Even when your dearest aren’t the nearest, you can celebrate their birthdays together in spirit. Here are a few ways to share a special occasion—and feel close to each other even when you’re far apart.

Send the ICal Invite

Zoom, Microsoft Teams, House Party—any video conferencing apps you use to work from home or chat with friends can also host a virtual party. Send a simple meeting invite to gather your coworkers or cousins to sing Happy Birthday, or put the dial-in number / Zoom gathering ID in an evite from Minted or Paperless Post for more of an event. For a full-on party you might evite guests to

Toast the honoree at a “cocktail party”

Join a lunchtime hangout of kids playing Simon Says together or decorating cupcakes at the same time before blowing out the candles

Get crafty with a virtual crafting party for kids through The Craft Studio, which offers group online classes using simple supplies you’re likely to have at home, such as glue and construction paper

“Host” a movie night through NetflixParty, an app that lets you watch together wherever you are.


If guests are going to need to come prepared—with their own candle to blow out, a cupcake to decorate, or a glass of something bubbly—put that in the evite! And if your virtual party is on Zoom, you can record the event and relive it later, no videographer required!

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Top Things Off

A cupcake topper turns a treat into a party. Download our Celebration Toppers Template, print on paper or cardstock, cut out and tape to a skewer or toothpick to make any food more festive. Some designs have text on them, others are blank so you can write your own greeting and use them to spread cheer:

Stick them into cake, cupcakes, cookies or other treats if you’re celebrating at home.

Mail them to a far-away friend for their special day.

Send them to everyone you’ve invited to your virtual party, so they can stick one into whatever they’re eating when they call in to sing Happy Birthday, and all snacks are dressed for the occasion.

Skip the sticks and scatter the cut-out shapes along the table like confetti or tape to the wall as decor

Write a message on a blank one or on the back of a pre-printed greeting, and use it as a birthday card

If you’re celebrating with a bottle of wine, rather than a cake, download our wine tags and attach them to the bottle. You can also:

– Write messages on the blank ones and scatter them throughout the house–on the bathroom mirror, on the computer—to surprise the honoree throughout the day.

– Tape them to the top of a present as a card.

– Print out a bunch and use them as a birthday concentration game, or hide them throughout the house as a birthday scavenger hunt.

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Their Day, Their Way

If you’re with someone stuck at home on their birthday, whether they’re social distancing, ill at home, or not mobile for whatever reason, make everyday routines fun by informing them that they’re the ruler of Birthdayland—even if the sovereign nation is no bigger than your apartment. Let them pick the TV show or dominate the Ipad, and choose what’s on the menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then, serve up some smiles!

Write HBD in blueberries on pancakes, waffles or a bowl of yogurt at breakfast.

Add a dash of love to lunch (even if it’s just peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, you can cut them into cookie cutter to shape sandwiches

Turn toast and smoked salmon into mini birthday cakes for a fancy cocktail snack

Since you can’t invite their friends to join you at the table, coordinate them to hit the road with a “Drive-By” party. They can make signs and tape them to their car or have a passenger hold it out the window, form a caravan to drive past the honorees house, honking, singing happy birthday, and sending lots of love from their car or their front lawn, while the honoree watches from the doorstep or window.



Crown the Birthday King or Queen

Download the Darcy Miller Designs Birthday Crown Template, print it out and pop it in the mail so the birthday royal can wear it when you video chat on the big day—or if the honoree is in your house, crown them directly! If you’re the one getting another year older, make the crown yourself and wear it so that when your face pops up on your friends’ screens, big smiles pop up on their faces. It’s totally customizable:

Pucker up and leave lipstick kisses all over it!

Trace the template onto newspaper, wrapping paper, or our tie-dye pattern, then cut out

Decorate it yourself with drawings or messages

Let the birthday kid color it in or bedazzle it themselves

Mail one to all your “guests” to host a princess party for a little one or a costume party for adults

Set Up a Social Schedule

When someone you love is far away on a big birthday, contact their squad—whether it’s reminding your siblings to call Grandma on her big day, or emailing the kids’ class list or camp friends—and assign times for them to call or FaceTime the honoree. That way, even if someone is physically alone, they’ll feel the love all day long.


Say it in Song

What’s the modern version of a singing telegram? A video of you (or your kids, pals, significant other, or surprisingly talented parrot) singing Happy Birthday, You Are My Sunshine, Good as Hell, or whatever the birthday person’s favorite current anthem is.


Treat Them to an “Excursion”

If you wish you could take the person celebrating a birthday out for a night on the town, delicious dinner delivered to their house. Call their favorite spot to see what their delivery options are—not only will you make your friend’s day, you’ll be supporting one of their local businesses, too. Win-win!

Send a special dinner for their whole family, then FaceTime in to attend the “party.” Some restaurants, like Amali here in New York, have created special three-course take-out dinners for 4-6 people.

To make it dinner for two, send them takeout and order yourself the same dish (or same type of cuisine) from your go-to spot and FaceTime so you can catch up over dinner.

Treat them to a drink (or four) or celebrate good news from afar by having a bottle of wine delivered. Drizly.com offers wine and alcohol delivery in 180 cities across the country. Email the recipient a link to our wine tags, or print them out yourselves, write messages on the back and mail them for when the bottle arrives.

You can also:

Visit one of the many museums offering virtual tours together, like the British Museum, Florence’s Uffizi Gallery, or the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

Tune in to a Broadway show through the BroadwayHD app

Whisk them off to a major attraction, whether it’s a virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel, Yosemite National Park, or the Great Wall of China.

Drum Up Some Decor.

If you were hosting someone else’s birthday party, normally, you’d run out to the neighborhood party store. Since that’s not an option, just run to the printer. Our downloadable template for party chains, hats, and a crown for the birthday king or queen means you can craft them yourself, and the tie-dye pattern is cheerful and colorful. The paper chains are so easy, kids can help make them—because half the fun of a party is the planning, even if it’s going to be a party of two. As for flowers? Download a paper bouquet of roses!

Blow Their Mind (By Blowing Up Some Balloons)

If you have a pack of balloons lying around, you’ve got decor and party games covered. Blow them up, grab a marker and some construction paper, and turn them into animals (click here for our dog and balloon bunny how-to and let this be the year your kids finally get pet!), self-portraits, or depictions of the rest of the family. If you’ve got enough balloons, you can turn one into every guest at the virtual party—when they call in, show them they’re there in balloon form as well as in spirit! Or, have each guest BYOB–Bring Your Own Balloon to the virtual party, where they can have their self-portraits.

Plan a Playlist

Send everyone a playlist of favorite party tunes you can all play in the background during your virtual party, so that you’re all—you guessed it—in tune with each other! Extra credit if all songs are from the year the honoree was born.

Play Games

Give the gift of good luck with a custom cootie catcher that makes all sorts of auspicious predictions for the birthday boy or girl (or birthday grandpa or grandma as the case may be). Download Darcy Miller Designs Birthday Cootie Catcher Template, print out, and hand or mail it to the person who isn’t just getting older, they’re getting luckier!

Print Out Some Presents

If what the birthday kid really wanted is going to have to wait—whether it’s a trip to an amusement park with friends or a big party with the whole class for a child or a delayed bucket-list trip for a grown-up’s milestone—print out an IOU and give it to them today to let them know it’s coming to them in the future. Or get instant gratification with the delivery of an ebook or a virtual gift card that lets them choose their own adventure.

Send a Special Delivery

IOUs aren’t your only option! Many small businesses are still delivering and can offer recommendations, gift-wrap, and delivery. Contact

Your local independent bookstore or toy store

A neighborhood florist

A bakery that will deliver a treat like Milk Bar, or Georgetown Cupcakes

An egift card to whatever retailer is feeding their current internet shopping habit

1. Cake, 2. Candy Box, 3. Wine Box, 4. Cupcakes, 5.  Birthday Party In A Box, 6. Color Me Cookies

If you’re the host of a small virtual gathering, you can send a little something to guests. Think of

Decorated cookies so that everyone can share the same “dessert”; or send Eleni’s Color-Me Cookies, which come with edible ink markers and you can customize cookies together during the party

ITunes gift cards so everyone can download the honoree’s new favorite song

“Favors” that are delivered instantly once the party’s over, like children’s read-aloud ebooks

Keep the Party Going

Once you see how easy it is to host a virtual hang, you’ll want to keep meeting like this. Set up a virtual book club, sewing circle, yoga or any class where you “meet” in cyberspace once a week or month to talk about the pages you’ve read, try out a new recipe together, chat while you work on your individual crafts, or learn to knit/quilt/do calligraphy together. If one of you has a talent, you can lead the “lesson.” Otherwise, try:

A virtual book club

A knitting club or quilting circle (you can follow online classes at skillshare.com or Purl Soho’s YouTube channel)

A cooking class: The Chef and the Dish offers them over Skype

A calligraphy class. Watch Art Summit’s online classes separately, then “meet” virtually to show off your projects