Celebrating While Distancing: A COVID Guide


Birthdays, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day. It’s springtime in North Carolina and special occasions are upon us, regardless of what’s going on in the world outside our front door. How can we celebrate while still maintaining a healthy distance from our loved ones? Technology and old-fashioned ingenuity, it seems, have the answers. This is your guide to celebrating while distancing. 

Support Local Businesses

Many local businesses such as bakeries, coffee houses, breweries, and restaurants are offering curbside pickup and delivery services to help them pay the rent. You can order coffee beans for the caffeine junky in your life, pastries for the foodie, and burgers, pizza, and wings for just about anyone you’ve ever met. For local beer options, search this list for Charlotte. There are more than a few breweries open (with limited operating hours) for crowler fills and bottle/can sales. Nothing says “happy birthday” or “I miss you” like a care package of local, artisanal-quality goods. As an added bonus, some restaurants are throwing in a roll of toilet paper with takeout orders.

ECards: All the Sentiment and None of the Germs

If you snoop around online, you’re sure to unearth a few ecard companies so that you can let a loved one know that you’re thinking about them without having to venture out to the store or make physical contact. Funny cards are especially helpful in times of crisis, and perhaps no company we’ve found is funnier than JibJab. You can send their ecards for father’s day, mother’s day, or just plain because. This service even has something called “shorties,” in which you upload a picture of your face to have it superimposed into a hilarious video. Creativity such as this can go a long way towards brightening someone’s day.

Say “I Love You” Every Day

During uncertain times, it can help to maintain contact with loved ones. Text messages and phone calls will do the job in a pinch, but video chats make it more fun – and provide an excuse to get out of your pajamas. Try Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, or any other video chat service – especially on birthdays and other special occasions. Lift a drink together – whether it be a soda, a juice, or a beer – while you’re on a video call. Such activities can be uplifting. Some beer fans are keeping up with a regular “happy hour” on video chat platforms, while families who used to meet for a meal once a week can stage an impromptu dinner together online.

What About Children?

A child isn’t going to be uplifted by a pound of artisanally-roasted coffee beans, but there are ways to make the day special for them. Some families will drive by a friend’s house and hold hand-crafted poster-board signs with birthday greetings out the windows. In fact, if you organize enough families, you can stage a mini parade past the recipient’s house. With all families staying in their vehicles, social distancing is kept in practice while the child of honor gets to feel special. Don’t overlook the once-popular practice of serenading. Standing outside of a friend’s home and singing “Happy birthday,” perhaps with musical accompaniment, will be a memory they’ll cherish.

And now may be the time to practice your baking skills. Using YouTube videos and online tutorials, try making a better birthday cake than you’ve ever made before. If you’re having a difficulty finding certain ingredients at the grocery store, try some of the restaurants that are selling groceries, or try to make a recipe with substitutions. For example, if you can’t locate eggs, look for vegan cake recipes. 

Just because a birthday or other special occasion falls during the days of COVID-19 doesn’t mean that it can’t be special. In fact, overcoming the obstacles can help it be even more memorable.