My daughter just celebrated her 13th birthday in mandatory quarantine.  She was in contact with a student at school that tested positive for Coronavirus, so she had to spend 14 days in her room, and could not be within 6′ of anyone else.

Here are some tips if you are celebrating a birthday in quarantine!

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We did a lot of FaceTiming throughout the day so we could talk to our daughter.  Lots of her friends and family also called her to wish her a wonderful birthday!


We had already purchased gifts ahead of time (fortunately, since shopping now is limited).  Keep in mind if you order online, delivery times for nonessential items can be delayed.

If you can still shop, try to find some good things to keep the birthday person busy, such as games, crafts, books, or whatever else they might like to do.

Another option is to give them gift cards for things they can order online.  My daughter was going to get a shopping spree for her birthday, but it will be a long time before she can go to stores, so she got a lot of Amazon gift cards and she did shopping online and let me know what she wanted me to order.

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The original plan was to have a special dinner and dessert, and that my daughter was going to get a cookie cake from the Great American Cookie, and we would have a big weekend lunch at her favorite Japanese restaurant, since her favorite meal is a vegetarian bento box.  While she couldn’t leave the house, and restaurants can’t even offer sit-down dining, we were able to do takeout and bring foods home.  If you have times to plan, you could also cook a nice meal.

You can purchase pre-made cakes if your grocery store bakery is closed, or make your own.  I had actually purchased frozen macarons from Trader Joe’s, which were going to be a birthday day treat (a busy school day), but they ended up being a good option.


Finding decorations might be limited, but if you can find any balloons or decorations, you can still decorate.  Since my daughter wasn’t allowed out of her room, we gave her some big “13” balloons for her to bring in her room.

Arrange a parade

Parades have been popular, and local friends and family drive by with signs, confetti, etc. and honk and cheer!

Make memories and stay positive!

I won’t lie; among the bright moments were some tears.  Imagine being locked in your room on your birthday.. or just not being able to leave the house or know when you will see your friends or family next.  We talked about how this was certainly going to be a birthday that would be memorable and be the topic of stories in the future.  It also makes it that much more special for when we are done with social distancing, to be able to get out for a celebration with friends and family.

Celebrate later, too!

Whether it is days or months, when it is safe to spend time with friends, my daughter will be able to enjoy a birthday celebration with her friends.  We originally told her she could do some shopping, a special lunch, etc., and those will still happen.  It is ok to acknowledge that some celebrating will take place later!