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How to Survive Lockdown Birthdays

Have you had lockdown Birthdays yet? Being an April baby mine came fairly early on in lockdown 1. Martin however, has just experienced his. This blog is all about how to survive a lockdown birthday. What can you do to make it a bit more special when you can’t go out? If you are like us, and not had the same amount of revenue coming in, you might need to think about birthday celebrations on a budget.

Plan in well advance

The more you can plan in advance the better, especially if you have to make things yourself. Martin and I didn’t have a great deal of money to spend on presents this year, so our advice is to go for something very small as a token gift, like our letterbox gifts or perhaps something small for the home that you can use such as a tea light holder The alternative is to buy something that you need. With lockdown birthdays you really need to think about shopping online.

I know the latter sounds a bit boring, but it does mean that you will spend less money in the long run, and you are sure to get something that you will use. We don’t mind getting presents we need, so that is never an issue for us. Martin got a fancy drill to help with the renovations of Aaltje our little Dutch barge.

Make it yourself

When it comes to birthday decorations, keep things in perspective. They are only going to be up for one day. You don’t need to buy anything elaborate. In fact, I didn’t buy anything at all. I made Martin’s birthday decorations from items I had around the boat.

Hanging decorations

I wanted to have a few decorations on the boat, and the first thing I thought about was to have some bunting. I had made some bunting for the Crafty Boaters Christmas Market It was very easy. I went online and found various website where you could create bunting for free and then download it to print out at home. The one I used was But if you don’t have a printer, you could always cut your own and use pencils or pens to write and draw your own designs

Printable bunting
Bunting created from a printable template and Christmas Lights also make good decorations for birthday’s as well.

Christmas lights also make another inexpensive decoration. I say inexpensive as most people have them already. In our case, as Martin’s birthday is in January, we have only just taken them down! So from this year, when I pack the Christmas decorations away I will remember to keep the lights handy and at the top of the decorations box for other celebrations at home. You may have other items in your Christmas decs, that could also be used for birthdays too.

Table decorations

I didn’t go all out on table decorations, a nice table cloth would probably have been enough, but we do have some nice candles, so I used those. I also had some Kraft card that had been sitting in the cupboard for three years, and I really enjoy hand block painting, so I created some Happy Birthday table mats. Again, you could use pencils or felt pens for this, or poster paints. You could cut potato stamps The Spruce Crafts have some instructions for this. I use wooden stamping blocks from The Arty Crafty Place with acrylic craft paint (any brand will do).

Hand block printed table mat
Hand block printed table mat using wooden block stamps and acrylic paint on Kraft paper

Birthday cake

I may have gone and bought a small cake to decorate (fancy baking I don’t really do). However, we were give a lovely Pantone cake at Christmas which we hadn’t eaten, so I used that instead. I didn’t happen to have any icing sugar in the cupboard, if I had I would have drizzled some icing over the surface.

I used candles that we already had, they didn’t match, but looked okay, we live on a boat and Martin is mad about boats, so I just arranged them on the cake in the shape of an anchor.

Birthday cake with candles
Birthday cake with candles

We didn’t have one of these fancy frilly decorations that go around the cake either. I cut a strip of wrapping paper (also from the cupboard) to fit the circumference of the cake. I then folded it in half so that the edges were together. Once I had done that, I snipped along it with a pair of scissors. If you have the time you could go along and curls the frilly edges, I just bent mine outwards a little and then wrapped it around the cake.

Cake with decoration and candles
Cake with wrapping paper for decoration and candles

Lockdown birthdays do not have to be boring. With a little imagination you can do quite a lot on a budget. Martin was really pleased with his surprise birthday. I will consider doing something similar next year. It added a little sparkle to a cold January day when celebrations at home was the only option.


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