Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Celebrations in the time of coronavirus: Families find creative ways to observe birthdays, etc.


Social distancing and shelter-in-place have made it increasingly hard for families to celebrate special occasions in the usual ways. Congregating in large groups, renting public spaces and traveling have indefinitely been put on hold, also putting a pause on celebrating birthdays, graduations, anniversaries and the like. Despite that, families have risen to the challenge with creative ideas:


Zoom Party: Invite family and friends to a Zoom (or other online platform) celebration! Bake a cake for the honoree or support a local bakery with pickup or delivery options, sing a festive song and make a wish! You can also coordinate a dinner party or work with your child’s educator to get your class together for a birthday singalong. If your child has a special teacher or principal, ask them to call in or schedule a 1:1 chat.

Honk Honk: Have a car parade! Coordinate with family and friends to surprise your special one with a visit to your home, from their car! Observe social distancing, but still see joyful faces in honor of the special day.

Streamers, balloons, extra décor! Break into any leftover decorations you can find, or make some of your own, to make your home festive for the celebration. Decorate the bedroom, the front door, and even your yard to recognize the person you’re celebrating.

You’ve got mail! Ask friends and family to send cards and messages for your loved one. Share the sweetness throughout the day. It’s lovely to hear from the people you love.

Make it a YES day! Ice cream for breakfast, you got it! Stay up an extra 15 minutes? Yes! Let your child choose the foods and activities for the day (within reason) and they’ll be sure to make it a day they’ll (and you’ll) never forget.

Themed/fancy dinner: Mom and Dad can play maitre d', support a local restaurant by ordering in, and celebrate like you’re eating out. Make it a date night and check out the family meal options from places like Matthews Winery and DeLille Cellars. Get the kids to bed early and celebrate with your loved one, even if it is just for surviving the day.

Slumber Party: Coordinate a big slumber party with friends over Zoom or any chat service. Pull the mattresses together, watch the same movie, eat ice cream and stay up late. Younger children can make a fort or put up a tent together. Camp out for the night to make it extra special (indoors or out).

Virtual Parties: A lot of great companies are offering virtual parties, some for free and others at a cost. If you want to have a princess party, check out Amazing Fairytale Parties, now offering video calls and princess-led virtual readalouds. Into magic and want to wow a crowd? Book a virtual show with Nate Jester, Ace of Illusions!

Go in for the hunt: A scavenger hunt! Leave some clues for some indoor and outdoor fun. Lead your family on the chase for a very special prize at the end. Prizes can be as simple as seeing a favorite movie or having cake and ice cream at the end of the day.

Dance party! Throw on some of your favorite tunes (ones from your birth/anniversary year, too!) and dance the night away (or up until bedtime for the kiddos). A great way to have some fun, laugh, move your body, and celebrate.


Jasmin Thankachen is an Eastside mom of two boys and a contributing writer. She also writes the Seattle’s Child newsletter: At Home with JasminSubscribe here to read more.


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