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The day you were born is a special one. And because this year a lot of people are having to celebrate a long distance birthday, we’ve found the 10 best ideas to keep it special for you or your loved one. Even a birthday from afar can be fun!

Over the years we’ve all made rituals that make our birthday individual and personal – but what can you do when you or your friend will be having a long distance birthday this year and your family and friends will be far away – because 2020. Yep… AND 2021.

If you’re having to get creative because of social distancing, a business or private trip in order to have a good long distance birthday, then these ideas are for you. Read our 10 unusual tips on how to make your birthday or a loved one’s birthday special even from a distance.

If you’re looking for ways to make a friend or family member’s birthday memorable, scroll down to the second half on this article.

Here are 5 ways to celebrate your own long-distance birthday…

1. Plan your after-birthday!

A planner and pink post-it notes are used to plan a long distance birthday party

You’re birthday-manic and without a big party it’s just not the same? Then use your birthday to plan the perfect party! Preferably for a time when you’ll be able to see your loved ones again finally!

If you’re going all out, you can even create personalized invitations or save the date cards. Create a motto, write a guest list full of the friends you’ve been missing.

Plus, you can get friends involved in the planning excitement over Zoom or WhatsApp. You raring to go yet? Good. Did you know they say that that anticipation is the best kind of happiness?

2. Learn something with friends from afar

Ever since lockdown – if not before – we’ve realized that video calls can be a tiiiiny bit draining. Especially if more than two people are taking part.

Well, how about inviting friends to an online workshop instead for a long distance birthday online? Moderated by a professional of course. You want to learn something after all!

Know a yoga teacher? Great! Ask him or her if they’re up for offering a virtual group hour exclusively for you.

Or something a bit more creative instead? Then jump on Google and look for workshops in your area. Get in touch and ask them if they’re able to offer a digital lesson for you and your friends. A basic drawing course, embroidery for dummies, making chestnut animals, a yodelling course or belly dancing – whatever floats your boat!

If you want to see more ideas on how to keep in touch from afar, take a look at these 14 tried and tested ideas.

3. Send yourself a birthday card

A long distance birthday card lies on a book

Being wished the best is a part of a good birthday tradition. So turn it around and send yourself a birthday card from afar. Try creating an individualised birthday card with your own photos by app here. You can send them anywhere in the world with a click.

But what is the perfect long distance birthday greeting for myself? How about, “It’s my birthday and I wanted to spend it with you. Let’s just repeat this with friends another time. Drinks are on you!”

Okay …. but what do I get out of it? When you’re choosing photos for your birthday card, you get to see all the great, funny and treasured moments and memories with your friends and family in your photo gallery, and you’ll feel automatically loved. AND you get a memento to stick on the wall! Happy happy birthday, me!

4. Celebrate your birthday with … yourself!

hand holds a cupcake with a candle on top

You read that right: Celebrate your long distance birthday with … you! Sure that sounds a bit odd to start with, but it’s actually a real mood booster! Spending time with yourself can be wonderful. And an extra – your sense of self worth will be improved at the same time too!

Get ready for your big ‘you’ day! Prepare a Spotify playlist full of your favorite songs, discover a new favorite drink, bake or order yourself a birthday cake (and eat it by yourself for once)! Make it a beauty self-care day or play your favorite Play station game, whatever your guilty pleasure is. Really treat yourself.

To put it plainly: Take your time, treat yourself and have a great birthday!

5. Do something good on your birthday

So the party isn’t happening this year? The video chat with friends in celebration of the occasion is still on though? You could use the money that your friends would normally have spent on your surprise party, gifts or drinks for a good cause. How about you use your long distance birthday video chat to do something good at the same time? Where the donation is the cost of entry..?

You can easily have friends transfer money over PayPal. As the birthday kid, you get to pick the charity out in advance and your friends donate before joining. At the end of the party you can let everyone know what the total donation is!

You can even go all the way and send thank you cards to your video chat donators / visitors, perhaps decorated with some funny screenshots from the chat itself…

Looking for ideas for your partner or best friend’s long distance birthday?

What can you do for… your long-distance boyfriend’s birthday? Or your far away best friend forever? Or a sibling who’s feeling low during lockdown. Of course you can adapt the above ideas for them, but if they’ve got their own thing planned, you might want to surprise them in a different way.

So here’s how to celebrate your best friend’s or lover’s birthday at a distance.

6. A balcony birthday serenade

Two women clap from their balconies in pink houses

Italy did it first and other countries followed suit. Throughout lockdown #1, songs have been belted out from balconies and communities have come together. So how about organizing a balcony concert yourself as a birthday surprise serenade to your best friend or loved one?

The work would lie in getting the neighbours involved more than anything else. But you can do that from afar! Most neighbourhoods are connected on platforms like Nextdoor. So you can ask for help there!

This idea demands some organizational talent and an engaged neighbourhood. But it’ll definitely be a one of a kind long distance birthday greeting!

7. Birthday wishes as personal as your memories together

Are you currently hurting your head thinking of ways to celebrate your friend or family member’s birthday from a distance? Here’s a simple, but personal idea for you. You’ve probably lived through a lot together, right? Put those moments to paper and send it in the post.

Either as a letter reminiscing about your favorite moment together or as a story made of printed photos or postcards sent directly to their door.

Let your friends and family know what you’re doing and encourage them to do the same. That way they’ll get a whole stack of birthday post, all full of great memories to make them feel loved from afar.

Send a birthday card today

8. An instagrammable long distance birthday present…

A woman scrolls through Instagram

Even if the birthday girl or boy has an Instagram account already, creating a private Instagram account for them as a creative long distance birthday greeting is a great idea!

You need an internet connection, a smartphone, a little social media know-how … and that’s all. Set up the account and give the login details to close friends and family of the birthday kid in question. Ask them to post their favorite photos along with a birthday caption.

Make sure to keep the account private so that they don’t discover their surprise before its time! Then, on their birthday, just give them the Instagram log in details (or have them follow the account), and then they can scroll through countless birthday wishes and great memories.

9. The classic for long distance birthdays

A man at the window looks at his phone

Nowadays there are so many ways to celebrate someone on their birthday that we sometimes forget the simple option. To pick up the telephone and have a personal chat. It sounds a bit old school, but just think about it. How did you feel after your last surprise telephone call with a loved one? Exactly!

Taking some time to pick up the phone and call the birthday boy or girl won’t just make them happy. You’re also on the call and you’ll also feel connected.

If your connection is poor because of the distance, try sending voice messages instead. Hearing their voice just isn’t enough? Then upgrade yourself to a video call – if the wifi plays along!

B.T.W. If it’s your mom you want to surprise, you might find these 10 ideas to make Mother’s Day special from a distance useful.

10. Organize a gift card Tombola

Classy brown gift cards like on top of an envelope

Everyone’s guilty of it – you didn’t get a present in time and you print out a gift card. It’s fast, you can easily add a message and send it by post (or email) to the birthday boy or girl. But it doesn’t have to look like a last minute thought! You can find some nice ideas for decorating here.

By presenting the gift card right, it’ll look more personal and will show that you’ve put a lot of thought into your gift. For example, organize a gift card Tombola!

Find friends and family who’d like to take part in the birthday raffle and write their names on bits of paper. On the gift cards, write down activities that could be bought with them and that you know the birthday kid will like doing.

Once you’re in a video conference with the whole group on his or her long distance birthday … let the raffle begin! Here’s how it works: first you draw from the gift card stack, then from the notes with the names on them. That way, you get unlikely combos and everyone has fun!

We hope you liked our long distance birthday ideas!

Colorful ballons in front of white brick wall celebrate long distance birthday
Happy Birthday from the MyPostcard team!

Do you have any ideas on celebrating a long distance birthday that we’ve left out? Let us know in the comments!

Don’t forget to send cards for upcoming events. Check out our calendar for the details.

P.S. If you haven’t sent the birthday boy or girl a card yet, or you’re not sure what to write, check out this article on what to write in a birthday card (or what to write in a milestone birthday card if it’s a big one!).


Hiya, I’m Maud. I’m an English girl who's moved to Berlin - because who wouldn’t fall in love with a country which has words like ‘Kummerspeck’ hidden around every corner... I love traveling and finding out the quirks of each country - and what better way to remember them than on a postcard?

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