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Posts Tagged ‘covid’

Goodie Bags for Kids

Monday, March 1st, 2021

goody bag favor small toys

Favor bags are a staple of most kid’s birthday parties. How can you put together a great one?

Find a Goody Bag Theme

star wars figurines for gift bagsUsually, the theme of your goody bag should match the theme of your party. In the past we’ve helped parents make some of the following:

  • Mickey Mouse Goody Bags
  • Baby Shark Goody Bags
  • Dinosaur Goody Bags
  • Paw Patrol Gift Bags
  • Mermaid Goodie Bags
  • Spiderman Goodie Bags
  • Pokemon Goodie Bags
  • Minecraft Goodie Bags
  • Unicorn Favor Bags
  • Moana Goodie Bags
  • Sesame Street Goodie Bags
  • Trolls Goodie Bags
  • Winnie the Pooh Gift Bags

You’re only limited by your imagination here! You can generally find small toys that fit almost any theme, as well as decorative bags that fit any theme.

Gather Gift Bag Supplies

fun pencil as favor bag ideasYou can put almost anything in a goody bag. Given a wide variety of health concerns, dietary preferences, and allergies you probably want to stay away from food-based bags. Many parents go overboard on the candy, but it’s not necessary.

Try puzzles, coloring books, game books, and small toys. You can include candy, but try to limit it to a few pieces.

Remember to limit the “goodies” by bag size. Overstuffing your bag will make it bulky, unattractive, and difficult to pretty up. Under-stocking your bag makes you seem like you’re giving out something dinky and cheap.

Make Them Beautiful

goody bags in green and blueThe easiest bags to use are usually craft bags with rope handles. They come in a ton of different sizes. The best ones have gusseted bottoms and pleated sides so they open up square. They come in dozens of colors, and some will be pre-themed for you.

Use stamps and glitter to add each child’s name. The more visually attractive and personalized the bag, the more kids will be excited to tear into them.

Fill in the bags with tissue paper so the kids can’t see what’s in them right away. You can find tissue paper in a variety of colors and designs, too!

Want to get a little fancier? Get cellophane, wrap everything up in it, and put a big ribbon on it.

Deliver Your Goody Bags

During the pandemic we’ve been telling our customers to offer “curbside gift bag delivery.” That is…we recommend driving out to each birthday guest’s house and dropping off the bags, then having all the kids open their bags at the virtual birthday party later.

It’s just an easy way to honor your child’s birthday while building some anticipation for the party to come.

Eventually, of course, you’ll be able to offer your goodie bags in person!


At Paper Plus, we have all the goody bag supplies you could possibly need. Stop by and see us today at 1629 San Pablo Ave in Berkeley or call us at 510-525-1799.

How to Throw a Unique Virtual Birthday Party for Kids

Monday, February 1st, 2021

happy birthday cupcakes with pink frosting

How do you make a virtual party fun? What do you even do at a virtual birthday party?

As the pandemic rages on, many parents are left to ask these questions. Fortunately, you can make a virtual party just as fun as an in-person party…as long as you’re willing to exercise a little creativity.

Virtual Party Ideas

Here are four ideas that are really popular with kids of all ages.

1. Tik Tok Challenge

Kids absolutely love TikTok. Why not combine their love of social media with their desire to celebrate a birthday? The idea is simple: the birthday kid assigns songs to the guests. They film a TikTok of them dancing and singing to it and send the link back to their friend.

At party time, everyone gets to share the videos and giggle over them!

2. Kid-Friendly Jackbox

Jackbox Games are some of the easiest party games to put together. Everyone uses their phone or computer to log in and play, and only the host needs to own the games.

Fair warning: on default mode, Jackbox games are not kid-friendly. But they do have a kid-friendly mode in the options. Games like Quiplash, Tee KO, Fibbage, Fakin’ It, Drawful, and more. These are meant to be virtual party games anyway, and they’re made for humor. Kids will be giggling their heads off in no time.

3. Teleparty

Teleparty used to be “Netflix Party,” but it’s an app you can add to your browser. Everyone watches the same movie and can comment together in the chat. You can also open a voice chat in a Zoom meeting or on Discord so that everyone can chat together.

For a virtual party, it’s best to pick a movie nobody is too invested in but is fun to watch. That way people can talk over the movie without ruining anyone’s experience.

4. Virtual Karaoke

You can use an app called Watch2Gether to assemble karaoke tracks. Then get everyone together to sing their hearts out. Make sure every guest gets a turn, and wrap up the evening with one big group sing.

Use the chat feature on Zoom so people can keep talking with one another while their friends perform!

“Virtual” Birthday Gift Bags

goody bags in green and blueSome things don’t travel well via the Internet. The experience of giving out gift bags still has to be a little bit hands-on.

Fortunately, if all your guests are local, at least, “curbside gift bag delivery” can be a thing. You just have to create a goody bag for each child and then go drop it off. Each child can dive into their goody bags at the party, so it’s more like everyone is celebrating together.

Setting Expectations for a Virtual Birthday Celebration

colorful cupcake with strawberry for virtual birthday partyIf you have a younger child it might be a good idea to talk through what a virtual party will be like. You can help set the tone by making it a fun, interesting, exciting challenge.

You should also aim for something a little shorter than a full-sized in-person party. People tend to get Zoom fatigue if they stay in the meeting for more than an hour, and if you haven’t paid more for Zoom you’re limited to 40 minutes as it is.

Still, you can ramp up the fun by setting up a staging area with decorations and balloons. Your kids will love it!


We have all the decoration and goody bag supplies you could possibly need here at Paper Plus. Stop by and see us today at 1629 San Pablo Ave in Berkeley or call us at 510-525-1799.

Easy Thanksgiving Decorating for Your Zoom Dinners

Sunday, November 1st, 2020

metallic thanksgiving balloons

Most people won’t be doing a lot of travel for Thanksgiving this year. Instead, we’ll use Zoom to get our togetherness time while stopping the spread of the pandemic.

Yet there’s no reason to think you can’t be just as festive as you were when the entire family gathered in your dining room. With a little creativity, you can make your virtual Thanksgiving just as special as your in-person gatherings.

Decorate the Gathering Space

easy thanksgiving decorations - cornYou don’t have to decorate your whole house this year, and that might be kind of nice! Instead, you can just stage your Zoom background.

Of course, nothing says you can’t decorate the whole house, especially if your immediate family will be there, celebrating Thanksgiving with you. Indeed, going all-out might help you create a festive space in the middle of an uncertain time.

Banners and crepe paper in festive fall colors are an easy way to get this done. If you want an even easier way, think outside the box and go with balloons. Some examples of great Thanksgiving balloons include beautiful latex balloons with leaves, which come in burgundy, gold, brown, and yellow, and which have elegant prints. You might also opt for metallic gold and silver balloons with a chrome finish, or look for the same in mauve or rose gold. Another option would be to go for mylar balloons with Thanksgiving-themed graphics on them, like turkeys, cornucopias, scarecrows, bales of hay, or ears of colored corn.

Allergic to latex? Mylar balloons are a solution.

Of course, don’t neglect the basics, like a stunning Thanksgiving table.

Outdoor Gatherings

easy thanksgiving table decorations for outside zoomIf you and your family have formed a “Covid Pod” then you might be doing an outdoor gathering this year. Look for decorations that won’t be defeated by wind. If you’re doing balloons, add weights to them to keep them in place.

Use cloth napkins outdoors…paper napkins tend to fly all over the place.

If you’re still Zooming with remote family members remember to set up the Zoom area inside…wind can cause a lot of mic interference and the Wi-Fi signal usually isn’t as good outside the house.

Wear Hats

If you don’t want to go all out with decorations for a Zoom call, hats are a great solution! You can DIY “pilgrim” headwear, or make boppers with turkeys on them. Make a cornucopia fascinator, or just find some premade hats.

They’ll be funny and festive, and you can take them off when it’s time to get ready for dinner in your own home.

Remember It’s About Connection

red fall leavesThere’s no glossing over the fact that a Zoom Thanksgiving isn’t “the same” as the festivities you’ve enjoyed in the past. Try not to let that get you down. If you treat your call with your family and friends like an event for the day that allows you to connect and catch up, and go out of your way to make it as festive as possible, then your holiday can still be meaningful and special.

Remember: this pandemic won’t last forever. You can still make memories this year while looking forward to better ones.

Want lots of options for your Thanksgiving decorations? Come to Paper Plus, where we’ve got a huge selection at incredible prices.

Keeping Safe During Covid

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

Close up of Paper Plus storefront

Last updated: 2/10/22

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Paper Plus has made some changes, both in what we offer and how we offer it. Here’s what we’re up to.


All of our employees are vaccinated.


Starting Saturday, May 9th, 2020 our hours will be:




These hours are subject to change, so check our website in the top right or call ahead at 510-525-1799.


We want everyone to be safe when they shop at Paper Plus, so here are some of the precautions we’re taking and the services we’re offering.


Shoppers must wear masks when entering the store.

Delivery Services

The balloon-mobile is back in action!

We are offering balloon delivery in some areas, but it’s contingent on many factors.

Your best bet is to call the store at 510-525-1799. We’ll let you know if we can accommodate your balloon request.

Here’s our guide to ordering balloons.

Party Rentals

We’re back at it with our concession machine rentals, which includes nacho cheese machines, cotton candy machines, sno-cone machine, popcorn machines, tables, or chairs. You can still rent our helium balloon tanks as well.

Thank you for supporting us!

We’re proud to be your local party store of choice, and we appreciate you considering us as you consider where to shop for supplies during these challenging times.

Celebrate the Mask, It’s Here to Stay

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

cartoon faces with masks

Wearing masks on the regular was an adjustment for everyone, but now they’ve become an integral part of every day life. Given Covid-19 may not be going away any time soon, they’re the one reason we can live, work, shop, and play outside.

If we can’t get rid of them, we might as well make them fabulous! Celebrate them! Done right, masks can be anything from an elevated fashion accessory to a fun excuse to dress up in costume every day of the year.

Fashion Masks

woman wearing pink maskGet more than one mask. You need more than one because you have to wash them anyway.

Buying an assortment will let you mix and match your masks to your outfits. Try to get an assortment of colors that work well with any outfit, from business to casual. Don’t forget to have fun, too: if you love rocking animal print there are plenty of masks that will let you do just that.

The next thing you’ve gotta do is get the right fit. A mask that’s too baggy won’t look any better than a pair of pants that’s too baggy. A mask that’s too tight will feel unbearable to wear.

Another tip? Use masks with earloops. They let you keep your hairstyle nice.

Fun Masks

Got a holiday coming up? Match your mask to the occasion! This is an especially fun technique on Halloween. It’s effortless to integrate a mask into a ninja, samurai, or bandit costume. Full-on face masks like traditional monster masks still count for masking purposes.

faces painted on masksAre you a super fan of a TV show like Star Trek, Supernatural, Game of Thrones, or Stranger Things? There are plenty of face mask makers out there who will make a mask with your fandom in mind. Try Etsy for just about every kind of mask you can think of, or make your own.

Have a special, socially-distanced outdoor celebration with your Covid pod coming up? Add a holiday-themed mask and make things festive. Use falling leaves for Thanksgiving, or a festive red and green theme for Christmas.

Mask Comfort Tips

Don’t like the feel of a layered or flat mask against your face? Try a “beak” style mask, which only puts a little bit of pressure on the bridge of your nose, your chin, and the sides of your face, leaving your mouth and nostrils clear. They’re also easier for glasses-wearers to adjust, which means you don’t have to deal with foggy glasses.

Pay attention to the fabric you’re using, too. Silk, for example, isn’t going to breathe very well. Denim is easy to mix and match to your outfit, but it can be downright miserable when the day gets hot.

Masks for Kids

adult putting mask on childHaving trouble getting your kids to wear their masks? Remember to lead by example…if you don’t wear yours, your children won’t wear theirs. Yet you don’t have to make it grim and gloomy. Get the masks that are fun for your kids! Help them think of getting to wear a mask as being akin to getting to play dress-up every time they go out. Help them get masks that are comfortable for their face, and let them choose the ones that make them feel special.

Mask Etiquette

According to the CDC, you should wear your mask every time you go out in public while continuing to practice social distancing. You should be sure to wear your mask correctly by pulling it over your mouth and nose while securing it under your chin. Your mask should fit comfortably on the sides of your face.

If you’re just walking around outside, it’s okay to keep it down, but pull it up if you pass people on the sidewalk.

Remember, masks are how we protect each other from the virus. Any one of us could be a “silent” carrier. If we all observe this basic courtesy, we can all get back to life as we know it a lot faster.

Want supplies for a fabulous costume mask? Come to Paper Plus, where we’ve got a wide selection of options for you to choose from.

How to Host a Virtual Baby Shower

Saturday, August 1st, 2020

baby shower girl cookies and box

A virtual baby shower is the safest way to honor a new mom in the Covid world. Yet hosting a virtual baby shower requires delicacy if you don’t want people to think you’re tacky or putting out a thinly-veiled request for gifts.

Remember, the purpose of a baby shower is to celebrate a joyous occasion and a new life. You can do this no matter where you and the other guests are located, and you don’t have to let social distancing stop you from having a lovely time.

Virtual Baby Shower Invitations

baby shower spelled in blocksMake your guests feel special by starting with a pretty evite. Paperless Post has a number of invitations you can use. Yet sending a physical card can be a nice touch, reminding us that not every part of a virtual experience has to be low touch. After all, many of your guests might want to send gifts via snail mail.

Thank you notes should always be written on nice stationery and mailed via post. The flexibility that exists for invites doesn’t exist for thank yous.

Virtual Baby Shower Decorations

virtual baby shower balloon decorations 2You may wish to use a Zoom background to simulate a themed decoration or create a background of your own by choosing a nice location to decorate inside your home. You might invite each of your attendees to create their own festive in-theme decorations so they can feel like they’re doing something special.

The host might want to encourage the guests to dress up, too!

Virtual Baby Shower Games

The best shower games keep everyone engaged! You might try using Zoom whiteboard to host a Pictionary game. You can create your own cards to make all the answers baby-themed, or you can play a more traditional game.

Jackbox Games are insanely popular right now. Only one person needs to own the game to play, and 8 people can play a game at once. Others can join in as audience members. There are trivia games, snarky humor games, and more. You won’t get baby-themed games here, but you’ll get a fun time.

Baby themed Hangman is another thing that would be fun to play on Zoom whiteboards.

You can also invest in a virtual murder mystery.

Sure, some of these games really aren’t traditional for baby showers, but how much were you looking forward to having your guests guess your measurements, or to sitting down for a game of “dirty diapers?”

Gift-Opening Etiquette

virtual baby shower gift of tiny shoesThere are two schools of thought for how you should open your gifts at a virtual shower. The first says you should always open each of your gifts on camera, holding up each gift so everyone can see.

The other school of thought is that you can open your gifts privately, and leave the focus of the shower on spending time with the people who will be attending. This is probably the most sensitive and kindest way to go. You may have guests who are not financially able to send a gift.

One-on-One Baby Showers

The Chinese don’t schedule baby showers. They introduce the baby to family, friends, and members of the community on the 100th day after birth. You might choose to adopt a modified version of this tradition by scheduling one-on-one baby meetings

within your coronavirus “bubble,” or one-on-one 10-minute Zoom meetings to show off the baby and to catch up.

cute baby

This can take a lot of pressure off of everyone and make people feel included without committing you to a full-on virtual baby shower.

However you do it, don’t despair. There will be plenty of opportunities to get together in person after a vaccine becomes available, and your baby’s bonds with the people in your life won’t be any weaker because you used the Internet to celebrate your baby’s arrival.

Come on down to Paper Plus for all of your virtual baby shower supplies. And, learn how we’re keeping our employees and customers safe during Covid-19.


Don’t Let Covid-19 Cancel Your Wedding – Make It Small!

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

bride and groom with masks on for covid

Covid-19 caution is warranted, but with a few adaptations, you should be able to enjoy your nuptials right on schedule. Opting for a small wedding ceremony and exercising a little creativity with your celebration can mean your friends and family get to celebrate with you without risking their health.

Think Small, Simple Wedding

You may even want to restrict your ceremony to the members of your “coronavirus bubble,” the few people who are observing the same sorts of precautions you are who you’ve decided to keep contact with.

This might mean your minister, your parents, and one or two witnesses. These tiny weddings have gotten fashionable of late anyway, simply because they are a lot less stressful than their 200-guest counterparts.

Opt for an Outdoor Ceremony

bride and groom beach small wedding during covidIf you can’t stand the thought of leaving anyone out then it’s a good idea to opt for a small, outdoor wedding. You have room to invite a few more people because there’s more room for social distancing and the chances of infection are a lot smaller outside.

Obviously every guest should be expected to wear a mask per the state guidelines and should be respectful enough to do so.

Can’t find a venue so close to your original date? This would be the perfect time for a small backyard wedding.

Wear Fashionable Wedding Masks

Wedding designers reacted quickly when the coronavirus crisis hit. Now there are plenty of places where you can buy gorgeous wedding masks. You can even get them custom-designed for the couple and the members of the wedding party.

After all, everyone will need to get masked up, including you and your partner!

Take advantage of this to express yourself. Wedding masks can give your attire a mysterious appeal, which means wearing them can be fun and interesting as well as necessary.

Adopt Some Virtual Wedding Traditions

outdoor small wedding during covidThere will be some family members, friends, and loved ones who just won’t be able to attend, no matter how many precautions you take. Some won’t want to travel. Others will be immunocompromised.

You can still make them a part of your ceremony. Tell them if they’d like to be included they are welcome to dress up and create a video clip saying congratulations to the couple. Give them the option to add a few words of wisdom or well-wishes.

Compile a big wedding video and include the clips, then send them out to everyone you would have invited prior to covid-19. You’ll create a beautiful memento that you’ll cherish in the years to come.

Embrace the Benefits

bride-and-groom-elopement-cupcakesWhile it might be disappointing to switch over to a small, intimate wedding, or a small wedding reception, there are benefits. Pre-covid, most weddings cost over $25,000. That’s more than enough to put a down payment on a house or to indulge in an epic honeymoon when things are just a little bit safer.

Remember, the wedding is just the first chapter. The marriage is the rest of your life. Celebrate your love and the time you have together! Ultimately, that’s what’s really important.

Come on down to Paper Plus for your wedding supplies! Read about how we’re keeping our employees and customers safe during Covid-19.

How to Keep Kids Connected to Friends While Staying Safe

Thursday, May 28th, 2020

childs hand with crayons and coloring social distance activity

A socially distanced summer doesn’t have to be lonely, and your kids don’t have to stay glued to screens to stay in touch with their friends. With a little creativity and a few art supplies, your kids can have fun, connect with their besties, and brighten the days of all their friends.

Here are five easy, inexpensive activities you can do with your kids this month. Many encourage you to strap on your mask and get out for a walk or a drive, which can help add a sense of excitement and adventure after months of being locked down at home due to COVID-19.

1. A Good Old-Fashioned Chain Letter

Chain letters may carry some crazy connotations for those of us who grew up in the 80s, but their basic concept is both simple and innocent. Someone starts a letter and mails it (or drops it off at) the house of a friend.

The friend adds a bit of artwork, or a message, and then passes it on, like a long relay that only grows more fun as the letter grows.

You can send it with US Mail or you can walk it or drive it over to the next-closest friend. Whatever makes sense for you and your family.

Get creative! Nothing says the chain letter message can’t get a little 3D. Add some glitter, or forge an actual tiny construction paper chain to dangle off the side of it. The important thing is to have fun both reading and contributing.

2. Cards for Classmates

If you’re willing to spring for more stamps or know everyone lives close enough for a walk-by mailbox delivery, then kids can make cards for all their friends and classmates. Think “summer Valentines,” without all the pink.

If you’re not going to mail them, and you’re feeling a little fancy, you could even make small goodie bags. Include tiny favors like stickers, pencils, and erasers, wrap them in nice paper and add a bit of ribbon. It’ll be a summer surprise sure to leave a smile on every face.

3. Sidewalk Chalk Messages

sidewalk chalk messages for friendsIf you want to encourage your kids to get out and get walking, then this can be a fun low-investment idea that still brings a lot of cheer. Grab some sidewalk chalk, then visit friends’ houses one by one. Leave a quick message in the driveway or on the sidewalk.

Get together with other parents so they can encourage their kids to do the same. Seeing the list of messages grow can be exciting and a lot of fun for kids.

One caveat: if you live close to all your child’s classmates it may be a nice idea to visit every classmate you can find, not just every friend within your child’s circle. If everyone lives close together less-popular children may see messages and grow upset when they don’t get any. By being conscientious about this, your child can work to make everyone feel included.

4. Rainbow Windows

rainbow and hope painted on windowsGrab some window paint and paint a bold, beautiful rainbow (or anything else your child wants to paint). Include an encouraging message for friends, the neighbors, essential workers, or anyone else your child wants to give a shout-out to.

Coordinate with other neighbors to fill the neighborhood with them, then go for a walk to see all the fun messages. It will be a little like the tradition of going around the neighborhood to see the holiday lights, minus the holiday (and the lights).

Be sure to get washable window markers or paint for this project so you can safely remove the message later.rainbow and clouds painted on windows

5. Stuffed Animal Safari

This idea is better for younger children. Coordinate with your child’s friends. Get as many of them as possible in on putting stuffed animals in their window. Make a checklist of each friend’s house and then take a walk to find each animal. Match the animal to who it belongs to.

You might even have your child make a small blue ribbon to mail or deliver to the home of the kid who successfully found the most animals.

Stay creative and optimistic!

stuffed animal bunny outsideThis summer doesn’t have to be a drag. With a little work, you can make it one of the most memorable your child has ever had. Don’t forget to schedule in other fun arts and crafts activities for you and your children, like this one for Father’s Day! They may appreciate the extra time with you, and with a little luck, they’ll be a little less bored (and distracting when you finally have to sit down for that conference call).

Don’t forget, Paper Plus has all of your arts and crafts supplies, and we’ve modified our store to remain as safe as possible for social distancing due to COVID-19.

You can even walk up and pick up your order at the curb if you don’t want to come inside. We’re all in this together!

Announcing the Paper Plus Grand Reopening

Thursday, May 7th, 2020

Close up of Paper Plus storefront

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Paper Plus has made some changes, both in what we offer and how we offer it. The big news? We’re stocking up on essential items like masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and paper towels. If you can’t find it anywhere else, you can find it here!

Of course, we’re continuing to offer all of the great paper and party supplies that we’ve always offered. Get your supplies for your next home school project, birthday party parade, or crazy Zoom event while you’re here. If you’re tearing your hair out looking for something to keep the kids busy we’ve got quite a few options for you to explore.

Here’s what we’re up to.

New Hours

Starting Saturday, May 9th, our hours will be:




These hours are subject to change, so check our website or call ahead at 510-525-1799.


We want everyone to be safe when they shop at Paper Plus, so here are some of the precautions we’re taking and services we’re offering.

Doorside Pick-up

Park and come to the door for doorside, contactless pickup. You can call ahead 510-525-1799 and we’ll get everything ready for you.

In-Store Social Distancing

If you prefer to shop in-store then you are welcome. Please maintain at least six feet of distance between you and other customers at all times. Shoppers must wear masks and gloves when entering the store. We will provide you with disposable gloves. Please pull on your gloves as you enter the store and throw them away after loading your items into your car.


Every basket, door handle, and door will be sanitized regularly. We’re paying attention to every high-touch surface. The baskets will be sanitized before they’re returned to the front so you know you’re getting a clean one from the beginning. We’re also leaving the door open as long as we’re open, so it’s not necessary to touch the door in order to come inside.

Limited Delivery Services

We are offering balloon delivery in some areas, but it’s contingent on many factors.

The balloon-mobile is unavailable because it’s not currently serviceable. We’re sad to see it go!

Your best bet is to call the store at 510-525-1799. We’ll let you know if we can accommodate your balloon request. If we can’t, we’ll still make doorside pickups available to you.

Available Products

As mentioned, we’ve added all sorts of essential products to our store shelves. That means you can pop on down to Paper Plus to find masks and gloves without having to wait days for online delivery. We’ve got three types of masks available, both large and medium size latex gloves, sanitizer, towels, and TP.

Just want to run in and out for those essentials? We’ll have an endcap in the front so you can grab, pay, and go.

Of course, you are also welcome to shop for party and art supplies while you’re here.

Unavailable Products and Services

Right now we’re not offering any machine rentals, which includes nacho cheese machines, cotton candy machines, sno-cones machine, popcorn machines, tables, or chairs. You can still rent our helium balloon tanks.

Thank you for supporting us!

We’re proud to be your local party store of choice, and we appreciate you considering us as you consider where to shop for supplies during these challenging times.

How to Celebrate Your Birthday While Social Distancing

Thursday, May 7th, 2020

two handfuls rainbow sprinkles

Though the Berkeley area is gradually reopening, social distancing as much as possible will remain a smart idea until a COVID-19 vaccine is found and is widely available. This can be a bummer for those who have to stay at home on their birthday. It can be especially rough on kids in quarantine.

COVID-19 is forcing all of us to get creative. Fortunately, creativity is the key to launching an amazing socially distanced birthday party! Here are six ideas to get you started.

1. Launch a Socially-Distanced Birthday Parade

You’ll need to recruit family, friends, and neighbors to support your loved one on their birthday. Have them decorate their cars with streamers, happy birthday posters, and whatever else their creativity can come up with.

Then ask them to drive by the house. Have each person bring one balloon, and you’ll have one big birthday bunch at the end.

This idea is especially great because it gets to the heart of what a birthday celebration is all about: showing someone that they’re loved! It doesn’t take a huge party to accomplish that, and the effort it takes to organize and turn out for a parade does such a great job of communicating the sentiment while making the recipient feel special.

2. Go Big on Yard Decorations

backyard birthday celebration chocolate cakeIf you’ve got a yard then put it to use! Go big with large-letter signs, posters, a balloon bouquet, and more.

You don’t have to be the sole source of these decorations. Ask friends and loved ones to stop by and add giant cards to the mix. Your birthday person can read the cards when it’s time to return the yard to normal.

Going big can be hilarious and can make your loved one feel extra special.

And how about a night of backyard camping?

3. Get a Cameo

Does your loved one have a favorite celebrity? If so, they might be on, especially right now. This site accommodates everyone from Instagram influencers to Clark Gregg, who plays Agent Phil Coulson in ABC’s “Agents of SHIELD.”

You’ll find celebrity chefs, reality show stars, rock stars, and baby animals all waiting to make a video, especially for your loved one.

Each star sets their own cost. When the video is done you get a link, which means you can send it to them by email, text, or via your favorite messenger program. For the true fan being personally recognized for a short video can be an absolutely thrilling experience, and may entirely make up for being stuck at home.

4. Party By Mail

birthday cardsThis is an especially effective celebration for family and friend groups who are scattered across the country, especially if video chats aren’t an option. Pick out one thing your loved one really enjoys: bears, frogs, teacups, unicorns, whatever.

Then, use social media or email to recruit as many people as possible into sending pictures, cards, and small tokens on this theme. These don’t have to be expensive! A teddy bear picture or construction-paper cut out can be just as meaningful as an actual teddy bear.

Try to arrange this all about a month before the birthday so the mail will all come in at once.

This is especially lovely for younger children, who are often absolutely enamored with the idea of receiving any kind of mail.

5. Participate in a Global Scavenger Hunt

small white dog outside with birthday hatIf you haven’t heard of GISH yet, now might be a great time to check it out. GISH stands for the “Greatest International Global Scavenger Hunt.” Usually, GISH takes place for one week every year and inspires people to do things like create giant replicas of board games or to do silly things in costume out in public, all while earning money for the charity Random Acts, which has gone on to do a huge amount of good all over the world.

Right now GISH is hosting 24-hour quarantine “hunts” at home, and each scavenger hunt item is designed to be do-able at home. Some involve Zoom chats, others involve making art, and still, others involve making funny videos. At the moment, all funds are going to keeping kids fed during the COVID-19 crisis.

If your birthday person’s special day happens to fall on or near the next hunt, you could form a team of family or friends and spend the day competing to finish as many items as possible. It’s a great way to bring everybody together while making a difference…and yes, younger kids can participate too!

6. Host a Virtual Party

virtual birthday via zoom showing two dogs on zoomVideo chats have become the coronavirus go-to for social interactions of every kind. How can you turn it into a party?

One way is to get everyone to dress up. Have a princess party, space party, or zombie party by having everyone dress up. Host some good video-chat party games like charades or Pictionary. Or just get together, have some good food, and chat.

If you need a little more structure you might try a karaoke party. If you have Discord or another streaming platform you can share party games like the ones put out by Jackbox Games.

The Netflix Party app is another awesome option, allowing your family and friends to watch a movie together while commenting in a shared chat.

Plan, Get Supplies, Go Nuts

child celebrating quarantine birthday with cakeThe specifics of what you do don’t really matter. What matters is showing your love for each other on your birthday, spending time together, and having some fun. Think outside the box, gather some art or party supplies, and try not to let your disappointment over not having “normal” birthday activities bring down the mood.

Still, don’t forget to order some ice cream and cake via delivery. We don’t want to throw all the traditions out the window just because this virus might be around for a while, and cake is sacrosanct.

Come on by!

Starting May 9th, 2020, Paper Plus is offering all your party supplies, as well as some essential items, in a properly socially-distanced environment. Grab your mask and visit our store to stock up on all your birthday needs. We are located at 1629 San Pablo Ave in Berkeley, CA. Question? Give us a call at 510-525-1799.

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