A woman holds a piece of cake in front of a tablet, celebrating a virtual birthday party

How do you celebrate together even when you’re miles apart? Throw a virtual birthday party, of course!

Whether you’re in an LDR (long distance relationship), practicing social distancing, or simply have family and friends spread across the country, there are plenty of ways to celebrate together, even when you’re not in the same city or time zone.

Below, we’re helping you send a long distance or virtual birthday wish to family members, significant others, or your nieces and nephews. From long distance gifts, to DIY scavenger hunts, to a drive-by birthday surprise, you’ll surely find a way to make their special day memorable.

How to Celebrate a Virtual Birthday Party

A colorful virtual birthday party invitation

Design: Jen Montgomery

You don’t need to be in close proximity to send a birthday message, mail a care package, or have a memorable conversation. Below, we’re sharing 10 meaningful, long-distance birthday ideas to make this year special.

1. Do a Drive By

If you own a car, start your engine because you have a birthday-worthy parade to organize. Send a group text message to all your friends who live within driving distance, and decorate your cars with balloons, car paint, and streamers. Set up a time and place to meet, then fall into formation.

Drive by the birthday girl or boy’s house with honks (as long as you won’t disturb the neighbors), confetti, and birthday music. Assign one person to capture the parade footage, then send it to the birthday person for a unique gift.

2. Organize a Movie Night

Your friends may not be able to take up a whole row in a movie theater, but isn’t your living room more cozy anyways? Organize a showing of a favorite movie, or splurge and rent one that’s still in theaters. Have everyone join a video chat as you watch the film together. (Pro tip: If you’re planning a Netflix party, there’s now a Chrome extension that allows multiple parties to watch together and has a chat feature.)

No movie night is complete without snacks, so have everyone whip up a batch of popcorn, munch on pretzels, or enjoy their favorite candy for your virtual watch party. And since you’re watching from your living room, don’t forget — this particular movie theater serves wine.

3. Create a Sing Along

If you’re celebrating a kid’s birthday while social distancing, there are plenty of ways to get all their best buds (virtually) together. To start, send a digital birthday invitation to all the parents’ inboxes with instructions for joining a Google Hangout. (If birthday gifts are welcome, include a mailing address as well.) Once all the party guests log on, have everyone sing “happy birthday” together as the guest of honor blows out their candles, reads their birthday cards, and opens their gifts.

If you want to take things one step further — and support a local business while you’re at it — order dozens of cupcakes from a local bakery. Deliver cupcakes to each house on your guest list, so everyone can eat birthday cake together.

4. Piece Together a Scavenger Hunt

A New York school teacher impressed all of us when she created a scavenger hunt as a virtual class activity. If you’re celebrating a child’s birthday, why not take a lesson from the teacher’s playbook?

Here’s how it works: Set a timer for 20 minutes. Tell all the party goers to find household items that start with each letter of the birthday child’s first name. Once everyone gets back together, have them share their findings with the rest of the group.

If you’re close with the other parents, here’s a fun gift idea: Ask everyone to film the scavenger hunt on their phone, then upload their respective files to Dropbox. Compile the videos into one complete film to enjoy as a digital scrapbook for years to come.

5. Organize a Birthday Happy Hour

The government declared liquor stores essential businesses, and we 100% support.

If you’re throwing an adult birthday party, all you need is a (virtual) get together with your besties to have a good time. Have everyone log in to Skype at the same time, and catch up while making yourself a glass (or two) of your favorite cocktail.

Want to mix things up a bit? Choose one talented friend to act as a mixologist, and train everyone else in your group to make a classy cocktail.

6. Organize a Spa Day

Nail salons may be closed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pamper yourself on your own. Have all your best pals order facials, nail polish, and other treat-yo-self splurges off Amazon. Then, come birthday time, have everyone log on to Zoom for a collective spa day.

Pour yourself mimosas, paint your nails, and wear face masks as you catch up. If you all sit around in slippers and fuzzy bathrobes all day, so be it — you’re at home, right?

7. Organize a Group Brunch

Boozy brunch may be the ultimate 21+ birthday celebration, and you’re not going to let a pandemic stop the mimosas from flowing. This year, forget the reservations, the overpriced drinks, and the split checks. Instead, you’re going to enjoy brunch the way nature intended — in your pajamas with coffee mugs full of champagne, preferably sprawled out on your living room floor while chatting with your best friends over Zoom.

If you wish to support local businesses, order brunch off UberEats, Caviar, or GrubHub. But if you feel like testing your culinary cooking skills — go for it!

8. Work It Out

Nearly every person in the fitness industry is currently streaming workouts online. For your birthday, sweat it out with your best friends by signing up for a favorite workout class (hey, we can all use more steps right now, can’t we?).

Whether it’s pilates, kickboxing, HIIT, or a Zumba dance party, you can work it out with your besties for your birthday. Afterwards, take the afterparty to another platform where you can replenish those depleted glycogen levels with birthday treats and beverages.

9. Conduct a Story Time

If you’re celebrating your child’s first birthday, long distance family members and other loved ones won’t want to miss it. And while the birthday guest of honor might not remember this particular birthday, everyone who loves and adores them certainly will.

FaceTime your family members and have them read a favorite story to the birthday girl or boy. It will allow them to interact in a fun way and will give your guests a memory to last a lifetime.

10. Host a Cooking Party

Here’s a virtual party idea that works for either an adult or kid’s birthday: Rather than have everyone splurge on takeout, have everyone cook their own dish with a virtual cooking class.

When you send out the evite, include a link to the cooking show and a grocery list. Have everyone purchase their groceries separately, then come together over Zoom to make the dish together. Once dinner is prepared, sit down to eat and drink together.

Greenvelope Keeps Your Loved Ones Together, Even When Physically Apart

A virtual birthday party invitation that reads, "WiFi, Booze, & You"

Design: Manu Torres

You may not be able to hug one another or clink wine glasses, but you can still celebrate together even when you’re physically apart.

At Greenvelope, we believe every birthday can (and should) be special — even when not seated directly next to family and friends. With our digital invitations, we bring your loved ones together across Zoom, FaceTime, or whatever platform you choose to celebrate.

There are plenty of ways to make a birthday feel special (this list is just the frosting on the cake, so-to-speak). However you choose to celebrate, we’re sure the birthday vibes will be felt by all your guests — even from miles away.