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Birthdays from a distance

As we near the first anniversary of quarantine, January and February babies, who previously bragged about their optimal birthday date, will join the rest of the world in celebrating their birthday at home. Birthdays have been modified to fit the ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions in Los Angeles. At the moment, Los Angeles has ended the stay at home order but is still encouraging people to avoid gathering in large groups and to continue practicing social distancing guidelines. We’ve all had to be creative in planning festivities, and had our fair share of successes and failures. As a party planner-lover, I’m here to give you my top recommendations on the best ways to celebrate safely. 

#1 Picnics (socially distanced, of course) 

Socially distanced picnics are all the rage right now and for good reason. They allow for personal connection and conversation while getting away from the mundane hours spent at your computer screen. You have probably seen many TikToks of aesthetic spreads of charcuterie and cottagecore-themed clothing, often set up specifically for these socially distanced picnics, but the options for decoration really are endless. Shortly after Halloween, Sofia ‘24 stuck to the theme with a pumpkin carving picnic while Cassidy ‘23 was surprised with a food-fest sweet 16 bash in her front yard. This is my personal favorite way to celebrate, and besides the fact that you and your friends are toasting sparkling apple cider glasses from six feet away, this almost feels like a normal birthday.

#2 Drive bys 

Drive bys, which consist of friends holding posters and banners while singing from the safety of their car, have also been a popular way to honor the birthday person. Georgia ‘25 thought her own drive by was a great way to capture the lively nature that is reminiscent of pre-COVID celebrations. But sadly there is a limit to how many times you can U-turn on a person’s street, and drive bys just don’t allow you to spend enough time with your loved one on their special day. There is the option of getting out of your car and talking from six feet away, but be warned: this is exceptionally awkward for both parties, and your designated driver parent will probably sit in their car, irritated at you for taking so long. 

#3 Zoom Calls

And last, we come to my least favorite option: a Zoom call. No hate to anyone celebrating over Zoom for their big day, but sometimes there is nothing less I would like to do than stare at a screen for another hour out of the day. There are ways to make it special and less tedious, like how Ondine ‘23 was surprised by her friends holding up happy birthday signs and letters on the zoom call. Other ideas for zoom activities are organizing computer games, like trivia, escape rooms and Kahoot, because competition between friends is always fun, even miles apart. But a Zoom call will never measure up to interacting with your friends in-person, which, to me, is the best part of birthdays.

As of now, socially distanced picnics reign superior as the best birthday celebration option. Maybe you will take away an idea for your next birthday celebration, but I think once COVID is over, every single one of us will be dying for a hands-on celebration filled with hugging, kisses and blowing out birthday candles.