Birthdays in Quarantine

Making it special in a new way.

Photo by Minh Trí on Unsplash

It’s been a hard year for everyone. And since 2020 has seemed to last at least 5 years, everyone has had to deal with having their birthday in quarantine during a pandemic.

It’s like having a summer birthday when you’re little: everyone else is out of town and no one can come to your party. So, you celebrate at home with your family.

Today is my husband’s 35th birthday. I love him a lot and wanted to make it special.

Which is why, at the end of 2019, I and several of our friends started thinking about planning a big 35th birthday trip.

It wasn’t just for my husband — his entire group of 5 guys all have birthdays within 8 weeks of each other (Nov 2-Jan 2). So, the other wives and I were discussing a trip this winter to celebrate everyone.

Of course, that did not happen.

Instead, this dumpster fire of a year happened.

But I still wanted to make his birthday feel special.

And luckily, my newest obsession — Tiktok — came through with a great idea.

There have been a bunch of videos of people doing “30 days of 30” or “12 days of Christmas” or “10 days of birthday” games.

Countdown of Gifts Game

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@thechistieandjamalshow on Tiktok

Here’s how it works. There is a pile of gifts, each one is labeled with a number or sticker.

There is a board with cups glued to it, each cup has a number/sticker inside and the top of the cup is covered with tissue paper.

Each day leading up to the Big Day, the birthday person punches out one cup and finds the corresponding gift. They get to open that one gift right away.

The same thing happens each day until they open the last present on the actual day of the event, like their birthday or Christmas.


My husband’s birthday is December 17th and I had enough gifts to do 8 days of presents (and a separate one present specifically for Christmas).

It just so happened that ‘8 Days of Geoffmas’ started on the first night of Hanukkah. And I’m Jewish, so I thought that was a fun coincidence.

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His first look. Me showing off my middle school science project of a countdown.

Geoff had never seen anything like it and was excited.

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What he didn’t know was that present #8 was what I had originally bought to be his only/main birthday gift (before I decided to do Geoffmas) and I wondered which day he’d get to it.


He didn’t get to open #8 until his actual birthday!!! So perfect, so unplanned.

The gifts were a mishmash of things. He opened the Rocketbook Flip on day 1, which is a reusable smart notebook.

3 of the days were books from author Randall Munroe, creator Geoff’s favorite webcomic, XKCD. (Great books, highly recommend!)

One day was a funny cat-related t-shirt. One day was a nice new dopkit. Another day was a huge sampler of loose leaf teas in different flavors (he actually likes tea and drinks it daily. bleh.).

And then came today. The final day. Day 8.

I’d been waiting for this moment since placing the order back in October.

Custom portraits on canvas of our two cats as fancy gentlemen!!!!

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On the left is Dexter, wearing “the aristocrat” outfit and on the right is Max, wearing “the nobleman.”

Both portraits are from Highly recommend. It was an easy buying and approving process. They’re smaller than I thought they would be, but I’m pretty sure that’s on me. They can do any pet!

My husband laughed hysterically and is planning to hang them in the office above his desk.

This from a man who never wanted a cat. After 2 or so years of convincing, we got Dexter in February 2015 (he is 6 now). Several more years of convincing later, we got Max in May 2020 — our quarantine kitty.

And, of course, both cats love Geoff way more than they love me! And I’m FINE with that (maybe a bit jealous) because they are all adorable together.

So, basically…

2020 sucked in a lot of ways, but there are still ways to make each other feel special and loved at home. And thank God for deliveries and not having to go to a store or a mall or something.

And don’t worry — his Christmas present is not at all cat related.

Entrepreneur, writer, editor, book coach, cat lover, weirdo, optimist. Author of “Write. Get Paid. Repeat.” & “Concept to Conclusion.”

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