19 Ways to Celebrate a Birthday Without Having a Party
DIY a Birthday Card
Go for glitter with this festive handmade birthday card. It’s quick and easy to make, and the end result is so sparkly-good. This is a perfect birthday card to make at the last minute, to send across the country as happy mail, or to leave on the desk of a coworker to start their day off on a celebratory note.
Bake up the birthday girl (or boy’s!) favorite cupcake recipe, then put out all of the toppings for them to customize their own treat. You can make it as complicated or simple as you like—there’s nothing wrong with just frosting and sprinkles!—and sing your best rendition of the birthday song before digging in.
Have a Spa Moment
Whether young or old(er), everyone loves to be pampered at home. And taking a little time to give a manicure, pedicure, or massage is a great way to help a friend or family member celebrate a birthday. Pick up new polish and some sweet-smelling lotion and ah-away!
Take Cheesy Photos
Assemble fun props that capture this moment in your loved one’s life—favorite hobbies, characters, or even a trend—and snap some silly pics. Bonus points if you set up a DIY photo booth…though, even using a plain wall as a backdrop will work just as well!
Make Root Beer Floats
There’s a party in every cup of this classic treat that will make any birthday end with a sweet finish. Pick up some artisanal root beer and vanilla bean ice cream for the most authentic flavor, add festive paper straws, and let this birthday treat stand-in for cake!
Make a Secret Message
This is such a fun outdoor game idea for an early reader! Use cardboard and large letter stickers to spell out a birthday message. Stack the letters out of order and let the birthday boy or girl unscramble the hidden words!
Go All Out on the Cake
Dust off your baking skills and bake up a cake to impress—because you don’t need to have a party to have a cake! We appreciate desserts with colorful surprises on the inside or those with simple embellishments to really play up the celebratory nature of the day! And what to do if you’re intimidated by a spatula? Pick up a store-bought cake and add one of these easy cake decorating ideas.
Cheers with a Custom Cocktail
Less involved than dinner or a party, but just as enjoyable, sharing a birthday cocktail is a new tradition that we can get behind. Make a batch of homemade cocktails or head to your favorite bar and challenge the bartender to make a special drink with the birthday girl’s favorite flavors. Don’t forget to cheers!
Celebrate with an Ice Cream Bar
Do a Craft Together
For creative kids, this is a perfect birthday activity. This fun sailboat making project uses simple materials like pool noodles, electrical tape, and skewers. Then, when the boats are made, you can have a race in the backyard kiddie pool (or bathtub!).
Start a New Tradition
Whether it’s pancakes with sprinkles for breakfast, homemade meatballs for dinner, filling the playroom with a child’s favorite color of balloons, decorating with yarn pom-poms, writing a birthday letter filled with all of her accomplishments from the past year, or something unique to your family, birthday traditions can go a long way towards making the day feel even more special.
Make an Epic Snack Board
Go big with the ultimate snack board complete with all of his favorites: cheese, cured meats, fruit, nuts, condiments, and tiny pickles and veggies. Pair it with a crisp wine like a dry Reisling or hoppy IPA for a simple birthday dinner that will wow and delight.
Have Game Night
Put the phones away, pull out your favorite board and card games, and have some classic fun to celebrate a birthday. Bring some local craft cider or soda and a birthday treat, and enjoy together time for a very special occasion.
Make a Custom Card
Show the birthday girl how much you care with a custom unicorn card just for her. This simple DIY project is easy to make and is so darn cute. She may even want to hang it on her wall as art!
Hit up her favorite yoga or barre class, or, if you live far apart, take a virtual class together. This will help to ensure some me-time on her special day and it’s a great opportunity to bond as you sweat and stretch.
Mail a Card to Work
You know what your friend or loved one won’t expect to show up in their work mailbox? A birthday card from you! Let it be a simple way that you celebrate their day and make them feel extra special.
Go Out for Brunch
Plan to linger over lattes and eggs benedict with a birthday brunch date at a favorite restaurant. This is a perfect way to celebrate a birthday without any effort on your part—other than choosing a time and a place!—and it virtually guarantees quality time together.
Have a “Yes” Day
The birthday boy or girl gets to be in charge, so anything they want to do you say “yes!". Ice cream cake cones for breakfast? Yes! Playground after school? Yes! Eating dinner on a picnic blanket in the living room with a favorite movie? Yes! It’s a super fun way to make a special day even more memorable.
Have a Picnic
Pick a pretty spot, pack a basket of goodies, and head out for an old-school picnic lunch to celebrate a loved one’s birthday. This simple activity will show that you care enough to plan ahead and will provide a nice respite from any other festivities on the birthday girl’s calendar. Don’t forget fun drinks!