It's not always possible to celebrate birthdays together and getting in the right mood from a distance can be a challenge.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic many more of us have used the internet to connect with friends and family remotely, but rather than hosting yet another Zoom chat, here's some ideas to help you create a special and memorable birthday celebration even when you can't be together...
1. Send a Card Signed by Everyone
Collaborate with friends, family and colleagues to create a surprise group card. Ecardforest has an amazing selection of group cards which you can sign and send together making it really special.
A pro tip: Experiment with different colours and styles to make your birthday wishes cheerful and unique.
2. Create a Collaborative Birthday Video
Creating a group birthday video is another option. Like digital greeting cards, you can invite everyone to share heartfelt wishes online and send them to the receiver in one video. It can be saved to watch again making a lovely memento for the future. Even with zero video editing skills, you can create an amazing birthday surprise using VidDay.
A pro tip: Use themes for the group video to best match the interests of the birthday person.
3. Arrange a Surprise Video Call With A Twist
Coordinate friends and family for a special birthday video call using Zoom, Google Meet or FaceTime. When everyone is ready, add the birthday person to the call for a virtual birthday surprise!
One nice idea is for each participant to prepare a sheet of paper with an assigned word from the song "Happy Birthday To You". Once on the call you all sing, taking it in turns to hold up your word in front of the camera at the appropriate time. Even if you aren't all perfectly coordinated it's still likely to be an entertaining way to send birthday wishes remotely.
A pro tip: To ensure your birthday person will be available (and not caught out in their pyjamas!), check what they are planning on the day and organise the surprise call at the best suitable time to avoid waiting too long for them to join or potentially even miss them.
4. Play a Multiplayer Online Game Together
Playing a game together online requires more planning and works better in a smaller group setting, but can be more entertaining than just a video call. You can pick an online multiplayer game that is fun and not too complex so that people, who are not into gaming can get it easily as well. Among Us is a perfect example and allows up to 10 people to join the game.
5. Arrange an Online Escape Room Game
A moderated online escape room game makes for a fun group activity, and good if your birthday person doesn't enjoy being the centre of attention.
Being online you're not limited to only the escape room themes in your local area. There's loads of themes available online so you can hopefully pick a topic that will appeal to the birthday person's interests. The group can then collaborate to solve the riddles and puzzles.
6. Wine Tasting at Home
Another remote event idea is a wine tasting at home. This requires some preplanning to arrange for multiple wines in small quantities are shipped to everyone participating in advance. To share the experience, you can create a video conference room and invite all participants. The best thing about having a wine tasting at home is that no-one needs volunteer to be the designated driver!
Create a tasting notes template and have fun as you try to describe the characteristics of each wine.
7. Host a Virtual Game Night
A virtual games night takes some planning but is a great way to inject some entertainment into a group call, especially if the participants don't all know each other.
Games that don’t require cards or a board can be easily moderated via a video call. Word guessing games are very easy and fun to play. If you prefer a card game, search for related services online.
You could also hire someone to run an online games night for you. Party Peeps (who run a party kit in Bristol UK) can host a virtual gameshow which makes for a great evening without too much planning on the part of the organiser!
Making It Special
A bit of planning is key to a successful virtual birthday event. Block out enough time to allow everyone to enjoy it to the fullest with no rush. It’s important to be clear on the planned duration in advance and inform everyone of any requirements for a smoothly run event.
Consider what the birthday person will enjoy. Even some small details will show the birthday person that you care. A thoughtful event will help to make them feel special and surrounded by friends and family even when you can't all be together.