Culture

7 ways to celebrate Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays, showers and more that have risen to the top

How to have a Zoom party that doesn’t feel like work — and more!

How to have a Zoom party that doesn’t feel like work — and more!

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Ahead of Mother's Day weekend we've looked back at the ways we've celebrated things like birthdays and showers while socially distanced to distil seven really simple ideas that are safe and actually fun. Here are things to give and do for your upcoming isolation celebrations. 

Things to give:

Food deliveries

Surprise food deliveries offer instant gratification for any price range. From the local fast food chains to independent restaurants and bakeries, you can jump online or get on the phone and order up a no-contact delivery of someone's favourite meal to pretty much anywhere. This is also a good last minute option if, for example, you've forgotten a birthday, since the turnaround time is pretty quick, depending on how fancy you go. A cake might require more lead time. But there's no better way to say I love you than pizza, tbh. 

Presents from local businesses

Events like showers will probably still have online registries that make things simple. For occasions like Mother's Day, you could support small local businesses in your area by ordering from them. Puzzles, for example, have been a hot ticket and many people find their local book or gift shops have some in stock when larger suppliers have been sold out.

Subscriptions

This might be the right time to give your parents an additional streaming service subscription and unlock lots more watch options for them, like entire seasons of shows. Maybe you know someone who would really be into the Zoom fitness classes you're doing but would only try them if they got the first month as a gift. Maybe someone who can't be out playing tennis right now actually would enjoy learning about it from Serena Williams' MasterClass

That being said, gifts are a luxury in the best of financial circumstances, so there are a lot of other ways to show you care.  

Things to do:

Have a Zoom party that doesn't feel like work

For your socially distanced celebrations there are some ways to maximize the Zoom video-conferencing experience

For the guest list, don't go so big that no one can talk. Zoom hangs that are focused on talking — not playing a game or some other activity — seem to work best with small groups who know each other well enough. Unlike an in-person party, you can also schedule different groups at different times — family from across the country in the afternoon, your roleplay gaming friends in the evening, for example.  

If you're organizing a virtual party for someone else, pick a time of day that suits them best. If your mom wakes up early she may not want to spend a lonely Mother's Day waiting for a nighttime gathering.  

Have an online game night

If you're a group of eight people or less, you can use the Houseparty app to play built-in games like trivia and Heads Up!. Houseparty has a more spontaneous vibe, allowing users to jump between "rooms" easily. 

But you can use any video chat platform to play trivia games. The approach we've seen work best is where one quiz master asks the questions while all players write their answers on a piece of paper to share onscreen when the timer's up. You can copy old Jeopardy questions, pull out the Trivial Pursuit cards or write your own based on themes. 

Have a movie night

Whether you're watching Anne with an E on CBC Gem with Mom while on the phone, or using Netflix Party to have that group watching experience without being in the same room, movie and TV nights have remained one of the preferred ways to gather and chill together. 

Find new and special ways to say 'Surprise!"

My friend Arnika had been planning her karaoke birthday party for a few weeks before we all undertook strict social distancing measures. My friends decided to find a way to bring the karaoke vibe to her without the sticky microphone. We all recorded videos of ourselves at home, singing our best karaoke jams. "My morning started off a bit slow — it was just me and my dog in my apartment," Arnika said, "and then, all of a sudden, at 12 p.m. I started getting these video messages from my friends. A couple at once — and I was, like, 'Oh, weird, they're all singing songs to me,' and then after about five more videos that it was a smartphone ambush. I couldn't keep up with how many videos I was getting. It took me a few hours to watch them all and cry — and laugh and cry some more."  

If you and your friends aren't into singing there are lots of other ways to plan a virtual surprise. One nice thing my friends and I usually do to celebrate someone on their birthday is to go around the room and say what we love about the birthday person. We took that idea online for our friend, Jane, using the hashtag #whyilovejane in our Instagram stories and posts. "All day long people were posting stuff and it was really really sweet and made a huge difference and just made me feel really loved," Jane said. And that's the real thing about birthdays and other special days: making sure that your loved ones feel special and appreciated.

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