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Although we all understand the importance of Stage 4 lockdown and social distancing right now, missing out on important days can still be a bit of a bummer

Not having friends or family around for birthdays and other special events is unfortunate, but there are still ways to make the best out of these days. Read on to get six tips on celebrating your birthday in style, or making someone else’s big day extra special, without leaving your couch.

Digital keepsakes

For those who are living alone, or are far away from their loved ones during this time, making memories together will need to get more creative. Luckily, there’s an app created with our current situation in mind.

ForKeeps allows you to create your own memories through themed albums, like your birthday for example. You can invite friends and family to add to your album with birthday balloons, wishes and their favourite pictures of you together. The app is available for download on Google Play or iOS Appstore or accessed via their website here.

Virtual experiences

Who would’ve thought that, during lockdown, you could still enjoy a local jazz club’s cocktail hour, do a mind and body class with an Olympian, or do sound bath meditation with a Singapore DJ?

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Airbnb recently announced the launch of Online Experiences, in a bid to allow people to explore the world from home, while also giving theirExperience hosts a way of continuing to earn an income.

From living rooms in New York, to kitchens in Italy, there is something for everyone to enjoy. These Airbnb Experiences make for fun birthday gifts. Moreover, it’s a unique way to celebrate your birthday from the comfort – and safety – of home.

Friends’ night out

Lockdown doesn’t mean you can’t buy tickets to online events, like music concerts, stand-up comedy, and interesting collabs. Traditional ticketing platforms, like Quicket, have pivoted to enable this sort of online entertainment.

If you’re planning a lockdown birthday party for a friend, scroll through their website to find an online event, get your tickets, and voila! You can also pay it forward at the same time. There is now an option for artists to put a QR code on their live streams. If you scan it, it takes you to a page where you can super easily donate to the streamer. Similarly, for people live streaming on Quicket, there’s a payment widget now alongside their streams where people can make payment without even leaving the live stream.

Marshmallow Cake recipe

Celebrate in real-time

If you’re just longing to hear a chorus of your friends and loved ones singing Happy Birthday in unison, Google’s premium video conferencing platform, Google Meet is now free for everyone everywhere and is the perfect place to gather friends and family in one place, at the same time, for an unforgettable celebration.

Birthday party guests just need a Google email address in order to sign up and enjoy video conferencing features like screen sharing, real-time captions, and video layout toggle preferences. 

Get into the vibe

There’s nothing like music to make a special occasion even more memorable. Being on lockdown doesn’t mean that you can’t turn up and have a good time on your special day.

With YouTube Music you can access endless ready-to-go playlists like Today’s Biggest Hits,  Amapiano Trip and the Pop Hotlist. If you prefer the beat of your own drum, you can compile your own unique playlist and share it with your friends to enjoy on your special occasion.

We’ve compiled a list to get you started below. Give these a try:

  • Telephone by Lady Gaga feat Beyonce
  • Firework by Katy Perry
  • Bodak Yellow by Cardi B
  • Baby Shark by Pink Fong

Get YouTube Music from the Play Store and App Store today or check out the web player at music.youtube.com.

Dinner date

With Stage 4 regulations allowing the delivery of food from restaurants, why not treat yourself to a fancy dinner from one of your favourite spots? If you’re planning a birthday for someone, turn your dining room into a restaurant – write up a menu, set the scene with music, and light those candles. At least it’ll feel different from your usual meals.

If you’re closer to the Cape Town CBD, FYN is now delivering their well-loved Experience Menu, including dishes like grilled springbok loin, blue Pacific prawns and chocolate truffles.

If you’re out in the southern suburbs and fancy some Italian, Limoncello has curated a special lockdown menu for delivery, with favourites like Tagliatelle alle Polpette, Risotto Carciofi & Funghi and tiramisu included. Last but not least, for those in the northern suburbs, satisfy your seafood cravings with a decadent sushi platter from Blowfish Restaurant. They too have a special lockdown menu available and have included warm meals like moussaka and tom yum goong.