How you celebrate birthdays is going to depend on a few factors like how big your team is, whether you’re in person or remote, etc. We’ve compiled a list of ideas and a digital kit so you can choose the one (or two, or three) that are best for your people and their circumstances.
Quick Note: Not everyone celebrates their birthday, so it’s a good idea to ask before celebrating.
Low budget office birthday ideas.
1. Send out automated birthday emails.
Let’s get digital. Automation is your friend if you have a lot of birthdays to remember. Even if you care, it’s still easy to forget so set them up to send automatically. We have templates for emails and other digital assets for birthdays that you can download here.
2. Decorate their desk with notes from team members.
This can be as simple as a few kind words on a post-it note and it’s a great way to help your teammate feel appreciated and remembered. If employees are remote you can flood their email inbox with positive messages.
3. Give them the day off.
Sometimes the best gift is a little rest and relaxation. Give them the day off to do whatever they want so they can make some memories. Better yet, offer a Friday or Monday off around their birthday so they can enjoy a long weekend.
Creative or funny office birthday ideas.
4. Put people’s baby photos on display.
Do this one by month so you have a good group. Have everyone who has a birthday in the same month put their baby photos up on a bulletin board or tape them to a wall in the office. People can try to guess who is who. Photos not your thing? You could put up “fun facts” about each person and have people try and match the fact to the person.
You could also do this in an email or on a Slack or Teams channel.
5. Get a piñata.
If someone is upset about getting older they can hit their anger away with a piñata. Involve the whole office in taking a turn, just make sure everyone stays out of the range of the person swinging.
6. Have a theme.
Is your coworker a Lord of the Rings nerd? Convince everyone to wear elf ears for the day. Do they love baking? Have a cookie baking contest. Do they not like anything? Let them sit in an empty room.
A theme can take the party up a notch from it feeling like just another celebration. You can go all out or keep it simple. For example, if they like Harry Potter you could have people bring in Harry Potter themed treats. If they love the outdoors, have your team go on a hike. Are they obsessed with their cat? Give them permission to show people photos of their pet all day.
Foolproof birthday gift for coworkers.
7. Give them a gift card.
Just make sure it’s somewhere they like. This can work together with giving them the day off. Give them a gift card for an experience like going out to eat, visiting a theme park, or going on a weekend away.
8. Take the team to lunch.
This is a great one if your team is on the small side and in the office. Let the birthday person choose the place, of course. This is also a great way to get the team to spend casual time together where they can get to know each other better. If your team is remote, you could always send them a digital gift card so they can get lunch for themselves on their special day.
9. Let them choose a team activity.
If for some reason lunch doesn’t strike their fancy let them choose another team activity like playing a game, going on a hike, going out for a treat, or anything else. Bonus: do this AND lunch.
10. Really good cake.
You can’t skimp on this one, it needs to be a good cake. Or possibly no cake at all, ask the birthday person their treat of choice. They might be gluten-free, trying not to eat sugar, or simply prefer cookies. Bring in a treat they’ll like. If you want it to be a surprise you could consult someone in the office who knows them well.
11. Send them a gift box.
Send the birthday person a box full of things they love. You can curate a special box just for them or send the same box to everyone and mix it up each year. If you send the same thing to everyone and it’s something good people will look forward to when it’s their turn to get one.
12. Donate to a cause in their name.
Nothing feels quite as good as using your birthday for selfless reasons. You can make a donation in their name or, with Awardco, you can give them points to make a donation to an organization they want to support.
Need more ideas or help automating your celebrations? Let’s talk.
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