60 Ways to Make Your Quarantine Birthday Memorable


Sweet Sixteen. Movies and Netflix shows gave sixteenth birthday parties way too much hype, especially when you're sitting on your couch eating Oreos while a pandemic continues to mind its own business. It's quite rude of the pandemic not to pause for my birthday but I've come to terms with it. An end to all of this chaos would be the best birthday present ever but when you can't even throw a birthday party it's just upsetting.

Birthdays are supposed to be special, to be beautiful days when you embrace how far you've come and how far you'll go. But you're stuck at home baking a cake for yourself and the only party invites you'll be sending are to your furniture. Sadly, my fridge won't be able to attend the celebrations on account of the fact that it is firmly planted in the kitchen but it was very kind of my couch to agree to attend.

But birthdays are still special days meant for you to feel special so throw a party hat on because it's not every day that you get this opportunity to celebrate a quarantine birthday. Look on the bright side of things, instead of thinking about how this is exactly not what you had in mind for your birthday, think about how you can take this surprise and find the best in it. Just how festive can you make your living room look? That's a challenge by the way, and as the birthday girl or birthday boy, you can't back down from a challenge.

Here's a list of fun things you can do for your birthday from the comfort of your home, and the best part is that you can do them all by yourself. It's great to call up your friends to join in on any of these activities but remember that your own company (and your furniture of course) can be amazing too. This birthday isn't about cake and fancy streamers. It's about self-love, about embracing this wacky year that you lived through and everything you're going to achieve.

  1. Bake a birthday cake: Make yourself a birthday cake, or if you've already got a cake coming, make yourself a birthday cupcake. Get your hands dirty and crack some eggs, get some flour everywhere, make a mess and wait for your mom to yell at you to clean it up but then remind her it's your birthday, and she can't yell at you.
  2. Clean up the said mess and give mom some cake.
  3. Give yourself some cake.
  4. Show your friends some cake. Be proud of your cake.
  5. Make a birthday card: When was the last time you pulled out the construction paper, crayons and glitters to sit on the floor and just cut up paper and stick it down with good old Elmer glue and make a shabby little birthday card that your parents loved you too much to criticize. Get out the stationery supplies, it doesn't have to be perfect, in fact, it should be the exact opposite. When was the last time you finger painted?
  6. Decorate your room: If you have balloons, blow them up. If you don't have balloons, make paper streamers. Work with what you have. And not just decorating your room for your birthday, decorate your room for yourself. Find posters that you like and stick them up. I have an alchemist poster above my desk, one of my friends has bible verses up on her mood board, another has quotes from the F.R.I.E.N.D.S sitcom. My personal favourite though is my best friend's post-it note wall. The idea here is to make a space that inspires you.
  7. Talk to your parents: Not the awkward oh-thank-you-for-well-giving-birth-to-me talk but the thank you for everything you've done for me talk, the one that leaves them with a smile, you with a smile and hopefully them with more conviction to buy you some more Oreo. (for extra conviction, give them some cake)
  8. Buy yourself something nice: When I say something nice, I don't mean things like clothes or shoes (though those are very nice things) but small trinkets, anything that's little and might not seem like much but you know it'll make you happier. I hoard keychains, it's something that makes me happy and I bought myself a compass keychain to remind myself that regardless of what happens, I can find my way home. (and also because it was on sale and I liked it)
  9. Wear your favourite clothes: If it's that cute sundress and you're in the middle of winter, wear it anyway. If it's a pair of pajamas that are the snuggest creation of mankind, wear it anyway. If they're clothes that are ridiculously out of trend and just don't make sense, wear it anyway. Make yourself happy, you're the birthday kid after all. If you're going to face time your friends, be prepared for the hours of trying on different clothes until they like one.
  10. Take pictures: Photography is a beautiful art and you're a beautiful person so go ahead and take pictures of yourself, or of the sky, or your fingernails, just take pictures of something, anything in fact.
  11. Get some sunshine: You might not be able to go outside, but just a couple of minutes by the window or just the sunlight streaming in through the blinds can be uplifting. If it's not a sunny day, then make your own sunshine, watch videos that make you feel warm inside. The idea here is warmth people.
  12. Watch a movie: That Disney movie from your childhood that makes you cry every time you watch it (don't lie we all cried over Mufasa and if you didn't you're just lying to yourself)
  13. Write a letter to yourself: This is actually an interesting practice that I adopted in first grade from my teacher who made us do it as an activity. The idea is that you write a letter to the future you. You can write about your goals, your hopes, your favourite ice cream flavour, just anything.
  14. Contact someone you haven't spoken to in a while: That annoying aunt who won't stop telling you to eat, or that friend from middle school you accidentally spilt food over, or that friend who somehow drifted away. One call is all it takes.
  15. Ice cream: I don't need to explain.
  16. Read a part of your favourite book: Personally, I can never re-read a book. But I do love re-reading parts of books that made me feel a special kind of way. I've read the end of The Alchemist more times than I can count even though the ending was spoiled for me before I could even read it once.
  17. Find your birthday mates: Someone out there was born on the same day as you. It might have been a famous person or some less known festival. Don't let them steal your thunder, it's your day. Be the happiest version of you today to assert dominance.
  18. Watch something that makes you laugh: Dog videos are an immediate go-to. Cat videos if that's what you're into or maybe a hilarious scene from your favourite sitcom. Laugh.
  19. Pack yourself a picnic: Even if you're going to keep it basic, some juice and a sandwich are all it takes. Pack it up and find a part of your house that's cosy. Call your friends and show off your sandwich. Show off your cake too. Try to convince them to buy you Oreo.
  20. Get a haircut: If you're in luck, you can get a coupon or discount for your birthday. Change up how you look, try something new, hair grows back and you're not really attending any important events anytime soon so just do it.
  21. Make a bucket list: An impossibly huge bucket list. Not just traveling to the Himalayas, watching an entire horror movie without flinching also counts.
  22. Switch off all devices: Unplug. Disconnect. Get a break. You can get back to retweeting happy birthday messages at the end of the day. Live here. Live now.
  23. Give to charity: It'll leave you feeling happy inside and you're helping make the world better.
  24. Stare at the sky: Declare a staring competition, whoever blinks first gets Oreo.
  25. Warm drink: Hot cocoa if that's what you're craving, extra marshmallows because you deserve it. Lemon tea, ginger chai, a frothing cup of coffee, green tea, minty spiced up lemonade, whatever you want.
  26. Detox: This is open to your interpretation, fruity drinks and yoga if that's what you want, sleeping in if that's what you need.
  27. Watch the sunrise/sunset: Because the sky deserves more attention.
  28. Organize: I picked up a couple of papers and put them on my desk and that's pretty organized to me.
  29. Meditate: Close your eyes, try not to think, try not to stress, and above all, try not to fall asleep.
  30. Make promises: Not to your mom, or dad, or friends, but to yourself.
  31. Lose yourself: In a book, in music, in a movie, in Wikipedia wormholes, just get out of this world.
  32. Be embarrassing: You know that happy dance you do on the bed in your socks while listening to a Japanese song? No? Oh well, I totally don't do that either. But if you do, then you should know that it's absolutely incredible and you can crank up that music and just be you. Stuff your face, be clumsy, be awkward, be embarrassing and don't be embarrassed about being you.
  33. Listen to yourself: No I don't mean on audio recordings, those things just make your voice unrecognizable. But as in, listen to your mind, to your body. Check in on yourself. We're not all robots, what does your body want? What is your mind trying to tell you? (Its probably oreo)
  34. Pause: Keeping on the same theme, just pause for a minute and let yourself be. Stop beating yourself up, stop expecting things, and just be.
  35. Forgive people (even the ones who stole your juicebox in preschool): Forgiveness is a noble thing. Especially if they stole a juicebox. So Kevin from my preschool in California can know that he is now officially forgiven.
  36. Declutter: Does this mean you have to move that twix wrapper that's been lying on your desk since a week? Yes.
  37. Listen to your favourite song. Then listen to it again. And again and again.
  38. Write your biggest goals: The ones that seem crazy.
  39. Dance party (not the cool kind): The funny, clutzy, dance like no one is watching because no one is watching kind.
  40. Brain dump: Everything you're thinking, just get it out. All of it.
  41. Forgive yourself: Forgiving yourself is a thousand times harder than forgiving that kid who stole your juice, but you are worthy of forgiveness. Don't be so rough on yourself. Be kind.
  42. Eat a fruit (bonus points if it's your favourite fruit): Because it's a nice thing to do.
  43. Make a book bucket list: All of those books you really should start soon.
  44. Write down your fears: Then take a long look at that paper. Then tear it up to bits and burn it. You're fearless.
  45. Say some thank yous: And then some more. There's a lot of gratitude we need.
  46. Say some sorries
  47. Remember that you're the protagonist: You are player one. You are in the driver's seat. You've got this.
  48. Find your roots: This could be a cultural search it could be about what your own personal roots are, your values, your fundamentals.
  49. Self care activity: That fancy face mask.
  50. Nap for a little while, or a long while: zzzzzzz
  51. Get yourself flowers: This is just a sweet gesture overall, and anyone who is at the receiving end of them just can't help but feel happy. So get yourself some flowers.
  52. Make a playlist: Good vibes only.
  53. Splurge but mindfully: Buy something silly.
  54. Let yourself fall apart: Let yourself feel sad, let the dark thoughts make themselves heard, cry if you need to, then put yourself back together, expel the darkness and let your thoughts know who's boss.
  55. Do something that scares you: Just go for it.
  56. Skincare: Even if your skin doesn't care.
  57. Karaoke: Call up your friends and make sure no one screen-records because this karaoke night is going to be raw and full of one direction.
  58. Make a list: Things you like about yourself. Things that give you hope.
  59. Bad day box: Make a box to open on a bad day. Put in happy things. Smile. It'll be okay.
  60. Good day box: Make a box that you can open on a good day. Fill it with blank paper and a pencil so you can write down what made you happy, how you feel, and the day overall.

At the end of the day, you're the birthday kid. This is your day, and whatever you choose to do to make your day better for you is more important than anything else. Enjoy your day and look forward to all the birthdays ahead.

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Nikhita Makam
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Nikhita Makam is a 16 year old high school student by day and a poet by night. She is author of "14 works by a 14 year old" and a writer for The Teen Magazine. Nikhita spends her time writing, reading, watching dog videos, gardening, wondering about ladybugs and battling the common enemy to all high school students: homework.