Birthdays, graduations, anniversaries and other special occasions are significant events in life and deserve to be celebrated. Since our world is in the midst of a pandemic and families are staying home, you may be wondering if you can still observe these milestones in a memorable way. The answer is yes! You just need a little planning, preparation, creativity and “out of the box” thinking. Here are some ideas to create safe, fun events from the comfort of your home.
Cakes and decorations
As you brainstorm plans for birthdays, graduations or other events, a cake will likely be on the must-have list. Several local bakeries offer custom cakes with no contact, curbside pickup. Maxie B’s and Delicious are well-known bakeries in Greensboro to consider. A homemade cake is also a great option. A cake baked from scratch with love, no matter the skill level of the baker(s), will likely earn five stars from the recipient.
Once you select a theme, use a creative eye to gather items around your home to use for decorations. You may be surprised at the number of things you already have that would help bring your party to life. Pinterest or Google searches can help give inspiration. If you need to place an order with an online retailer, be mindful that delivery times for non-essential items may be delayed.
A custom lawn greeting is a fun way to recognize birthdays, graduations, anniversaries and more. Sign companies place large, themed signs in your yard in the early morning of the big day and return to take them down at the end of the day. Happy Sign Surprise is one local company that offers this service.
“Drive by” celebrations
Invite friends and family members to participate in a “drive by” celebration on a designated day and time. Ask everyone to decorate their cars with signs, balloons, and streamers, honk their horns, play fun music, and wave and shout out greetings as they drive by your home. Decorate a lawn chair for the person of honor to sit in to watch the procession.
Virtual party with friends
Multiple online platforms like Zoom, Google Hangouts and FaceTime are all popular options to use to celebrate special events. With some creative thinking, most every theme can be converted into a virtual party. Consider sending out virtual party e-vites to friends and family members, and make sure to include recommended dress or other items that will make the virtual party more entertaining. For birthday parties, consider a virtual game night with games like charades, bingo and Pictionary. You could also have a virtual karaoke night, dance party or talent show. Another fun idea is to have everyone tune in and watch the same movie or television show and enjoy popcorn and snacks while staying connected on the platform. Have invitees log in early so they can shout “Happy Birthday” or “Happy Graduation” or other relevant greeting when the celebrant logs in.
Shower of special greetings
Invite friends and family members to text, call or email the birthday boy or girl. To ensure the messages are “showered” on the recipient throughout the day, assign participants a specific time to send their wishes. You could also set up a “mailbox” in your yard for people to leave cards, notes or “thought” gifts on the big day or during a “drive by” time. The “mailbox” could be a cooler, storage container, or even a decorated cardboard box (if the weather forecast is clear).
Create a special gift from a group of friends by inviting them to send messages via email. Print them and make cards or glue them on colorful construction paper. Decorate a jar or box and store them all inside for a meaningful keepsake.
Another fun idea is to ask friends and family members to make a short video sending special greetings. Compile the messages on a flash drive and then creatively wrap it or put it inside a balloon with confetti. If this idea exceeds your technological expertise, then check out companies that offer this service like www.tribute.co.
Treasure or scavenger hunt
Treasure and scavenger hunts can be a fun event for all ages and a great way to celebrate most any occasion. Simple treasure maps or clues with toys can lead younger children to a special birthday surprise, and more complex maps or clues can lead older children and teens to several fun gifts along the way. Have everyone don pirate garb to add to the experience.
Character or themed parties
If your child has a favorite character or loves a special show or movie, have everyone dress up like the character or his/her friends. Transform your home into a scene from the character’s home or the show/movie and be ready for a fun time! Have everyone act out a scene or episode for more enjoyment.
Virtual concerts, movies, Broadway shows and trips
If you had plans to celebrate a special occasion with a concert, movie, Broadway show or trip abroad, you can likely find a virtual experience to serve as a nice substitute. Many online cultural experiences are available during this time for a nominal or no fee. If you had a big trip planned, explore virtual options for “visiting” top attractions in your dream locale. Museums, gardens, zoos and even theme parks are offering virtual experiences.
Home camping trip
Whether you pitch a tent inside or in your backyard, or build an old-fashioned fort in your family room, camping at home can be a fun, low-key option for celebrating a birthday. Make s’mores and tell stories around a firepit or fireplace to add to the fun.
The “Jones” Restaurant
Turn your home into an eponymous restaurant to help celebrate a birthday or anniversary. Parents and/or children can play the role of hosts/hostess, server and chef. Make menus, add a tablecloth, flowers, candles and fine china to the table, and cue up the perfect music to set the mood. You could have your spouse “pick you up” at the front door and then walk around to the back door or “restaurant entrance” where you are greeted by children, aka restaurant employees.
Recreate your first date or meeting
A great idea to celebrate your wedding anniversary is to work together to recreate your first date or the first time you met. Dress like you did that fateful day and creatively recreate the venue in your home. During or after your date, read a love letter (written earlier) aloud to your spouse. Watch your wedding video and look at your photo album together. To go further down memory lane, write down top ten memories for each year you have been married.
Our life may look different these days, but rest assure that milestones can be well-celebrated even during a pandemic. You may end up hosting a party, graduation, anniversary or other event that is one of the best, most memorable ever. Stay safe and have fun celebrating the people you care about the most.