It's the most special day of the year! Christmas! (Kidding! Of course we know it's your birthday (opens in new tab).) When it comes to marking another year on Mother Earth, you deserve to have everyone you love in one place, loudly celebrating you and only you—but in our current state of coronavirus quarantine, this year is going to look a little different. Before you go thinking that your special day is going to get a one-star rating, might we suggest scrolling on down? Thanks to video service apps like Zoom (opens in new tab) and Houseparty (opens in new tab), having your friends virtually celebrate your birthday in a fun and special way is easier than you think.
I put together some options for giving the VIP treatment to yours (or someone else's) special day. I've broken them down into two categories: Those the kids will take a liking to, and activities for those a little older. And if you're in a crunch for time to get a present before the big virtual bash, check out our recs for last-minute gifts here. (opens in new tab)
Virtual Birthday Ideas for Adults
Get a little bit spooky this birthday and get your future predicted! After all, a new age does usher in a new chance to start over (kinda). LA-based Kira Von Sutra (opens in new tab) offers remote readings, either individually or as a group. If you have six guests, she charges $30 for 15 minutes.
Pop Some Bottles (Virtually)
Send a nice bottle of sparkling wine using deliver services like Winc (opens in new tab). You can send them as many bottles as you feel they need to celebrate appropriately.
Color Your Birthday Away
Release some stress, celebrate yourself (or a friend), and color in photos of hot dudes during a group Zoom session. Sometimes, instead of a wild birthday, a relaxing one is equally as memorable.
Send a Sweet Treat
No birthday celebration is complete without a group of your loved ones singing you "Happy Birthday" while you awkwardly smile as you look at your birthday cake! Recreate one of life's greatest moments by sending them a sweet treat. Services like Cheryl's Cookies (opens in new tab) offer tons of different packages of sweet treats that can be ready to eat once you get them off your doorstep.
Make Them a Video You Can All View
Practice your editing skills and get all your friends in on a little digital secret. Have them send you a 30-second message of why the birthday person is so great, and host the viewing party over a virtual call. Bonus points if you include one of these sappy songs (opens in new tab)!
Buy Them a Birthday Dinner (From Afar)
If you and your bestie are separated by a few hundred—or thousand—miles this year, send them a celebratory dinner in the mail. Sites like Goldbelly (opens in new tab) make it possible for restaurants to ship their most famous fare nationwide. Now you can ship pasta from her favorite place in New York to her home in Los Angeles.
Host Your Very Own Game Show
Have you or your friends ever dreamed of being on Family Feud or The Weakest Link? Sites like Game Night In (opens in new tab) give you the game show experience without every having to leave your living room. Split your party into teams for a night of friendly competition.
Book a Mixology Class
Course Horse (opens in new tab) offers tons of different virtual classes that your friend group can do together. If you've ever wanted to learn how to make more than just a simple gin and tonic or vodka soda, this mixology course (opens in new tab)is perfect.
Virtual Birthday Ideas for the Younger Crowd
SkyZone Virtual Party
Right now, the trampoline party company is offering free 20-minute parties hosted by Sky Zone (opens in new tab) employees that will guide them through 15-20 minutes of games, active play, and singing "Happy Birthday."
All you have to do is sign up for the waitlist (they're currently booked through May) and choose 10 other people to invite. Sky Zone then sets up the Zoom link and everything. Score!
Organize a Parade
Not as extreme as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, but we promise it'll come close! The birthday kid in question probably has friends nearby, whether from school or after school activities. Set up a parade route hitting all those special spots and have his or her friends make signs in support so the special guest can be all smiles when driving by.
Select a couple of friends, send them each a Lego set in the mail, and hop on a video call so everyone can create together! It's an activity that doesn't require them to stare at a screen endlessly, and will get their creative juices flowing. Just double-check there aren't any spare pieces lying around when they're done. You really don't want to step on one of those.
Stream a Film
In a perfect world, you would take a sugar-laden trip to the movies to see your favorite Disney flick. (opens in new tab) Instead, hop on a Zoom call, share your screen from your Disney+ account, and get ready for smiles all around. If you have the means, send a care package of movie theatre snacks to all the kids participating in helping to make the experience feel real.
Host a Remote Sleepover
Staying over at a friend's house when you were younger went two ways: 1) you stuck it out and spent the night or 2) you panicked and called one of your parents in the middle of the night to pick you up. Avoid all the drama altogether and have the guest of honor get on a call with their BFFs to watch a movie using the Netflix Party extension (opens in new tab), so they can chat during a flick, create homemade face masks (opens in new tab), and more.
Have a Games Night
Jackbox (opens in new tab) has games for crowds of every age. Consider playing Fibbage, the game where your friends try to guess your lies, or Quiplash, a trivia game. You're almost guaranteed to find a few options for your party.
Host a Talent Show
Send around a sign up sheet and turn the parents into a judges' panel. From singing to dancing to poetry, let each of your friends show off their super secret—ot not-so-secret–skill. Award person with the top score a tiny trophy or cupcake to celebrate their achievement.
Bianca Rodriguez is the Fashion & Luxury Commerce Manager at Hearst Magazines, covering fashion, beauty, and more for Cosmopolitan, Elle, Esquire, Harper’s BAZAAR, and Town & Country. She likes lounging about with a good book and thinks a closet without platform sneakers is a travesty.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Could "Absolutely" Be Stripped of Their Royal Titles If Their Docuseries Damages the Firm: Expert
By Iris Goldsztajn
Kate Middleton Was a Holiday Princess in Red Sequins and a Delicate Tiara
By Iris Goldsztajn
Meghan Markle Won 2 Awards in One Night for 'Archetypes' and Archewell
She's literally collecting them at this point.
By Iris Goldsztajn
The 11 Best Inflatable Pools for Your Hot Girl Summer
This one's a scorcher.
By Julia Marzovilla
The 28 Best Games to Play on Zoom Right Now
Get ready to put your game face on.
By Bianca Rodriguez
15 Best Vintage Decor Stores to Shop on Instagram
It's as simple as sliding into a DM!
By Susanna Hayward
25 Candles That Look Just as Good as They Smell
How many candles is too many candles? (Asking for a friend.)
By Rachel Epstein
The 6 Best Air Fryer Toaster Ovens
Shop these top-tested toaster ovens that can do it all, from air frying to toasting, baking to broiling.
By Nicole Papantoniou, Good Housekeeping Institute
12 Games to Play With Friends While Quarantined
The ultimate bragging rights? Winning game night.
By Bianca Rodriguez