How to celebrate birthdays in self isolation


Parker Otto, Columnist

While in-person social interaction has been discouraged due to concerns of COVID-19, having a happy birthday while in self-isolation is still possible through digital interaction.

Using apps like Zoom and Houseparty to virtually contact others create the illusion of a large group without any physical contact. 

Traditional parties normally have food, drinks and cake but now, since in-person gatherings are impossible, those elements no longer seem practical. Birthdays are important not only because they signify someone turning a year older, but the day also allows people to reflect on the past year of their life and make changes for the future. When a traditional celebration of one’s birthday is suddenly not possible, it can be almost demoralizing.

However, by focusing birthday celebrations on people instead of having the fanciest decorations or food, more meaningful contact can occur.

Throwing a virtual movie night

Other ways to celebrate can include hosting a viewing party on streaming services. On Netflix, it is possible to get a Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party. With the extension, users can watch a film or television show on Netflix and create a link to share with friends. Viewers can then write comments alongside the video to maintain communication. 

When used, this link allows multiple people to watch the same entertainment at the same pace.

Another Chrome extension is Vemos which allows people to watch Netflix together and works with Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, YouTube and Disney+. This service screens viewers faces through a video chat during the programming. 

Sending birthday love

Another way to celebrate someone’s birthday can be to send care packages to them personally or mail them to their house. A simple card  with a thoughtful message, gifts and even food can make a person’s entire birthday. As long as people are being smart and maintaining social distance while wearing protective gear during these drop-offs, this can be a meaningful gesture during these uncertain times.

For those with significant others who are separated due to social distancing, one way to express your feelings is to personally drive to their house in a car decorated just for them, blasting their favorite song, or your guys song, and tell them to come to the window to see your “Happy Birthday” sign. Playing music and having the car decorated can also be added. While digital interaction is nice, seeing each other physically while maintaining distance, if safely possible, is thoughtful.

This can also be applied to family members who want to wish each other a happy birthday in person without coming into contact. Getting multiple cars together to create a parade can also be uplifting for those who are stuck indoors as long as everyone stays in their cars.

Nothing is more important than everyone’s safety during this time. So, when celebrating one’s birthday during the pandemic there are three guidelines to follow: be sincere, be creative and be safe, the latter of which is the most important.