40th Birthday Ideas During Pandemic – Birthdays are a big deal in my house. We usually celebrate by inviting lots of friends, sharing great food and wine, and partying until noon.
But when my husband Don’s birthday came around this year, we were as stuck as everyone else, and creativity was needed. So, the night before I posted love poems around the house, baked his mom’s famous chocolate cake, and planned a surprise Zoom birthday ritual with some close friends who held candles and sent him emails. congratulations.
40th Birthday Ideas During Pandemic
Why go to all the trouble? As with weddings and other rituals, birthday parties are bigger than a person. They bring friends and family together and strengthen the bonds that make up our community. They remind us that we do not face our mortality alone. They’re a great excuse to eat cake.
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We will all celebrate a birthday (or maybe two or three) under the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. Even if this subsides, we may not be ready to give up large social gatherings. While some might not mind a birthday going unnoticed—
In a UK study, researchers asked people to describe their birthday celebrations and how the celebrations affected them in two moments.
They’ve come to some interesting conclusions: The rituals associated with birthdays — like giving cards and gifts or sharing cakes or meals — imbue them with importance and meaning. They provide a sense of “shared continuity”—that is, the feeling that we’re all going through life together—that helps us feel less focused on our individual aging.
Celebrating birthdays also makes us feel loved, which can be a great way to improve our mental health, especially during times of stress. And birthdays can be especially important for children, helping them understand the concept of aging, boosting their self-esteem, and reinforcing their sense of belonging to the family.
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Birthdays (and other temporary signs) can also be a time to reevaluate our lives. Research suggests that birthdays help motivate people to make important changes, such as exercising more or starting a healthier diet, and pursuing purposeful life goals. Birthdays apparently help us leave behind our “old self” in favor of an evolving future self, which helps us move forward in life.
Of course, birthdays often give us the opportunity to engage in communal rituals—emotional group gatherings that can help us transcend the present moment and deepen our connection with others. Research shows that shared rituals make us feel part of a larger social identity, suggesting that it can be hard for us to miss these rituals.
So what can we do to keep people safe right now and keep those benefits? Here are some guidelines to follow.
Birthdays are an opportunity to let people know they are special to you. That’s why I wanted Don’s friends to show their appreciation for his birthday. He filled the otherwise mundane Zoom meeting with more meaning and emotional resonance.
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Amber M. of Novato, Calif., didn’t expect to do much for her 31st birthday, which fell just two weeks away. But her sister, her daughter and her aunt created a birthday car parade in which friends drove around her neighborhood in cars decorated with signs and balloons, blaring their radios or leaning out of their sunroofs to catch a glimpse of her as she she watched from her backyard. Some threw out her thoughtful gifts, such as potting soil and toilet paper, which were hard to come by in the early days of the lockdown.
“It was one of the most wonderful things that ever happened to me,” says Amber. “She made me so happy.”
Later, Amber was surprised to learn that this show of love affected her neighbors as well. Many of them wanted to get to know her and her husband better and thought that anyone who brings that much enthusiasm to a birthday must be good and worth approaching.
The parade was filmed and posted on Facebook, which meant she could watch it for the next few months whenever she felt the outbreak was winding down.
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“Whenever I start to feel bad about not being able to see friends and do the things I want to do, I look at it and it lifts my spirits,” says Amber.
First and foremost, birthdays are an opportunity to let people know that they are part of a community of caring people, which is what made Amber’s party so special. Since we feel most connected when we’re in each other’s presence, it’s a good idea for people to actually get together in person, even if it means being physically distant.
Seventeen-year-old An-lin S. of Flemington, New Jersey threw a drive-in party that involved friends gathering at the birthday girl’s house and hanging out to chat, gossip and share cookies. Although the girls stood five feet apart and wore gloves and masks most of the time, the union let the celebrant know that she mattered.
“As human beings, we need to be together,” An-lin says. “Because it was everyone’s first time around, it was special.
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While 20-year-old Aidan G. of Kensington, California was home from college due to COVID, his girlfriend put together a video of college friends wishing him a happy birthday and sharing gratitude, which really got him touched. Later, her mother invited six local friends to drop by the house and hang out on the front lawn, sit around a fire and make s’mores.
“My birthday was surprisingly good, better than I expected, because I felt connected to people, even if everyone had to maintain social distance,” says Aidan. “I’ve been told that people care about me.
Surprises can give people a boost of energy and give them a sense of vitality which can be especially helpful right now. So, for her son, Anne S. of Berkeley, California, on her 14th birthday, she invited her friends, family, and a few teachers to send in a video wishing each other happy birthday. She even asked her oldest daughter to put it together in a fun slideshow with music to share with him on her real birthday.
Angela J. of Los Angeles, California attended a surprise Zoom birthday party for an aunt who lives in Philadelphia who was turning 90. More than 80 family and friends from across the country joined the call to send their best wishes and gratitude. One uncle even created a special online presentation for the call that included live and recorded music, as well as dance and poetry performances. .
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Of course, the most important thing in creating any kind of celebration is knowing the birthday recipient’s likes and dislikes and what matters most to them. It may take a little more planning during lockdown to do something that resonates with the celebrant and still keeps everyone safe from harm.
Even so, it makes sense to hold festivals like these during COVID. Missing out on social rituals can be detrimental to our well-being, making us feel less connected to others and less united in purpose. Conversely, continuing with important rituals, such as celebrating birthdays, can build the positive emotions, social connections, and sense of control over our lives that we need during these stressful and uncertain times.
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