One of the hardest things about living far from someone you love, is not being able to spend their birthday with them. The most obvious way of making someone’s day extra special it would seem, is by being there to organize parties and deliver gifts and affection, but with a few creative uses of simple technology, we are here to claim that you can definitely make their birthday a day to remember even if you can’t be physically there with them. We’ve come up with three ways to use every-day technology like email, texting, and websites you use daily to make them feel extra special this year.
- Create a Birthday Email Address. – This one works best with at least a little bit of advanced planning. Whether you have a few weeks leading up to the birthday of your long-distance bestie, boyfriend, brother, etc., or a few months, this can be a winning option which can cause both extreme surprise and joy. All you have to do it create a unique birthday email address, say for example email@example.com (or, you know firstname.lastname@example.org). Create the account and start emailing love notes, birthday wishes, photos, videos, songs, scanned old photos, forward old email exchanges, anything that you think will make them happy. While waiting in line at the supermarket you can send an email about how you’re thinking about them and what you might buy for them if they were here. You can even give out the address to other friends and family to send wishes too. Then, on their birthday, give them the password! They will be blown away by the thought you put in and be able to sit down and go through the emails feeling how much you thought of them in honor of their birthday.
- Call in Reinforcements! Often people feel that just a call or email to the special person on their big day is just not enough to express everything they want to say. So imagine tens of people calling and emailing to tell them how much you are wishing them all the wonderful things in the world on their birthday. We spoke to Guy who told us he’s been doing this for the past six years on his mom’s birthday. He sends a mass email to all of his friends asking them to call or email his mom on her birthday to wish her the happiest of birthdays. He told us, “I never liked giving gifts which were bought from a store. Mainly because I usually prefer getting gifts which are custom-made to fit the relationship between myself and the person giving the gift. So with my mom, I felt I had to do the same and she is so down to earth, so appreciative of every small thing but most of all she loves people more than anything. So sending people who she did or did not know to wish her happy birthday was the perfect gift.”
- Make a Birthday Playlist. There is something magical about music that creates an atmosphere and a flavor for the day, it can bring back memories and change your mood. Having a soundtrack for their big day can add that extra something in between the lines for the day to feel that much more personalized. They can listen to your custom playlist while getting ready for the day, riding between stops or just chilling before going out that night. You can come up with songs that will remind them of special times you’ve had together and just general feel-good music according to their taste. Denise told us that her sister did this for her on her birthday two years ago and it’s still her go-to playlist when she’s thinking of her sister or just needs a pick-me-up. She told us, “it was a really nice birthday but I was sorry my sister wasn’t there to spend it with me, and when she sent me the playlist in the morning I listened throughout the day and felt like she was there with me in a different way and haven’t stopped listening to it since!” You can listen to the mix all day as well and even post it on social media for others to celebrate with them too by listening in. A few birthday-themed songs to consider including are, The Beatles’ “Happy Birthday”, “It’s My Party (and I’ll cry if I want to)” by Lesley Gore, Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday”, for the Bob Dylan lovers there’s “Forever Young” (and for a softer interpretation try Audra Mae’s version). Of course there’s the eternal rendition of “Happy Birthday Mr. President” sung by Marilyn Monroe. And not to leave out the pop fans, you might like “Birthday” by Katy Perry or “Young Forever” by Jay Z featuring Mr. Hudson. Two easy and free ways to create a playlist are on YouTube or 8tracks.com. This too is something you can build over time leading up to their birthday as you think of songs they’ll love.
Don’t let the distance make you think that you can’t be there in virtual ways, make this a birthday to remember. With one or two or all three of these ideas, you can be the one to add that extra something to your loved one’s birthday this year. So go on, start thinking of songs for the playlist!