Stuck at Home? 10 Ideas for a Socially Distant Birthday Celebration

Just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate a birthday.

I’d argue that celebrating a birthday is more important than ever before.

During these unprecedented times, celebrating birthdays signifies that at least some aspects of life are still normal.  This is important for all of us, and even more so for children who are looking to adults for reassurance.


  • Birthdays are a celebration of life.  
  • Birthdays make people feel special. 
  • Celebrating birthdays has positive mental health benefits. (Click here to learn the long-term benefits of birthdays.)
  • Birthdays provide an excuse to let the special people in our lives know how much they mean to us.

 Social Distancing: Birthdays in Your Home

Being confined to our homes poses a variety of challenges.  

There's navigating space with other family members, trying to keep conference calls free of pet or kid noises, timing the grocery store run so that there's actually milk and toilet paper in stock...

One of the biggest issues of all? Boredom!  

Most of us have full, active lives with job, extracurricular, kid and social commitments.  The notion of staying home for days at a time is the exception and not the norm.

Since most of our stimulation comes from activities outside our home, staying mentally and physically engaged INSIDE the home can be something we've never had to do for days, let alone, weeks or months at a time.

One of the best ways to beat back boredom is with novelty.  Our brains are wired to crave new experiences, which is why we tend to remember "firsts" (like our first trip away from home, first boss, first kiss, etc.) much better than second or third time.

Even with troubling news reports, YOU have the power to make someone's birthday the MOST MEMORABLE one ever.  

Not sure where to begin?  Here are 10 ideas to get you started on how to celebrate someone's birthday at home.  Pick one--or more--and help the birthday person feel the love!

 10 Ways to Have a Fun Birthday When You're Stuck at Home 

  1. Design a card for the birthday person.  Whether you use your artistic talents or copy/paste something you found online, it’s the effort that counts.  (Need tips for what to say in a birthday card?  Click here for ideas).

homemade birthday gift 

  1. Make a photo collage by printing out pictures or using ones you have on hand.  Arranging photos in the shape of a smiley face requires little to no creative skill.

photo collage for stay at home birthday

  1. Plan to Facetime or Skype friends and family.  Send a note to each person ahead of time and have them start the call by singing “Happy Birthday” to the person.

Skype a birthday call

  1. Perform a household chore(s) in honor of the birthday person, preferably something they don’t like doing. Maybe that’s taking out the trash, filing bills or changing their bed sheets. A selfless act is a lovely way to show you care. 

Washing dishes as an act of service on her birthday

  1. Hide the person’s gifts. Create clues to lead them to the loot. The hunt will add to the entertainment...and make the gift that much sweeter!

magnifying glass 

  1.  Serve birthday cake: for breakfast! 

birthday cake

  1. Organize a trivia game where all the questions are about the birthday celebrant.  (Check out our birthday trivia worksheet here.)


  1. Surprise them with happy birthday messages around the house.   The more unexpected the hiding spot---inside the microwave, on the seat of their car, on their laptop screen, the TV remote---the better.

i love you sticky note 

  1. Have the whole family play that board/card/sporting game that only the Birthday Person ever likes to play.

Scrabble game 

  1. Create a truly special birthday dinner experience. Make the person’s favorite meal and serve it in the dining room on the “good" China” that’s usually only reserved for Thanksgiving or company. Bonus points if everyone gets dressed up.

Dining table for birthday party

While it would be nice to come and go as we please, especially on our birthdays, it's still possible to have a great day at home.

Since you're at home, why not take a moment and send a birthday card to someone?  They'll be thrilled to get it!  Get tips on what to write in that birthday card here.

Stuck at Home? Ideas for Celebrating a Socially Distant Birthday-Birthday Butler