Coronavirus has hit us hard, in more ways than we can count. The effects of this pandemic have been completely devastating and we're all experiencing hardships in multiple ways.
Amid all of this terror, my young son (whose birthday is coming up) asks 'Am I still having a party?'
(For some background) My kids have severe autism and cannot cope with traditional parties. Hence, we usually have very small parties that are "just us" and one or two of our friends, so they don't become overwhelmed. This year, however, we were planning on inviting some school friends to our son's birthday, anticipating that he may be able to handle it. With COVID-19 appearing, those plans were promptly quashed before they had barely begun.
As we adults try our utmost to navigate our way through this world crisis, we parents aim to protect our children as best we can. Our kids are feeling it too, even when we limit their exposure as much as possible.
Children need routine. They need some consistency and normalcy in their lives. And we all need a positive distraction from what is going on in the world around us, however temporary that may be. We need to have something to look forward to.
Now is an as important time as ever, to still celebrate. To still practise joy, to still place value on each other and this precious life we have. To still creative valuable memories.
In the days of social distancing, social gatherings and parties are banned in many places. But if someone in our life has a birthday, wedding anniversary or other special occasion coming up, it is natural to want to celebrate it.
And whilst we cannot hold large parties and invite the whole neighbourhood, we can still host small celebrations with our own households. Your response to that may be 'what is the point of that?' Well, there is every reason to celebrate each other right now. Those we live with every day are the ones closest to us; those we love and treasure the most. Why wouldn't we want to celebrate them?
So while my son is not having any friends or extended family coming to celebrate his birthday this year, we will indeed still be celebrating with a mini-party.
In this article I share some of my tips for hosting a small and intimate DIY party during the COVID-19 pandemic, for your immediate family, in your own home. A mini-party, if you will.
1. Focus on what you CAN do
When planning a party in isolation, it is easy to fall into a trap of disappointment and focussing on what you are unable to do - hosting a big gathering of family and friends.
By focussing on what you can actually still do even in isolation, you can still enjoy planning and celebrating your special event.
Think on the bright side! Your party may very well be on a much smaller scale, but you can still do all of the following :
- have a party theme
- have presents
- sing Happy Birthday or other relevant congratulations
blow out the candles
- eat cake
- play party games or other entertainment
- decorate at home
You can still enjoy a great party during the COVID-19 pandemic; you simply need to think a little more creatively. And most importantly, you can still make your guest of honour feel special and loved!
2. Google is your Friend
When DIY'ing a party, Google is the best place to start. With a quick Google search, you will find seemingly endless tips and ideas for absolutely anything party related. You can search online in your pyjamas while eating cake. And the best thing is, you don't have to leave home to do it!
If you're feeling a bit glum about not being able to host a massive gathering, a Google search can help you to feel productive and get your creative juices flowing. You won't feel lack of party inspiration once you get going. So go on, give it a go!
3. Party Tech
If we can't be together in person, we can still be together by video, with our wonderful digital technology. Loved ones outside of your home can still celebrate with you via apps such as Facetime, Skype and Zoom.
Consider setting up video conferencing for the most memorable parts of your celebration, such as gift opening or singing Happy Birthday and blowing out the candles!
Using the modern technology available to us, we can still share our party with those who cannot attend in person and make wonderful memories together.
4. Party Shoot
If you can't video chat, you can do the next best thing. A mini photo shoot is a great option for sharing your party with extended family and friends.
All is needed is a few balloons and hanging decorations, as shown in the image above.
Photographs like this are a lovely way to include others who cannot be with you in persona, but still makes them feel a part of the day.
Even during COVID-19, there are still options for a party cake. If there are any cake businesses locally who are still open, you may be able to order a cake over the phone or online for delivery or a quick pick-up. By doing this, you're supporting local small business and helping to keep them afloat in these challenging times.
5. Bake the cake
Alternatively, you can most definitely make your own celebration cake. A home-baked cake is perfect for a small party at home. With the whole family at home in isolation, everyone can pitch in and help!
If you’re stuck for ideas, a search online for themed cake ideas will leave you having trouble choosing one!
A simple recipe is best - a good old butter cake or chocolate cake is all you need. And don’t feel guilty about using a packet cake, if it will make things easier on yourself.
If baking your own cake from scratch is not an option, you could choose to purchase a plain, un-iced supermarket cake and decorate it yourself.
Don't like the idea of a cake? Get a little more creative! Supermarket cupcakes or donuts stacked or arranged together make gorgeous options for a celebration cake. For inspiration, an online search is a great start.
6. Décor by Distance
Even a small party at home is brightened with a little party décor, but you don't have to go crazy with it. A few balloons or bunting is absolutely fine when it's only your family in attendance. We're not trying to impress anyone here, people!
You can save yourself from going outside your home to source party décor. Consider using what you already have at home - pull out that bag of balloons at the bottom of the stationery drawer, or sew a pretty bunting banner with that fabric you've been meaning to use. What about those paper napkins and party plates lurking in the big storage tub?
If your cupboards and drawers are party bare, you still have options! Many suppliers are still trading online, so party goods can be ordered online for home delivery.
Our party decorations at The Digi Dame Party Shoppe are all digital downloads, making them a great option for at-home DIY parties. You can order online and download them right away. You are also able to print and assemble them at home, making them perfect for parties in isolation.
7. Set Atmosphere
When you're planning a small party at home, it can feel as though you're going through the motions, but something is missing. With any large gathering of people, creating atmosphere is easy, but when it's "just you" you may feel like the atmosphere is lacking.
You can help to alleviate this by planning a party day playlist. Using a music app such as Spotify, you can create your own personalised party playlist and have it playing on the day, to create some "noise", making it feel more like a bigger party.
8. Set the Fun
It's true that people of all ages love party games, even if they refuse to admit it! You may feel like party games for a small number of people at home is not worth the trouble, but it really is. Anything you choose to do will be on a smaller scale, but you can still have amazing party fun with just your housemates.
It may be as simple as setting aside a small space for the kids to dance to some music, or a small activity related to your party theme (if you have one) such as painting for an art party or a scavenger hunt in the backyard.
Here are some more ideas:
- board games
- video games that suit your theme
- DIY karaoke
- hide and seek
- Simon Says
- DIY trivia
- backyard sport
- dance videos e.g YouTube
- movie night/marathon
You can totally DIY your party games, even in isolation. If you want something more tailored to a specific party theme, an internet search will leave you exhausted with multiple options to choose from!
Well, that's it! I hope these 8 tips for parties during the COVID-19 crisis help you to party without breaking the quarantine, and still enjoy your celebrations at home. Let's hope we can get back to our bigger parties next year.
Want more tips for kids' parties? Click here