Once a year, each of us has one special day just for us – our birthday. As children, our parents make the plans. But as adults, we get to choose how we celebrate.
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To do so, begin by asking yourself the following questions:
- Do you want to celebrate alone or with others?
- Do you prefer to be at home or go out?
- How much do you want to spend?
Whether you are a party goer or prefer to spend time alone, enjoy adventure, or prefer to chill out with friends, we have the perfect birthday plans for you.
What to Do on Your Birthday?
It’s your day, so the first thing you need to do is decide what you want to do on your birthday. This can be challenging, as we tend to think there are some set things that must always go with birthdays – parties, cake, ice cream, and, of course, presents. However, birthday plans can be whatever it is that you enjoy. If you like to be alone, plan a special day just for you. Always wanted to try something adventurous or dangerous, go for it. Have a special place you love to visit, go there. There are no set limits for your celebration.
Places to Go for Your Birthday
When it comes to birthday destinations, just about any place you can think of will work, if it is one of your favorites. Some of our choices involve money and planning. Others are free and can happen spontaneously. Pick the one that is right for you.
- Purchase Tickets for a Special Event. See your favorite rock group, a play, or opera. Go by yourself or ask a friend to join you. End the evening with a fancy dessert at a favorite eatery.
- Play with Kittens and Puppies. Shelters need volunteers to play with cats and walk dogs. Who knows? You might even find the perfect pet to take home.
- Visit a Zoo. If you love all kinds of animals, a zoo can be a perfect place to spend the day alone or with friend. Pack a picnic lunch and don’t forget a cupcake for dessert.
- Visit a Botanical Garden. If plants are your thing, visit a local botanical garden for inspiration for your own garden. Many have shops that sell native plants and decorative garden items, so treat yourself with a present if you wish.
- Visit a Winery or Brewery. Check to see what types of venues offer beverage tasting in your area. Not only is tasting encouraged, but many offer wine and cheese for a light meal. Treat yourself with a subscription to their product to make your birthday last all year long.
- Visit a Friend or Relative. Some of our friends do not live close and a road trip to visit and celebrate your birthday can be a special treat. Don’t forget grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. Pick one or more to celebrate with on your special day.
- Escape to the Beach. If you love sand, sun, and the sound of waves hitting the shore, take time to relax and enjoy a nearby ocean or lake. End the day at sunset with a light dinner outside either alone or with others.
- Treat Yourself with a Shopping Spree. Shopping sprees do not need to involve tremendous expense. Set a reasonable budget and buy a new outfit, some makeup you have been wanting to try, or just whatever you see that you like and brings you joy.
- Spa Day or Makeover. Treat yourself to a mental and physical refreshing with a spa day. Choose one that allows you to specify what you prefer – massage, facial, or even a mud bath. Add a trip to your hair salon, perhaps for a daring color job.
- Stay at a Luxurious Hotel. Reserve a room for the night at a local luxury hotel or bed and breakfast. You can relax and veg out, staying in all evening with movies and room service, or dine out and having a night on the town. Make sure you allow time to sleep in the next morning and consider ordering breakfast in bed.
- Eat at a Special Restaurant. Ask a friend to join you at that new, exciting, and difficult-to-reserve-a-seat-at restaurant for dinner and dessert. Take your time to enjoy the atmosphere and food.
- Go on a Hike or Trail Ride. If the great outdoors is your thing, pack a small lunch and hit the trails. Many places have bikes to rent, or you might enjoy horseback riding at a local stable. Don’t forget water and sunscreen.
- Go to the Bowling Alley or Arcade. Maybe you haven’t bowled for years, but remember how much fun you had when you were younger? Or, maybe you like the noise and lights of an arcade. Remember, this is your special day, so grab some coins or dig out that bowling ball and revive that interest.
- Go on a Mini-Vacation. Grab a few friends and choose a local vacation spot for your birthday celebration. Sharing a cabin or Airbnb and staying up all night talking will create memories that last a lifetime.
- Visit a Foreign Country. You will need to plan ahead, but a trip to a foreign country can provide an once-in-a-lifetime birthday experience.
Who says your birthday celebration must only last for one day? Your birthday can become memorable if you choose to do something for others or make plans to cover a month or even the entire year. It’s time to plan ahead. Invest in yourself this year with one of the following ideas:
Choose one room if your home is large, or plan for a year to redecorate your entire house. Purge unnecessary items and organize as you go. You can work with an interior designer or simply research ideas on your own.
- Donate to a Charity
If you have a cause that means a lot to you, donate what you can to the charity of your choice and encourage your family and friends to donate in lieu of a gift.
- Avoid Your Least Favorite Chore
If there is a daily or weekly chore you hate to do, plan to farm it out for the coming year. Check the cost of having someone in to clean your house weekly or monthly. Send the laundry out. Invest in an under-the-counter dishwasher. Enroll in a food service to have meals planned and ingredients delivered.
- Start a Garden – Indoors or Out
Buy yourself flowers each week. Choose herbs and salad greens to grow in pots. Clean the air in your home with houseplants. Whether you love cut flowers or plants that last, your birthday is a time to treat yourself.
- Reflect on the Past Year and Set Some Goals
Think about the last year:
- What lessons did you learn?
- What were the best moments and the worst?
- Where do you want to be on your next birthday?
Reflect on the past year, set some goals for the future, and include a plan to reward yourself for achieving those goals when your next birthday rolls around.
- Take a Class
Book a year of classes to learn to do something of interest to you. Choose something artsy, like watercolor painting, or practical, such as dessert or bread making. Or, try yoga or a fitness class to get healthy this year.
- Choose to Do Community Service
Make a commitment to a local charity or raise funds for the local food pantry. A year of giving can contribute to your mental or physical well-being. Choose a local road and pick up trash. Volunteer at the local animal shelter or become a foster parent for a local animal rescue group. Making a commitment for the entire year will make your birthday meaningful.
Whatever you choose to do for your birthday, take plenty of pictures.
Sometimes going to special places and participating in activities create lasting memories. In this section, we suggest birthday activities to do alone and with others.
Activities to Do Alone
- Indulge in a Favorite Dessert. Who says you have to eat birthday cake? Whether you visit your favorite bakery or opt to sit at an exclusive restaurant, enjoy a sweet treat of your choice.
- Read a Favorite Book. Veg out and read a current best seller or your favorite classic. Sip on some coffee or tea while you eat your birthday treat and spend the entire day finishing the book in one sitting.
- Have Your Own TV Marathon. Choose whatever it is you want to watch – a series of movies or one or more seasons of your favorite TV show. Make sure you have popcorn, candy, and soda to enhance the experience.
- Go Skydiving or Bungee Jumping. Bungee jumping gives you the thrill without the added altitude that can be scary for some. Your birthday is a great time to conquer your fears. Who knows – this adventure might set the tone for a remarkable year to follow.
- Buy Yourself a Gift. Take a set amount and head to the mall or your favorite store. Treat yourself to something special. Forget to be sensible and really indulge yourself.
- Enjoy a Favorite Dinner at Home. If you love to cook, try a new recipe for a favorite food. Or order your favorite meal to be delivered. Then take your time and enjoy every bite.
- Enjoy a Progressive Dinner. If you have several favorite restaurants, consider spending the day enjoying all of them. Have breakfast or brunch and then stroll through the park. Visit a museum or other relaxing venue in the afternoon. In the evening, have your appetizer at one location, your entrée at another, and finish up with coffee and dessert elsewhere.
Activities to Do with Others
- Have an Ice Cream Social. Invite your friends and set up a sundae bar or put out the makings for banana splits. Don’t forget the sprinkles, whipped cream, and cherries.
- Plan a Trip to an Amusement Park. If it is summertime, consider a water park. Relive your youth by riding roller coasters and screaming as loud as you want at your favorite amusement park.
- Dance Party Fun. A great party includes dancing. Consider inviting your friends and hiring a DJ for the evening. Decorate with a theme that matches your favorite tunes.
- Have a Sleepover. Invite your friends for a night of playing games, doing makeovers, and binge watching a favorite show. Go to bed super late and sleep in the next morning. Don’t forget snacks and drinks, and, of course, ice cream and cake.
- Rent a Food Truck or Hire a Chef. If food is your thing, consider the fun of having a food truck park in your driveway for the evening. If high-end meals are your thing, hire a private chef to cook your favorite meal for you and a select group of friends.
- Host Your Own Wine Tasting. You do not need to visit a winery. Get the same experience at home by serving cheese, crackers, and other snacks to go with bottles of wine your friends bring.
- Host a Themed Party. Choose a theme – the hippies of the 60’s, or a 70’s disco party – and build your food, decorations, and music around it. Encourage guests to dress to match your theme.
- Sing Karaoke. Search for a local karaoke bar or rent a karaoke machine. There are also karaoke apps you can download. Belt out your favorite songs with your best friends to create lasting memories.
- Play Video, Board, or Card Games. Dig out your favorite games from when you were a kid, or choose some new ones like Apples to Apples and Cards against Humanity. If your group is large, divide into teams and switch places trying the various games and seeing which team gets the most wins.
Whether you are feeling social and energetic or just wish to lounge in a comfortable chair and enjoy your birthday alone, spend time indulging yourself — it’s your day after all!
Susan majored in English with a double minor in Humanities and Business at Arizona State University and earned a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Liberty University. She taught grades four through twelve in both public and private schools. Subjects included English, U.S. and world history and geography, math, earth and physical science, Bible, information technologies, and creative writing.
Susan has been freelance writing for over ten years, during which time she has written and edited books, newspaper articles, biographies, book reviews, guidelines, neighborhood descriptions for realtors, Power Point presentations, resumes, and numerous other projects.