Over the past few years I’ve had very mixed feelings about celebrating my birthday. Especially after my relapse in 2017 it was hard for me to deal with such a life event, as there isn’t really a way around a moment of reflection. I got stuck thinking about how much my year had sucked and the next wasn’t going to be any better.
For the first time in a while though, I feel excited again. Before my move abroad I always had the best time getting my various friends together in a room and finding all sorts of ways to bond. I think it is the teacher in me that loves seeing my friends connect and enjoys putting in effort for icebreaker games and such. So, to cherish these celebrations, I’ve put together a list of my favourite birthday activities.
Ways to celebrate a birthday
I have always loved planning a birthday party and I hardly ever don’t have some sort of activity planned. From cinema trips to rollerskating, I have forced my friends into it all. I’m a major extrovert too, so the social aspect of it is the best part for me.
Planning a birthday event may sound like a lot of work, but it’s actually not that bad. In fact, if you plan to do something out of the house, it can save you a lot time and effort taking care of things. Here are some party ideas in and out of the home drawn from my previous birthdays.
Rollerdisco! (24th birthday)
This year my friends and I went to the rollerdisco to celebrate my birthday on wheels! Though at first a little uncomfortable and intimidating, spending an afternoon in roller-skates eventually turned out great fun. We had funky music and were in great company, so all in all a successful event! There’s no party like a children’s party.
Cost: €10 pp entry roller rink + rent skates, plus additional fees for travel and food.
Social games at home (19th & 20th birthday)
If you don’t feel like going away, you may choose to just chill at home. In the past I’ve come up with social games for me and my friends to play, which is a good way for my friends to get to know each other (they’re not all acquainted) and it improves the atmosphere. My favourite games have been Maffia (Weerwolven in Dutch), Two Truths And A Lie as an icebreaker, and The Whisper Challenge. The latter is guaranteed to make you laugh: the idea is that everyone writes down a silly phrase or two, after which you take turns trying to guess what phrase someone else is reading aloud, while you’re listening to loud music through headphones.
Cost: free! You can ask your friends to bring some drinks and snacks if you can’t afford to do a big shop.
Cinema (22nd and 23rd birthday)
Another chill way to celebrate your birthday is by planning a simple trip to the cinema! Settle on a fairly popular film that will be enjoyable for everyone (in 2017 we went to see Baby Driver, for example).
Or, even better: check if there are any local film festivals. My birthday falls right into the middle of summer, meaning there are usually open-air festivals around where you can spend your summer evenings. Last year I went to Pluk de Nacht in Amsterdam.
Watching a film with friends is especially pleasant if you’re a bit low on (social) energy: in cinema you don’t really have to talk, after all. But don’t tell my friends I said that… 😉
Cost: €15 pp max., depending on cinema/event.
Games arcade (23rd birthday)
My last banger tip is to go to the games arcade. This one takes up a bit more energy and it will also by slightly more difficult to navigate: you’ve got to make your way there and then all purchase coins to play, but it definitely doesn’t ruin the fun. It’s a great way for you and your friends to bond and get some team spirit going. I guarantee you there will be lots of laughs!
Cost: solely depends on your willingness to spend!
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Now, what’s your favourite way to celebrate your birthday? I’d love to know!