Birthdays can be tricky normally, let alone in isolation. The CBJ team give their ideas for how to celebrate a special day when every day feels the same.

You may have seen the ‘I’m not counting this year towards my age’ joke making the rounds on social media, shared by your distant relatives who think they’re hilarious, but the fact is we are all still getting older. On the bright side, getting older does mean one good thing – birthdays. What better way to ease the pain caused by the unstoppable force of time than by opening presents, getting drunk and just doing whatever you want?

Well, as we all know, we aren’t in a position to do whatever we want right now. Birthdays are very social days for many, and we’re currently living in a very unsocial time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time. I asked around the extended CBJ family to find out how we’d all been spending our birthdays, and hopefully you can get some inspiration.

Choose a theme

Just because you can’t leave your house, doesn’t mean you can’t have a change of scenery. Choosing a theme is a great excuse to go overboard with decorations and outfits. Today’s CBJ editor Chloe Weldon decided on a festival theme for her birthday a couple of weeks ago. “I went a bit extra,” she says. “Glitter, bucket hats, bright yellow bum-bags… classic festival attire.”

Chlofest: For her 24th birthday, Chlo threw her own festival (Source: Chlo Weldon)

“You can still celebrate your birthday in lockdown, be creative and make the most out of a bad situation. Plus, lockdown is a great excuse to have two birthdays this year!”

Unfortunately, Chloe says the weather was good that day, so it wasn’t entirely like a festival.

Just… chill?

For me, when I had my birthday on May 13, (I’m still accepting gifts, by the way) the most important thing was making it feel at least a bit different to every other day I’ve had for the past two months. So I did as much work as I could leading up to the day, so that I didn’t have to do any on the day itself. Some people took it even further.

“I wanted to have a bit of a pampering day, and wanted to do it in a way that felt like an event so it was more fun,” says freelance writer Sharn Rayment, “so I turned my spare room into a spa.”

“I even wrote an itinerary and came up with a name – Sharnpeys!”

You can get some inspiration by watching a video of Sharn’s spa here.

Get gaming

Zoom quizzes are so last month. It’s all about Zoom Pictionary now.

It wouldn’t be a lockdown article without at least one mention of Zoom. Lots of us have been doing Zoom quizzes since day one. They’re a fun way to get competitive with your friends, and having an activity to focus on eases any video-chat-related-awkwardness. But if your lockdown quiz phase is over, you can switch it up and play other games instead. For my birthday I got some friends together and played Pictionary, utilising the platform’s whiteboard function and getting up a random word generator site. It was something different, and it only caused two arguments so I consider it a win.


Who says surprise parties can’t happen during lockdown? (Source: Chloe Weaver)

With every day feeling the same, it’s hard to imagine anything surprising us. That wasn’t the case for CBJ writer Chloe Weaver, who for her birthday on May 5 had a surprise party (of sorts) in the park.

“My friends had arranged to surprise me at my window, but they saw me leaving for the park and followed me. “We drank gin (while socially distancing, of course) and had fun.

“It gave me a feeling of normality to be with them,” she says. “That was the best present of all.”

There are lots of things you can do to make your day feel at least a little bit different to every other day we’ve had for the past two months. And if you’re down about it, just remember: at least you don’t have to share your cake with anyone.