Quarantine Birthdays may not be so bad after all

Khushi Kanchibotla

Staff Writer

     Stuck at home with only your family may not seem like a fun way to celebrate your birthday. Not having the usual celebrations with your friends and the ample amount of gifts may seem quite boring, but some of American’s students have found some ways to retain the fervor that is usually associated with birthdays. 

     Ruchi and Rashi Haria (11), celebrated their birthday on April 18th. The twins weren’t expecting anything special, maybe their mom making their favorite food, but they were in for a surprise. Due to social distancing, of course, parties are forbidden. However, that didn’t stop their friends from slipping a few gifts on their front porch. Bhavi Kenia (9), a family friend of the Haria’s dropped by to decorate their driveway and says, “Personally I wanted them to have a special birthday even though we are in quarantine. I consider Ruchi and Rashi as more of a family rather than just being friends. They expressed that they really enjoyed and liked this surprise made me feel like I had accomplished what I wanted. So ultimately I didn’t want them to feel that no one was going to be there to celebrate their birthday so my friend and I planned this surprise for them.” 

    In fact, the twins found this birthday to be a little more special than their previous ones. With no expectations, the Haria’s were surprised with the outcomes of their 17th birthday. Rashi Haria says, “The fact that people went out of their way to make our birthday special even with the virus was sweet.”  

     As twins, the Haria’s did not feel that they had any benefits than the other people celebrating their birthdays. Rashi Haria says, “I mean people still have their family to celebrate with, so I don’t think having a twin had any advantage.” 

     The Haria’s didn’t have previous plans to celebrate their birthday, but sophomore, Haley Nguyen did. Nguyen had plans with her friends to have a sleepover the night of her 16th birthday. 16th birthdays are usually seen as a milestone in a teen’s life; however, for Nguyen, the changes haven’t affected her that much. She said, “I spent more time with my family doing things I would’ve been doing with friends. It felt nice to be able to spend time with my sisters and cousins.” 

     With the celebrations come the inflow of gifts from friends and family. Gifts are sometimes just given for the sake of it, or to show the love or appreciation towards the birthday person. For the Haria’s, they said that the “company and celebrations” make up the birthday for them. For Nguyen, she still has her inflow of gifts. She says, “There wasn’t really a lack of gifts. Since I got older, most people just give me money so they just venmoed me or let me order some clothes online.”

     For high school students, the elaborate celebrations may be slowly losing their excitement as each year comes and goes. However, birthdays are still very special for younger kids. The big cake, the special dinners, the games with their friends is what make their birthday special. Ella Smith, our AP English teacher Mrs. Smith’s daughter, seems like she had the best quarantine party one could ask for.

     Having a treasure hunt on her actual birthday and then a five-hour zoom call the Saturday after, Smith sure seemed to enjoy herself. Smith also believes that this quarantine birthday was better than the birthday she would have had without the shelter in place. She says, “I am actually thankful that the previous plans got ruined as my dad was able to stay at home for my birthday. He had travel plans previously which got canceled due to the quarantine.” 

     If Smith had a normal birthday party, she would have gone to school, hand out goodie bags and have Happy Birthday sung to her by all her classmates. Even though she misses the normal procedure that would have happened, Smith’s classmates still sang happy birthday to her via a zoom session. Her favorite author, Kazu Kibuishi, also dropped into the call and wished her happy birthday which made her day. 

     Smith’s birthday party however, seemed to win the birthday party of the decade. On her five-hour zoom call, Smith celebrated with friends and family. Smith ad a destination birthday party with her friends, everyone dressing up for a place they would like to visit. Her friends also baked their own cakes for the party. 

     So, if you have an upcoming birthday that happens to be during this quarantine, fear not as there are ways to make this birthday as memorable as the last. 

Smith celebrated her birthday on April 29th with her immediate family and then had her zoom call on May 2nd with her extended family and friends. Smith admits to being a little disappointed due to the lack of gifts but says, “My aunt’s presents kind of made up for the absence of the other gifts. I think she gave me around 6 gifts.”

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