the states, I needed to come up with things to make the day a bit more special!

So to help those who may be in the midst of deciding whether or not they will be having to celebrate a birthday in quarantine, here are some of my top ideas to still have a blast on your birthday!

Screenshot of a Zoom birthday meeting with various family members

1. Virtual Birthday Party

There’s no better way to celebrate a birthday in quarantine than having those you love most “there” with you! Now I know it’s not quite the same, but after both a virtual birthday breakfast with my entire family (getting everyone on the video call was no small feat- I did “test runs” the evening before with my grandparents), but everyone loved it!

It certainly isn’t a replacement for in-person parties, but everyone agreed- it was by far the next best thing and they still felt like they were “there” with us.

Plan where you’ll be doing the call ahead of time so you can deck out the background with fun birthday decorations and have a cake ready!

Also fair warning: Any renditions of “Happy Birthday” over video are HILARIOUS since everybody has varying degrees of speedy connection!

I used Zoom and with their free membership you get unlimited meetings under 40 minutes with up to 100 people! (My breakfast video call lasted longer than 40 but since I was a first-time user Zoom waived the 40-minute restriction!)

Alternate options include: Facetime, Skype, Google Hangouts, Discord

an assortment of hand-made birthday cards for a female

2. Send a Birthday Card

In order to bring some semblance of normality to celebrate a birthday in quarantine I can tell you from personal experience that receiving birthday cards in the mail made me so happy!

They don’t need to be stuffed with money or gift cards to be enjoyed- just the act of receiving something physical from the “outside world” with a hand-written message more than made my day.

3. Host a Netflix Party

Netflix Party is an extension for your Chrome browser that you can install and host a virtual “Netflix Party” and invite your other friends so you can all chat while watching the same movie or TV show simultaneously!

Or the easy version: everybody all hit “play” at the same time and chat via a text or Facebook messenger group! Just make sure you don’t video call while all playing the movie- the sound feedback will be totally out of sync and awful!

This is how I ended my birthday night watching A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix with all of my friends!

4. Birthday Parade

I see this is a fun option for little kids or for families who know everyone in the neighborhood- have family and neighbors dress up their cars, play music and create a birthday parade for the Birthday Person that they can watch from the safety of their open window or porch!

cat looking out at groceries being delivered on the front porch


Arrange for a birthday cake, balloons or champagne to be delivered to the Birthday Person!

close up of half-eaten crepes with whipped cream and chocolate chips

6. Make a Birthday Cake!

If nobody’s delivering cake to you as mentioned above, make your own!

Now it may seem a little weird to be making your own birthday dessert, but that’s how it’s gotta be when you celebrate a birthday in quarantine! You do want something to blow candles out on, right? It’s not really your birthday if you don’t.

You can even do this activity while video chatting with friends or family! And it's sure to be entertaining if you’ve never hosted your own private cooking show before...

(I ended up making brownies since we did not have the ingredients to complete the single boxed cake mix I had saved for months, but I like brownies more anyways!)

7. Birthday Game Night

There are several apps that have cropped up online to help you “social distance” but still get your game-fix!

Something you could easily play over video call is Yahtzee (assuming everyone has 5 dice and a scorecard), Head’s Up, Charades or Pictionary would also be fun options, however, if you’re not looking to get on video, check out these options below!:

Cards Against Humanity Clone

General Card Games

all the finished clues to a scavenger hunt
scavenger hunt clue
boy and girl selfie of playing rocket league video game
boy and girl selfie in a kitchen
birthday card scavenger hunt clues

8. Live People!?

Take advantage of the live humans you are trapped at home with!! They will help you have an awesome day via any of the things I’ve previously mentioned! Even with just one other person you can: build a pillow fort, arrange a scavenger hunt or going on a walk together if your county still allows outdoor exercise!

9. Get Dressed Up

It’s still your birthday- get dressed up, make it fancy and enjoy your day!! Don’t watch the news, make your favorite breakfast (or whatever your quarantine stockpile will allow) and fill your day with the things and people you love most!

i know your birthday will be awesome

With that being said, thank you all so much to all my amazing friends and family who made my birthday memorable! And a very special shoutout to my little brother who’s 24th birthday is today! #tbt to these photos and I hope it’s a great one, Truffles!