Make this year’s celebration unique!
When COVID-19 first struck, nobody could predict it would last this long. At least that’s what I thought when we took a short break in Mumbai over the Chinese New Year holidays. Two weeks later, we had to extend it further and then yet again. We only got back to Hong Kong by the end of February because my elder son had his oral IGCSE exams coming up and we were gearing up to celebrate both of my sons’ birthdays back home with their friends.
All those who know me can vouch for just how much a birthday means to me. It comes once a year and carries the magic and mystery of another whole year ahead. Whether it’s my birthday or that of my family members, I pull out all stops and make it a day to remember! But COVID-19 had other plans for us and I had to make the birthday celebration special while stuck at home.
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The Best Laid Plans…
My sons have their birthdays just two days apart at the end of March and I usually do a joint celebration for them. I was looking forward to making this one extra special as my younger son was entering his last “tweenage” year and the older one was turning sweet 16! We were already preparing for it with a fun mother-son shopping day for the older one. I had even bought him his very first suit, taking many photos on my phone as he awkwardly tried on different styles with funky looking shirts and ties. We were really looking forward to the big day!
The virus, meanwhile, kept blowing up and spreading across the whole world. In just a matter of days, “social distancing” and “lockdown” got added to the list of global buzz words. With that, we kept chopping and changing our birthday party plans. It had started with the idea of a grand birthday dinner, then moved to Ocean Park and then to a pizza party with a close group of friends. But as luck would have it, just on the party day, the “not-more-than-four public group gathering” law was put into place, ending all speculation on the how, where and what of the party.
I was quite surprised by the maturity shown by my boys who merely shrugged when I read the news to them and told them that we couldn’t go ahead with the plans. Taking inspiration from their positive attitude, I decided not to let my own pre-conceived notions stop me from celebrating their birthdays at home in our own special way!
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Many mums have found ways to celebrate in quarantine. If you are looking for ideas to make a birthday special while stuck at home, read on for some ideas on what you can do.
1. Bake Together
While usually, I would never dare to bake with my kids for a party. The pressure of getting the taste, texture and shape right is too much for an amateur! When it’s just for the family though, you can go wild and whacky with all those colours and shapes that you always wanted to try. Plus, it’s so much fun baking together.
2. Spa Party
This doesn’t have to be just for girls! My boys enjoy all the scrubs, rubs and attention that comes with a spa date, along with sweet-smelling wraps and rose-scented lotions. Fill in the tub, bubbles and all, turn up the volume of their favourite song on the speaker and just let them be! Oh, and if they are younger then throw in some squeaky toys and splash around with them.
3. Treasure Hunt
Do this one if you have some time and your child is the type to enjoy a bit of a challenge. Hide the gift anywhere in the house and leave small paper clues to guide the birthday baby to it. The clues could range from reading and rhyming simple words for the littlest ones to something they have been studying about (time to see if homeschooling has been a success!) or special family memories. Don’t make it easy – the harder the search, the more the happiness when they find the hidden gift!
4. TV, Popcorn, Action
Gather in your living room and watch your family videos recorded all those years ago, maybe your wedding video or when your baby first started to walk! We always have a laugh riot when we go through all those childhood memories together. If you would much rather watch a family-favourite movie, grab a pack of home-made popcorn, chill a bottle of wine (or non-alcoholic sparkling juice for the kids) and you are ready to snuggle in with your birthday bears. Don’t forget about Papa Bear! If you want to involve friends and family overseas or safely socially distancing at their homes, you could also have a Netflix party.
5. Video Call The Family
Zoom-ing is a trend nowadays and what better way of celebrating this special occasion than to rope the whole family in! Send out “party” invites to family in advance giving the day and time. Whether they are in New York, London, Africa or India, everyone can sing “Happy Birthday” together while at home and make the birthday one to remember.
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There could be many other ways of celebrating a birthday at home. Think karaoke afternoon, camping out in the balcony or a “kids rule” day. With a little bit of imagination and a lot of love, you can turn the new normal into a unique celebration to remember!