By Samantha Bernstein
Late spring and early summer are times usually filled with tons of events. From graduations to weddings, birthdays to anniversaries, engagements to retirements, there are a lot of reasons to celebrate! And although parties as we know them are on a bit of a hiatus due to COVID, these milestones do not just cease to exist. So, the question remains: how can we continue to support our friends and family who have had to cancel, reschedule, or rethink how they hold their festivities? Here are 5 ways to let your loved ones know that your thoughts, commiserations, congratulations, and well wishes are with them.
1. Reach out!
Don’t hesitate to shoot them a text or email, pick up the phone, or even send them some snail mail. While always appreciated, these gestures are all the more important as the event hosts and guests of honor cope with the fact that you cannot be together in the way that they originally intended. This is an opportunity to be there for your friends in whatever ways they need; however, it is not the time to offer opinions or advice regarding their event decisions (unless you are specifically asked!!).
2. Send a gift.
3. Plan a Zoom Surprise Party.
Plan a surprise party via Zoom or Google Hangouts. Thanks to classic TV shows like Friends and Full House, surprise parties hold a very special place in my heart. And what better time to plan one than right now? It’s fairly easy to mobilize friends and family thanks to the advent of social media. Plan a call with the guest of honor for a specific time, but inform everyone else of an arrival time approximately 15 minutes earlier. Imagine your friend’s look of surprise when they log on and see 30 of their nearest and dearest from various parts of their life together on one screen!
4. Make a video (or collage or sign) for them.
Reach out to the honoree’s loved ones and ask that they record and email you short clips of them sending love and well wishes. Using editing software (such as iMovie), compile these clips into a single video.
5. Decorate their driveway.
Channel your inner child and leave a chalk message on their driveway or sidewalk. Consider using this opportunity to wish them a happy birthday or a congratulations. Feel free to include inside jokes, draw little illustrations (even just a smiley-face or flower), write them a poem, or anything else. Get creative and have fun with it! And it’s totally up to you whether you want to sign your work or leave it anonymous.
And here's an additional thought: all of these ideas can be adapted as ways to thank first responders and essential workers for all that they are doing right now!