This past year, COVID 19 slapped us into a new reality, leaving little time to prepare or to think. The moment we went into lockdown I had just gotten off a plane from a canceled NCAA’s just to hear that my senior year had also been cancelled. I’d been hopeful to celebrate a job well done at NCAA’s, my final semester of college, my senior spring, and eventually the most important celebration of all, college graduation. Disappointment does not even begin to explain what the class of 2020 felt. With celebrations of our greatest milestone seemingly paused or outright canceled, it felt as if we would never have our moment.
Amidst the rapidly spreading virus and adjusting to the new normal, celebrating graduations and birthdays were the least of our worries. Although, that feeling started to change after one or two months had passed. As my close friends and I were already feeling the effects of social distancing, I began to believe that maybe being more social and celebrating the things we missed out on, in a covid safe way, was actually extremely important for us.
So, how exactly do we have these big celebrations while staying safe? Here are a few of the things my friends, family, and I have done to celebrate “big” at home:
Celebrate with your Pod
Although the more the merrier, no need to gather with anyone other than those you have been quarantining with. Your Pod includes whoever you’ve spent this past year adjusting to the pandemic with. It could be your close friends/roomies, your significant other, or your family. This is a great way to ensure that your safety is not jeopardized and eases the stress of who to send an invitation to.
Virtual party through Zoom
Still missing some people from your celebration? All you need is Zoom! Even though virtual gatherings will never feel the same as in person gatherings, Zoom can still be fun and interactive.
Decorate the house
The great thing about being home is not having to drop a lot of money on a private venue. In my opinion decorating your space is the most exciting part of the big at home celebration process. This is your opportunity to get super artsy and put those DIY skills to work. Head to Micheals, Party City, or CVS and pick up the necessary supplies to create your own party theme.
Want to go all Kardashian with the Balloon Arch, but don’t want to spend Kardashian Balloon Arch money? These arches are super easy to make at home. All you need are the balloons of your liking and some twine.
Whether it’s a 21st birthday or a 30th birthday, why not turn the living room into a club? Make fun alcoholic or virgin drinks, lay out some snacks, and find the perfect lighting. If you are feeling extra fancy, buy a velvet rope and use one of your family members as the “bouncer”.
Order take out or cook your favorite dish
If you are unable to gather in your favorite restaurant, order takeout of your favorite dish. Or, even better, cook your favorite dish!
Play drinking games
For those 21 and up, making fun cocktails and playing drinking games can be an essential piece to a celebration. If the bulk of your party is virtual, you can still play drinking games. Here a few examples of classic games that have drinking game material:
- Never Have I Ever: if you know the rules of this classic game, try taking a sip every time you put a finger down.
- Boozy Bingo: with every square you mark, take a sip!
- Would You Rather: would you rather stay at home safe and get creative for your birthday party? Or would you rather not use that creative brain of yours to have a great celebration? The group who has less votes on the would you rather question, has to drink.
- Trivia: Either create a general trivia, or make a trivia about the grad or birthday boy/girl. Those who guess incorrectly must… you guessed it…drink!
COVID 19 was a curse, but in some ways a blessing because of all the life lessons that came out of it. By far, the most fun lesson that came out of this pandemic was that sometimes adapting to a new life just means getting creative with life! Instead of sulking over what could have been doing if it weren’t for COVID, brainstorm, be creative, and decide what can be done.
Here are a some alternatives to At-Home Celebration for our vaccinated readers:
In the event that you have been fully vaccinated and have waited the appropriate 2-week waiting period after your shot, I haven’t forgotten about you! Here are some options for you:
Nature based gatherings
It’s getting warmer and the sun is starting to shine more, so why not take advantage of the outdoors for a celebration? The beach is a perfect place to continue practicing social distancing and celebrate. Grab some beach blankets and chairs, appetizers for a picnic, some cold drinks or maybe Rosé if you’re feeling especially boujie, and beach games.
If you want something more active or are not a fan of the beach, try finding a trail with picnic benches or go to your local park. Locations with plenty of open space and greenery is a great place to get some fresh air, embrace nature, and social distance for a celebration.
Dining out at a restaurant is a great option for when you are vaccinated and feel safe doing so. Order appetizers with your party and cheers with your favorite drink at happy hour! Restaurants have gotten super creative during the pandemic and have also provided the perfect setting to get that birthday Instagram.