How to celebrate a birthday in lockdown

10 great ways to have a stay-at-home celebration in style

How to celebrate a birthday in lockdown

Birthdays over the next few months may be different to all those in the past, but we've got some tips and tricks to make a lockdown birthday the best yet. The only limitation is imagination!

With some video calls, online deliveries and a hint of creativity, you can create a memorable birthday for someone that matters most. From food care packages and crafty gifts to virtual parties and activity inspo, we've got it covered with our top 10 fave things to do to celebrate those that deserve it... even if that's you!

1. Gifting

We all want to give the perfect gift to someone on their birthday. Whether that be a parent, grandparent, child or friend, you'll want them to feel as special as when you celebrate in person.

We think a great birthday gift is anything that takes time or thought, so we've listed our ultimate birthday ideas for lockdown:

  • A handmade card to make them smile
  • A subscription to a movie or music streaming app or website to keep them entertained
  • An online video compilation of family and friends wishing them a happy birthday, to make them feel loved
  • A food or drink subscription to deliver tasty treats
  • Pre-packed meal kits to keep their tastebuds happy
  • Fabulous flowers to brighten their day


2. Virtual video party

Over the past few months, we've been spoiled for choice with video apps that allow us to connect virtually to our friends and family. Video calls are becoming the new norm – and we're here for it! Plus, a lot of websites and streaming apps have built-in games, to allow us to play our family favourite games distantly from home.

Whether you choose to set up a video stream from different households and simply have a chat, or opt to unleash your competitive sides with a friendly game of Pictionary, a virtual video party is the perfect way for loved ones to have fun and see those birthday candles being blown out. 

3. chill film night

If big parties aren't their thing, why not organise a distant cinema night? Perfect for all ages, movie nights will always be a winner. Get everyone to make or buy their own movie snacks and create a screen listing of your birthday hero's fave films. Make sure everyone has access to the same streaming site, set up a camera and… action! You can even download an app, such as Netflix Party, to make sure everyone is in sync – so all that's left to do is snuggle down and enjoy a home cinema experience.

Stuck for snack options? Try these popcorn recipes that the kids will love getting involved in making. Or if it happens to be a hot day, try your hand at our popcorn ice-cream – totally yum!

4. pub quiz

We've loved seeing how creative people are getting on weekly quizzes with their friends and family, but the trick is to keep those quiz-round ideas new and exciting. Here are some ideas that we love.

  • The birthday girl/boy round: Give the birthday star their time to shine with a quiz round dedicated to them. How about their favourite movie, their job title or pets' names? If you're creating your own birthday quiz, this is your chance to make it all about you!
  • The music round: A pub quiz classic, but there are so many ways you can switch it up. Try guessing the song from 10-second intros, or find song mashups and make the contestants try to name them all, or even play the songs backwards. Our favourite is the quizmaster singing the songs themselves – could be tricky, depending on musical ability!
  • Celebrity children round: Apple, North West and Blue Ivy are only some of the quirky, unusual names given to children by their celebrity parents. Let's test that celeb knowledge!
  • Status round: Find old statuses from social media platforms and make the quizzers guess who said it. Watch out for some major cringe moments.
  • The alphabetical round: You can choose general knowledge or something super-specific, but the idea is to ask 26 questions, with each answer starting with the next letter of the alphabet.
  • Household items round: Fed up of just answering questions while sat on the sofa? Well, get your quizzers to get their running shoes on and grab the household items you name within a time limit!


5. Escape room

Escape rooms have been the number-one go-to for alternative birthday parties over the past few years. There are a few different themes, but basically you have to use teamwork and a bit of brain power to solve clues and escape! This head-scratching activity is popping up all over the internet, with various websites and game streams allowing you to solve escape rooms virtually. 

Alternatively, if you're creating your own birthday party, why not set up an escape room that's all about you? Create clues based on your likes, dislikes and personal experiences and see how well your friends know you!

6. cocktail hour (for grown-ups only)

This is the perfect time to perfect your bartending skills, with cocktails and mocktails made from home. Send out a list of ingredients to all the party attendees ahead of time and create your own cocktails over video chat. Make it easier for your virtual guests with these recipes that only require 3 ingredients. Or, if you're getting into the seasonal mood, why not try our gin cocktails that are ideal for spring, or our summer-inspired mocktails

You can take it one step further, too, by adding a theme. Tropical beach-bar ideas, cocktails that bring back a memory, or drinks based around one particular ingredient – it's your time to shake it up!

7. hide and seek (for kids, but there are no rules here)

What kid's birthday is complete without a game of hide and seek? If it's your child's big day, you can easily set up a call with their friends and play a virtual version of this classic game. Simply tell each child to hide one by one, and when everyone has counted down from 10, get the child's parent to aim their camera at the instruction of the other children on call, to find their hiding spot.

8. cheese and wine tasting

Have a grape night in (pardon the pun) with a decadent cheese and wine tasting night. Send the birthday boy or girl a care package of their fave cheese and wine, keeping some back for yourself, then share a dreamy cheeseboard. Add in some chutney, grapes and crackers to make their evening even better.

If you're feeling extra fancy, try your hand at a cheese fondue. Warning – it will be so yummy, you might forget you're at a birthday party! 

9. arts and crafts

Throw an arty party with some fun games and activities based around crafting and drawing. Set up your video call and then a timed challenge. How about making animals out of foil, or hats out of paper? Our favourite is drawing a portrait of the birthday boy or birthday girl. You might find an artist in your group! 

10. food

Food is the key to anyone's heart... or is that just us? We can't think of a better birthday than one filled with yummy treats. If you want to surpise the birthday girl or boy with a foodie surprise, why not send them their favourite snack, cake, baking kit or takeaway? Trust us, you'll be in the good books! 

If your plan is to enjoy food with your loved one on a birthday, we've picked out some of our top recipes for birthday feasts.

  • FOR BRUNCH: If you would usually celebrate with a birthday brunch, you still can! From pancakes to toast toppings, you can create your brunch faves at home... maybe add a cheeky glass of prosecco?
  • FOR DINNER: a celebration calls for a three-course-meal, right? We've got a menu ready to go – now all you have to do is cook it!
  • FOR CAKE: You can't have a birthday celebration without a trusty cake for the big day. Whether you're baking to deliver to a loved one, or planning to blow the candles out yourself, check out our fave birthday cake recipes that will look fabulous and taste delicious.