The Best Ways to Celebrate Someone’s Birthday When You’re Far Away

You can’t always be there for life’s important moments. Sometimes you live far away, other times you might just be too occupied with other things that demand your attention. Even though you like to be there for friends and family, a birthday isn’t necessarily something you can make an effort to turn up for every year. It could be too costly or too time-consuming to make it happen. Still, you want to make people happy when their birthdays come around, so you need ways to celebrate that work while you’re far away. Give these ideas a try if you want to create some birthday memories.

white printer paper on white table

Start with a Card

There’s no better place to begin than with a birthday card when you want to show someone you’re thinking of them. The problem is that some of the usual cards in stores can be a little boring, and maybe a bit too safe. They’re not very personal and can seem a bit generic. Fortunately, there are more interesting birthday cards that offer you a broader range of options, especially if you order something online. You can find cards with funny jokes, cards that reference your favorite pop culture icons, and cards that make birthdays just a little more interesting.

bokeh photography of person holding fireworks

Send a Birthday Present

Of course, along with a card, it’s also nice to send a gift. Cards can contain a heartfelt message wishing someone well, but a thoughtful gift also shows that you care about someone. Picking the perfect present can be tricky, though. There are several ways to go about it, including outright asking what the recipient might like or searching around for potential ideas. While lists of gift ideas can be useful, it’s always a good idea to keep the individual in mind. Just because a list says it contains gifts for dads, doesn’t mean all dads will like every item on the list.

Arrange a Phone or Video Call

You might not be able to physically be there for someone’s birthday, but you can still be there for them in other ways. A phone call or video call is a great way to get in touch and spend some time together, even if you can’t be in the same room, or even the same state or country. To make sure neither of you is disappointed, you should try to arrange a time to make the call so you can both dedicate some of your time to it. Maybe you can call first thing in the morning to wish them a good day, or you could call later in the day when you might have some more time to hang out together and have a really good chat.

macbook pro displaying group of people

Set Up a Virtual Party

Birthday parties don’t necessarily have to take place with everyone in the same location. A virtual birthday party can be fun too, and there are lots of things you can do. You could simply use a video call to spend time with them and some other friends or family, where you talk, have a few drinks, and maybe do an activity together like watching a movie or doing a quiz. There are certain virtual activities you might want to think about, such as virtual escape rooms, which can be fun to do together and allow lots of people to get involved.

Send Food (or Drink)

The gift of something to eat or drink is almost always a worthwhile birthday present. Everyone has their favorite snack or meal that they love to indulge in, but maybe don’t treat themselves to very often. There are all kinds of things you could think about sending, from chocolate and candy to luxury pasta, wine, or craft beers. If you know that the birthday person likes to eat out, you could also consider a restaurant gift card or voucher, or even book them a table at their favorite place so that they can enjoy dinner on you. If you think they’d prefer to stay in, try surprising them with a takeout delivery instead.

Plan an Activity for the Birthday Star

Just because you can’t actually be there for someone’s birthday, it doesn’t mean you can’t make sure they have an awesome day. Planning something for them to do can be a great gift for them, even if you’re not there to join in. This could be a surprise, or it could be an activity that you plan for them with their knowledge. Whether it’s a trip to see a movie, some kind of new experience, or just a night out with their friends, you can help to give them an amazing birthday that shows how much you care.

Get Someone Special to Say Happy Birthday

Birthday wishes from you might be touching, what if you can give someone birthday wishes from someone they really admire? A surprise birthday message from a favorite celebrity can be a unique way to do something memorable for someone. Sites like Cameo allow you to request a message (paid, of course), with all kinds of people and even a few animals to choose from. There are athletes, actors, models, musicians and various other people there who are willing to say hello to a fan and wish them a happy birthday.

Make Them Your Own Video

Of course, you don’t have to be famous to make a fun birthday video. If you want to send a special message but maybe do something different to a card, a birthday video could be fun. It might just be a video of you saying a few kind words, but there are lots of other things you could do too. If you have some basic video editing skills and the right software or app, you could edit together a few things to make it a little more interesting. Maybe you have some videos or photos from previous occasions you were together that you can play around with, or you could add some effects and get creative.

Do Something Worthwhile

If you know the birthday person is someone who likes to help others, you could consider doing something charitable or altruistic. There are plenty of different options involving making a donation or specific actions that result in anything from a tree being planted to a dog being rescued. Choose a cause or an organization that you know they like or would be interested in. There could even be an experience that you can arrange for them so that they can see some charitable work up close, whether it’s animal rescue or helping out in a soup kitchen.

Plan a Visit

It might not be possible for every birthday, but the ultimate gift can be arranging to visit. If you’re able to organize a visit for their birthday, you could make it one of their most memorable. You might make it a surprise, or it could be a visit that you plan with their full knowledge to make sure they’re prepared to spend some time with you. Even if you can’t visit when it’s actually their birthday, you might still be able to arrange something shortly before or after. It can be worth choosing a different date if it means you can stay for longer. Alternatively, you could also arrange for them to come and visit you. This can be fun for them if you live somewhere they haven’t been before or don’t get to see often.

Being far away from loved ones is tough, but you can still be present for their birthdays, even if you’re not actually physically with them.

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