It’s my little nephew’s birthday coming up in a few days – his is just the day after my Edward’s, actually – and most years we all get together and have a bit of a do.
Obviously, we can’t do that this year – but it got me thinking about the things you can do to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions with your loved ones when you can’t be there.
Send a card without going to the post office
Usually, if I can’t be with someone on their birthday, I send them a card in the post. It’s a simple thing, but I love getting cards from my family and friends.
But at the moment, it’s not as simple as popping down to the card shop and then picking up a book of stamps from the post office! That doesn’t have to stop you sending birthday greetings, though – either by email, or a real physical card in the post.
If you want to send a proper card in the post, you could try Moonpig (www.moonpig.com). There are lots of other options out there, but the prices are all pretty similar and I like Moonpig’s range of cards.
The way it works is that they’ve got a whole load of different card designs to choose from – then you add names, photos and messages to make them your own. Once you’ve designed your card, Moonpig will print it for you to the same sort of standard you’d get in a shop, and post it directly to wherever you like. A standard personalised card costs £3.49.
E-cards can be a good alternative, though. The simplest is just like a sort of digital postcard – a picture with a message that you can email to someone. There are various online templates you can use to make them, or you can just add writing to a photo using the Photos app on your phone, tablet or PC.
If you’re after something a bit more… card-y… there’s a free website called Greetings Island (www.greetingsisland.com) that lets you make and send e-cards. Once you’ve customised your card, your friend gets an email with a link to their card. It comes out of an envelope in a nice little animation, then they can open and read the card by clicking and dragging on the screen.
The fanciest type of e-card is a little animation, with music and sound effects and all sorts. If you want to send this sort of card, I recommend Jacquie Lawson (www.jacquielawson.com). Membership costs £9 a year, but for that you can send as many cards as you like – and they really are lovely.
Have a “virtual party” by video call
There’s nothing to stop you getting together for a party by video call (have a look back at last week’s email here if you want a reminder of how).
You can set up your tablet or laptop or whatever and raise a glass, eat some cake, sing happy birthday and even play a game of charades all from the safety of your own living room!
Send a gift or some chocolates straight to their door
Even though all the non-essential shops have closed on the high street, a lot of online-based businesses are still running as normal (or as close to normal as you can these days).
You might have to wait a little bit longer for delivery if there aren’t as many staff around as usual, but you can still order chocolates, flowers and other gifts to be delivered straight to your friend. Online shops that sell a lot of gifts – like Not On the High Street or Firebox – usually have a gift-wrapping option too.
If you need a bit of help with online shopping, it’s all covered in our book How to Shop Online with Confidence. You can read the full information, and if you like order a free trial copy here.