I have always loved to surprise loved ones on their birthdays. I was that girl who came up with handmade birthday cards and passed it around the classroom for everyone to write on. When technology evolved, I came up with blogs and other digital stuff. I know how tough it is to come up with ideas, though, so I thought maybe some of the stuff I did might help you out for the next one you’re planning.
(1) Blog or Instagram Message
This can be a simple blog about them (like this), or you can make a whole new blog with messages and pictures from other loved ones as entries (like this). If you don’t have a blog, you can post a collage of their pictures on Instagram or Facebook with a touching personal message, like this:
Happy birthday to the James to my Sirius, my bestfriend (and sometimes lover?) Gelle. When you were born, you were God’s best gift to me. May all your wishes come true coz you deserve it, Sweetie. Love you.
(3) Biography E-book
Collect short stories or anecdotes about them from your loved ones and make them into chapters for their biography in snippets. Below is the cover and first page of the e-book I made for my friend Chu’s 30th birthday and you can read one of the chapters here. Go read it. It’s freaking hilarious.
(4) Music Video
Collect a bunch of their pictures and turn it into a music video (like this or this one my bestfriend made for me), or just film yourselves lip synching a song for them (like this and this) or dancing around to the latest viral thing with “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” signs for them (like this). Below is a video I made for my mom.
(5) Message Video
This is more difficult to do than the above, but it’s more meaningful. You can collect messages from people and show them as words on the video (like this) or ask people to film themselves saying their message and make it revolve around a theme, like when we came up with 30 facts about Chi for her 30th birthday (see below). These two videos are not for birthday, but farewell, but worth a look too: this and this. And my friends made this and this for me. Aww.
(6) Rewrite a song
Take a song, rewrite the lyrics to suit them, and sing it to them (samples here). Bonus points if you actually have great voices but if not, who cares, it will still make them laugh. Take us below in all our off-key glory.
I took the song Take a Bow and changed its lyrics to below:
(7) Themed Gifts
Give themed gifts. What do I mean? Samples: (a) Cate loves stars, so we all gave her star-shaped gifts and cake for her birthday (read more here). (b) We gave Rodel a wallet for his birthday, so I collected people’s messages and printed them out to look like money and inserted them into the wallet. (c) Gelle loves shoes, so we bought her a pair and staged a Cinderella moment to present it. Her boyfriend Joey acted like Prince Charming, saying he was looking for the girl whose foot fit the shoe. We all tried it and it did not fit. When it fit Gelle, Joey put them both on her feet then kneeled down, pulled out a diamond ring and asked: “Since I’ve found you, will you marry me?” Yeah I know, you totally did not see that coming, did you? Yes they got engaged and are married now.
One more sample is when we sang a medley of songs with the word “time” in it before presenting our gift, which was, what else? A watch.
Other birthday surprise ideas from other people:
(2) Bake a cake even though you don’t know how to (You MUST read this. Totes funny.)
(3) Have their friends fly across the world for a surprise dinner (this happened to me too!)
(7) A crowdtilt page to gather funds to buy a much needed gift
What about you, what was the most creative birthday surprise you gave or got? Share away!