Some events in our lives are too treasurable to postpone—even during a pandemic that prevents large gatherings. For events like birthdays, weddings, and other life events, people have cleverly managed to improvise ways to keep these celebrations going. Here’s how many across the U.S. are adapting their traditions and celebrations to life during COVID-19.
Are you trying to have a birthday party when it’s recommended you stay at home? It’s hard when trips and parties are curtailed as restrictions and social distancing measures to prevent the virus spread are in effect. But this is one of those events many just can’t miss.
No cake and ice cream with friends is a real downer. Especially for a milestone birthday for a child. Here are some recent efforts by parents to not let the pandemic stop them from keeping the fun going.
- Set up a Zoom party to see family and friends virtually. Choose a theme and order a party in a box. Many companies deliver unique party-ware, balloons and the decor you need to make this work. Guests can send presents in the mail.
- At home with family? Have your COVID-19 cake and eat it, too.
- Line up a drive by parade. Set up a parade route hitting all those special spots. Have his or her friends’ honk, cheer and make signs in support so the special guest can be all smiles when they drive by.
- Instead of opening wrapped presents, make it a straight-out opening of Amazon boxes.
- Organize a Lego party. Select a couple of friends, send them each a Lego set in the mail, and hop on a video call so everyone can create together.
- Host a remote sleepover. Put on your favorite pajamas and make a pillow fort.
- Party on from your living room. Trampoline party company SkyZone lets you book 30-minute virtual parties with games, active play, and singing “Happy Birthday.” It’s all set up using a special Zoom video link.
- Stream a Disney film. You can’t go see a summer blockbuster at the theater. So instead, share the entertainment using one of several apps, extensions, and websites that let you sync up your Netflix streams.
Perhaps a bigger challenge during the Social Distancing Era is organizing an adult’s birthday celebration. Here are some ways to make some amazing memories.
- Color Away Pandemic Chaos! Order and send some personalized birthday-themed adult coloring books to relieve stress, helping us all deal with the craziness of this world.
- Create a moment of sweet joy for your loved ones when they need it most. Services like Mrs. Fields offer different packages of treats, candies or snacks that can be ready to eat once you get them off your doorstep. 23 more gift ideas here.
- Pop Some Virtual Wine Bottles. Use a service such as the Winc Wine Club to send an exclusive bottle or box, tailored to your birthday boy or girl’s tastes with delivery right to their door.
- How good are your video skills? Practice your editing as you get friends to send you a recorded message of why the guest of honor is so great. Then host the party, compiling all the messages via a virtual call.
More and more couples are opting for a virtual wedding live from lockdown. At a recent wedding in Dallas, Texas, the happy couple planned for a group of 150 onlookers at a beautiful church ceremony. Instead of in church, they said their “I dos” in front of a small group of ten in their backyard. Afterwards, guests surprised the newlyweds with a drive-by caravan reception.
Travel to your most exotic destination using a company that makes a Zoom wedding easy for you. Many will set the vibe by offering virtual emcee and DJ services. Want to go to the Caribbean? Cancun? Many of these firms will offer collections of the best Zoom backgrounds for the world’s most popular tie-the-knot destinations.
If you’re the do-it- yourself type, wedding planning site Simply Eloped has some free backgrounds to choose from.
Followers of different faiths mark their calendars with their respective holy days for the year for special times of celebration. These commemorations have deep significance. Normally, the communities would gather in a large group to celebrate together. Not this year.
For centuries, the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover, the Seder is a ritual performed by a community or by multiple generations of a family, involving a retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. This past April, self-described liberal rabbi, Shlomo Segal, took his Brooklyn congregation’s Seder online, broadcasting on YouTube. The feast included reading, drinking wine, telling stories, eating special foods, singing, and other Passover traditions. Segal called his virtual celebration event “an invention born of necessity.”
Many churches hosted Easter services this spring on online platforms. This was true for Holy Spirit Episcopal Church in Belmont, Michigan. While past celebrations included live music and worship services, this time the church used Zoom and Facebook Live platforms and coordinated with musicians to perform remotely. According to Reverend Nurya Parish “My hope is for the congregation to hear and realize that Easter does not depend on us getting dressed up and going to church,”…”We depend on Easter and its message of hope and resurrection and new life. That message is valid today and valid on Easter Sunday, no matter how we celebrate it.”
Next Up: Independence Day
In the name of freedom, our nation’s birthday is here, and it’s a big celebratory day. Some traditional activities might not be well-suited for 2020’s version of the 4th of July. Your local fireworks or celebrations may be canceled. Fortunately, there are creative ways to adapt some Independence Day activities to still be able to join in on the fun.
- Enjoy a lively feast with your neighbors. You may not be able to host a big backyard cookout this year, but you can still get your grill on, with the now infamous front yard barbecue. You can participate, or just people-watch.
- Whip up a simple patriotic dessert. Food news website Delish.com has 30 recipes to try. How about some Firecracker Strawberries, or some Flag Cake?
- Get all crafty and create mini-flags and other decorations to hang everywhere! Make a paper pinwheel. Paint your tablecloth with stars and stripes.
- Organize a revolutionary-style karaoke. Plug in some Bluetooth speakers and sing along to your favorite songs about the U.S. of A. You can do it while watching past parades and fireworks on TV.
Resources: 13News Now (WVEC), CNBC LLC, Tribune Publishing, DailyCaring, LLC, Hearst Magazine Media, Inc., the Rice Thresher, Wedding Ideas Magazine, Microsoft News, DMG Media, Insider, Inc.