How to celebrate safely

It’s 2020. And it’s looking nothing like we had imagined it would be just a mere eight months ago. Social distancing is now the catchphrase of the day. We are barely seeing anyone in our social circle and the last time any of us enjoyed a big event or gathering was probably February. In spite of all this, and thanks to technology, we don’t have to be completely cut-off from our friends. Video calling apps have proved to be a vital tool during this pandemic, not only for remote working and schooling, but also for large virtual hangouts with our friends and loved ones!

Thanks to these apps, major celebratory milestones do not need to be entirely side-lined. There are lots of fun ways to virtually celebrate birthdays with your friends and family and below are a few themes and ideas for your virtual parties.


This is a fun movie night that everyone will look forward to. The best part is that the dress code is: PYJAMAS! Choose the movie ahead of time, and get all your friends to wear their comfiest jammies, pop a bowl of popcorn and enjoy watching a movie ‘together’. We recommend leaving a margin of at least 30 minutes before and after the duration of the movie for friends to chat and catch-up, and don’t expect everyone to stay silent during the movie, either! To choose a movie, go for something light-hearted and funny. Classic rom-coms will never disappoint.


Another fun theme for a virtual birthday is a spa night theme. Light a candle, put on a facemask, oil your hair and enjoy catching up with your friends while drinking some cucumber and lime detox water. You can share a couple of homemade spa recipes beforehand to get everyone in the mood.


Choose one person to be the ‘game master’ who asks the questions and keeps a tally of the scores. Get each friend to make a mini red ‘flag’ out of paper so that they can hold it up when they answer; that way the game master keeps a track of who answered first. Categories can be spread out over a range of topics such as: history, culture, music, sports, science, or pick one category. The winner can receive an online gift card as a prize!


Here, the party is organized and hosted by the birthday person’s friend who will simply tell the birthday person to log on for a quick catch-up. Get all the guests to log on 15 minutes prior and surprise the birthday boy or girl!


Social distancing doesn’t mean not giving any gifts! There are plenty of gifts you can give virtually that the birthday person is sure to appreciate. You can:

  1. Put together a video montage of everyone saying their birthday wishes
  2. Buy a gift card for their favorite online store
  3. Purchase an online course for them on something you’d be sure they’d enjoy. Some ideas are: Photography, creative writing, digital art, cooking etc.

These are days none of us will ever forget, so why not try to make the best out of the situation and create some memories that will surely be remembered? A bonus to having a virtual birthday is that friends and family members who live far away (and wouldn’t normally be able to attend) can be a part of the celebration now.

Go ahead, and celebrate those milestones!

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Sidiqa Sohail is a freelance writer and consultant living in Dubai. Sidiqa has a degree in global peace and security from Durham University in the UK and is a former cafe and bakery owner. Sidiqa is a mum of 2 and enjoys baking, reading and jigsaw puzzles.

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