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Having a Happy Birthday…Even on Lockdown

We are all trying our best to slow down, keep our social distance, and take one day at a time. But what if one of these days happens to be your birthday?

What do you do then?
I’ll tell you because today happens to be MY birthday and even as a grown up (happily turning 38!), I still want to celebrate and I still want to continue birthday traditions as best as I can. For instance, one of my favorite birthday traditions has been a birthday dinner at the Melting Pot because melty cheese and chocolate are my favorite things to eat on my special day.

When the restaurants in Maryland closed due to the coronavirus, I decided to make my own fondue at home. Now I don’t own a fondue pot, but I set my mind to figuring it out. I found a recipe, gathered the ingredients and made a make-shift stovetop pot to melt the cheese. While the end result wasn’t quite Melting Pot quality, it still was delicious and the act of making it added a fun element to this fondue tradition. Plus I now know what to put on my birthday wish list for next year: a double-boiler!

A birthday can be special, no matter the circumstances and there are big and small ways to make it special for yourself, your kid, your parent, or your friend.

Starting small

  • A voicemail or voice text is a great way to let that person know you are thinking about them.
  • Step it up to a video call with Skype, FaceTime or Zoom. Whether you sing Happy Birthday or have a digital dance party, the birthday party is on!
  • Mail a card. Getting a little bit of snail mail brightens up anyone’s birthday.

For the Birthday KidIMG 1891 copy

  • Use that class list and contact parents of your kid’s classmates and ask them to send cards/drawings/letters to the birthday boy or girl so you can collect them in a box to wrap up.
  • Decorate inside with whatever supplies you have on hand, streamers, signs and handmade balloons.
  • Decorate outisde with ‘Happy Birthday’ signs in the yard that they can see from their bedroom window and surprise sidewalk chalk messages.
  • Ask neighbors to put signs in their windows and take a special birthday walk to see how many people are wishing them a Happy Birthday.
  • Give them a “Yes” day where they can ask for anything. Maybe it’s having ice cream for breakfast, skipping a chore or asking the whole family dressing in purple and wearing funny hats—whatever their hearts desire (within reason, of course).
  • Pull out your calendar and look forward 6 months to their half-birthday and plan to have their party or celebration with friends then.
  • Hide their gifts around the house and have them solve clues to find the next spot that a present is hiding.
  • Create a fancy meal (even if it is just mac and cheese) by dressing up, lighting candles and drinking from fancy glasses.
  • March (or drive!) in your own birthday parade by decorating your car and driving through your neighborhood with the windows down and playing loud music to announce that today is your special day.
  • OR recruit friends to drive by and wave to the birthday kid!

Whether it’s your special day or you are making it special for someone else, get creative and spread some cheer!

—Claire Dougherty Kovacs

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