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Ways to Celebrate Birthdays During Lockdown

With my birthday right around the corner, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how I can have a fun, safe celebration given the current lockdown. I've realized that even though we are all facing a difficult and uncertain time, there are still plenty of ways to make a birthday celebration special. While options may be limited compared to previous years, I put together this list of ideas to inspire those looking for some birthday inspiration!

Have a game night/movie night

If you’re living with roommates or family, a great way to spend a birthday at home is organizing a game night. Or, if games aren’t your thing, a movie night! Set up the kitchen table or living room with card games, board games, puzzles, or any other activity. Watch a movie together or go the extra mile – set up a projector and build a cozy pillow fort. This type of activity offers variety and is a great way to spend quality time with your loved ones.

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Have a home/spa day

Take a bath or a long, hot shower, give yourself a mani-pedi, try out a new face or hair mask. Self-care is so important, yet we often neglect ourselves in favor of our busy schedules. Your birthday is the perfect excuse to take a step back from your tasks/obligations and put yourself first, doing what feels right to you at the moment.

Spend time in nature

Visiting a beach or hiking on a nature trail is a beautiful way to spend your birthday, just make sure to maintain social distancing and abide by any government protocols and mandates in place! This way, you can still plan to have a fun day outdoors. If you attempt to stay safe outdoors by avoiding large crowds, there is no reason not to take a few hours to breathe in the fresh air and explore nature, take a walk, or relax on the beach. Of course, it is vital to check with the county and/or park you intend to visit to ensure you know the safety protocol.

Go (backyard) camping

If you’re the outdoorsy type, try setting up your tent in the backyard for fun! Set up some string lights and build a little makeshift campsite that will set your special day apart.

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Have a socially distant picnic

Having a picnic with your favorite foods and good company is a great way to spend your birthday, whether it be in your backyard, a friend's yard, or at a public park that permits it. This activity is flexible, as you can picnic with your household, your closed bubble of contacts, or with other friends at a distance.

Organize a video call with friends and family

A group video call or one-on-one conversations are the best virtual supplement to spending time with loved ones in-person. If this year you are required to celebrate your birthday alone, do not live with roommates or family, or do not have a closed bubble of friends, know that this is only temporary and you are not alone. Thankfully, most of us are lucky enough to have the ability to stay connected with our loved ones via virtual technologies. You could even watch a movie together on your computers while video-chatting on your phones or organize a watch party via an external application.

Not every birthday has to be spectacular. After all, most of us are very lucky and get quite a lot of them throughout our lives. This year, like in 2020, many of us will face the reality of spending our birthdays in ways we otherwise would not have. Even so, we always have the choice to make the best of any situation. In hindsight, sometimes it’s exactly these little things that end up being the most special.

Chantal is a junior at UC Davis, where she is pursuing a BA in Communication and Art History. She is half-German and spends most of her breaks in Hamburg, Germany, her second home. Along with writing, her passions include photography, travel, and sustainability. In her free time you'll find her training for a marathon or trying out a new vegan recipe.
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