How to make lockdown birthdays actually fun

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With local lockdowns being put into place across the country, many people will be facing the dilemma of how to celebrate a birthday from the comfort of their own homes. And while it won’t involve lavish meals out or a wild night out in the club, there are plenty of ways to celebrate a special occasion from home. From champagne brunches to DIY afternoon tea, here are some ideas of ways to mark your birthday in lockdown. By Emma Irving.

1. Plan a treasure hunt

Have you already purchased a birthday gift? Why not make it extra special and add an element of surprise? Place post-it notes and clues throughout the house and lead the birthday boy or girl slowly to the place where you have hidden the gift. If you have not thought of a gift yet, you can purchase a gift card or a ‘staycation’ package for use after the lockdown ends. You can even go that extra mile and prepare a gift from scratch- think photo albums, a handwritten letter or postcards, or other things inspired by the memories you’ve made together. 

2. Throw a virtual murder mystery party

Check out The Digital Murder Mystery Co. for download-ready parties, immersive evenings and bespoke soirées – all of which are specifically designed for entertaining online. There are a wide range of pre-crafted murder mystery themes to choose from: travel to exotic 1960s Acapulco and party with the Mexican elite, join an American circus or dance the night away at a glamorous Gatsby-esque party. Alternatively, organisers can bring bespoke ideas to life.

3. Bring the fancy restaurant to you 

With so many high-end restaurants now offering delivery it’s possible to do some beautiful wining and dining at home. London’s stellar takeaway offering now includes Nobu Old Park Lane, COYA Mayfair, Ollie Dabbous’ HIDE, Hakkasan, Gloria, and Circolo Popolare (aka some pretty delish spots). Set the table with your finest (only?) cutlery, crack open that bottle of Tesco wine, light some candles and feast away fuss-free. It’s a great way to support the hospitality business too.

4. Pub quiz, but not as you know it 

The one and only pub quiz I actually enjoyed over lockdown no. 1 was one I did with my closest uni mates for my birthday. We each prepared a topic on questions that were based on our friendships – ‘embarrassing drunken moments’, ‘great and not-so-great loves’, pubs in our uni town, etc etc. I strongly recommend doing the same, with an added section on the birthday boy or girl of course. 

5. Have a low-key high tea

Your kitchen may not look like The Ritz, but knowing you’ve made everything from scratch will make a DIY high tea taste that little bit sweeter. Check out a guide to making one here, featuring information on proper tea drinking alongside a selection of recipes, from sandwiches to scones to sweet treats. Drinking bubbly and eating cake in the afternoon sounds like a pretty good birthday to me…

6. Want to make wishing happy birthday a bit more special, given you can’t do it in person? Check out Cameo…

Its roster of celebs – think comedians, sports players, and Reality TV stars – can be enlisted to record a personalised happy birthday message, for as little as £8. I’m just waiting for Brad Pitt to pop up on it. 

… Or, inspire happy tears with a b’day video

If you’re trying to make the day special for someone close to you but a surprise birthday bash with everyone they know isn’t possible, ask the people you would invite to send in a video message instead. Brush up on those basic iMovie skills (or pay an app to do it for you – https://www.vidday.com/video-maker/birthday-video) and keep your fingers crossed for those tears of emosh happiness.