There’s one day of the year where you get to celebrate you — your birthday.
Most people celebrate by throwing a party with family and friends, sharing a meal out at a nice restaurant or going somewhere new and exciting. For many people, this is their favorite day of the year.
The COVID-19 pandemic shut down the country, with most states issuing stay-at-home or lock-down orders. This can put a cramp in your birthday plans, but people are finding nice ways to celebrate anyway.
Adam Geiger, of Coplay, celebrated his birthday April 29. According to his wife, Janine, they are planning to order in Adam’s favorite food, sushi; enjoy his favorite drink, sake; and video call with friends. Janine, an accomplished pastry chef, is going to bake him a cake.
“It stinks because this is the one day of the year I don’t feel guilty about completely treating myself and going to a nice dinner or to the casino to play poker,” Adam said. “But I’m glad I get to spend it with my wife.”
Charotin Hose Company No. 1, North Catasauqua Borough’s fire department, is offering to drive by the homes of children celebrating their birthdays during lockdown. The firefighters understand it is still important to celebrate birthdays, even if it has to be in a modified manner.
To help maintain morale and keep spirits high, it’s important to find small ways to treat any loved ones with birthdays during lockdown. Some are making the birthday boy or girl’s favorite breakfast or dinner, baking special cakes or ordering gifts online in advance. Many people are utilizing videoconferencing apps, such as Zoom or Skype, to connect with friends or family they would normally see in person.
Kaycie Stem, of Allentown, created a virtual surprise party for her boyfriend, Kiel Houser.
In anticipation of Houser’s April 23 birthday, Stem reached out to family and friends virtually and set the Skype call for 6 p.m., shortly before Houser was due to return from his job as an essential worker at Primo Produce. She had loved ones send photos to include in a slideshow and send messages to Houser, which she wrote down on a card for him to read.
The short virtual party was a hit. Even though Houser wasn’t able to celebrate with friends and family in person, he was able to feel the love from afar.
Sandra Vivian, of Catasauqua, was disappointed she was unable to celebrate her birthday in her normal fashion but experienced a change of perspective.
“For birthdays in the past, I would want materialistic things,” she said. “This birthday, all I wanted was to be surrounded by my family. It’s almost like since this happened, I’ve viewed things differently.”
My brother, Kevin Anderson, had a similar thought when celebrating his birthday April 9.
“All that changed this year were locations and things,” he noted. “The meaningful gift was loved ones taking their minds off this hardship for a moment to wish me a happy birthday. I am also grateful to have such a unique story to tell for my next birthday!”
In light of the current situation, all my brother wanted for his birthday was a family game night. Through the use of FaceTime, I was able to take part in games with my brother, parents and niece. Despite it being his birthday, I did not let my brother win. I beat him by one point.
I expect him to try and return the favor on my birthday, April 30, which will also be spent in lockdown and will feature family game night.