How to Survive Quarantine Birthdays

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Ilse von Heimburg

Homemade cards are a great way to show your friends and family how much you care!

Ilse von Heimburg, Staff Reporter

Time to state the obvious: the COVID-19 pandemic has made all of our lives look a little different. It seems like every aspect of life has been changed: how we learn, how we spend our time, how we interact with people, etc. A lesser-known aspect of life that the pandemic has affected is—you guessed it—birthdays. Although it is a lot harder to celebrate birthdays normally, that does not mean they cannot still be fun! Here are some ideas as to how to celebrate your friends’ and your own birthdays that aren’t just doing a drive-by.

If you’re celebrating your own birthday: bake your own birthday cake! It can be a great project to do when stuck at home, and maybe you can pick up a new skill. Great recipes can be found anywhere online, and Pinterest is the best place for decorating inspiration. You can even make a party out of it and have a bake-off with your friends over Zoom.

Another fun way to host a birthday party safely is to have a picnic. The weather is already starting to get warmer, and soon enough it will be perfect for hanging out with friends outside. All you really need are a public park/backyard, a picnic blanket, and some friends. It could even work where each person brings something to eat, such as their favorite food or something they made themself. And this goes without saying, but remember your masks!

When asked about her own quarantine birthday experience, Sakina Zaidi (‘23) said, “We were all wearing masks the entire time and the week after the party we stayed in our homes to self-quarantine; we also don’t see anyone else except each other. I would say that you should safely celebrate your birthday and do what you are comfortable with. If you are not comfortable with meeting in person (with masks of course) then I would suggest a zoom birthday party/group FaceTime call since those can be fun.” When all else fails, you can never go wrong with just having a good old-fashioned Zoom party!

There are also nice gestures you can do to celebrate your friends’ birthdays. A personal favorite of mine is making homemade birthday cards. You may have to tap into your elementary school days of crafts, but it is a great way to show your friends how you care. And, the card can be exactly how you want it! Make it centered around your friendship, their favorite things, or even an inside joke! (I reiterate: Pinterest is the best!) If you plan on mailing the card, do so a week or two in advance—the mail system is crazy slow at the moment.

Just remember that this situation is a “for now”, not a forever. By celebrating safely, we can prevent the virus from spreading and hopefully never have to spend another birthday at home in the future. Stay safe, West!