If you had a birthday since March this year, you’ll undoubtedly have felt the impact of lockdown restrictions on whatever celebrations you had planned. And from Thursday 5th November, its more of the same, with non-essential businesses closed and households mostly banned from mixing until at least December. Not really the news that will put you in the mood for a party.
But for those with a loved one marking a milestone during this time, or having a birthday themselves, don’t despair – there are still lots of lovely ways to toast the occasion from a distance: think food, drink and merriment aplenty, even if it has to be enjoyed through a screen. Here are some of our favourite creative lockdown birthday ideas to help you celebrate in style.
Lockdown birthday ideas for 2020 and beyond
You can still set the scene for a lockdown birthday even if you’re not there in person – sites like Moonpig, Bloonaway and Bubblegum Balloons will all deliver inflated balloons to their door. They make a great background for the days Zoom calls, or a memorable Insta pic.
Host a quiz
You may be feeling a little fatigued by Zoom quizzes after the first round earlier this year, but for a birthday, you can do a quiz with a difference. Theme the questions around the birthday boy or girl by using trivia about the day or year they were born – movies, music, news events, celebrities born on the same day… you get the idea. They’ll love the personal touch (and you’ll love watching everyone else scratch their heads over the particularly tricky questions).
Or a group movie night
Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party) is a clever service that allows you to stream movies simultaneously with other households, provided you all have a membership, of course. Popcorn at the ready!
Arrange a virtual experience
The beauty of virtual experiences is that you can enjoy them from anywhere around the world – take a virtual museum tour or watch a West End show or Royal Ballet, all from the comfort of your sofa. For something more interactive for a larger (remote) group, check out virtual murder mystery games, or take a look at Airbnb’s online experience offering, which encompasses everything from cookery lessons to magic shows.
Get a celebrity message
Websites like Cameo and Celebrity Video Messages allow you to pay their favourite star a fee for a personalised message – yes, they’ll say whatever you want them to say (within reason!) It’s the perfect surprise and an unusual lockdown birthday gift idea that they can treasure forever – and it doesn’t come as expensive as you might think, with prices for some names as little as £20.
Deliver something delicious
If you want to think outside of the (cake) box, check out the Insta-famous artisan cookies from Creme London, brownies from Cutter & Squidge or doughnuts from Doughnut Time, all of which offer nationwide delivery.
Arrange an afternoon tea
Speaking of cake, if their dream birthday would have involved afternoon tea at a fancy hotel, why not recreate the experience at home? Check out our list of afternoon tea deliveries which can be posted across the country – you could even order yourself a box too and dial in to a Zoom call so you can all tuck in together. Bonus points if you include a bottle of champagne!
Set up a drinks delivery
Wine delivery services have positively boomed since the first lockdown, and one of their boxes would make a wonderful gift for a vino fan. Alternatively, there are also plenty of professional level cocktail making kits which can be sent in the post too, if they’d prefer an at-home happy hour.
Whip up a restaurant quality dinner
Restaurants are once again pivoting to home delivery, as the non-essential business rule forces them to close their doors, so for foodies this could be the way to go. As a starting point, we’d suggest Dishoom’s bacon roll naan kits for brunch, or Homeslice pizza for dinner, both of which can be sent out nationwide, but it’s worth having a scour of the website of their most-loved local restaurant as you may be able to tailor it to their tastes even more closely.
Post a letterbox gift
Worried they’re going to be out when your gift arrives? Letterbox gifts are the answer. These genius presents are all designed to slot directly through the door so even if they miss the postman, they’ll have something lovely waiting for them upon their return – there’s everything from flowers and cheese to craft kits and book parcels. Another great lockdown birthday gift idea is care packages, which are thoughtfully curated and come at a range of price points to suit every budget.
Last but not least, send a card
We know, we know, you would have done this anyway, but don’t settle for a standard message – this year deserves something a little more creative. Here are some of our favourites that are guaranteed to raise a smile (even if it’s a wry one).