How to Have a Happy Birthday When You're Alone

Updated on September 20, 2019
That Grrl profile image

Laura believes holidays and events should be celebrated whether you are alone or with family & friends. Celebrate yourself & being alive.

Happy Birthday to Me (and You)

Having your birthday alone is not a bad thing at all. I have family and a few friends, enough for me. I like going for lunch with family and friends, but I also like having my birthday alone. I enjoy taking that day to do things I like to do. It's time when I don't have to stick to someone's schedule or worry about rules and needs of others. I can really do things my way, literally. I can even go a bit overboard, cause it's my birthday. My day.

The following is a list of ideas, kind of random and in no real order. I wrote them as I thought of them. But I wanted to create a real list. So many lists online are more about scoring SEO points and they offer fluff—stuff everyone else has already said. I like to create a real list. I hope this has at least one great idea for everyone.

Of course, your birthday is your day. Take my ideas or ignore the whole list. Have a happy birthday and don't worry about being alone. It just means you can choose how you spend your time without commentary about your choices or how badly mushrooms smell when you cook them. (My mother loves them, I don't.)

Ideas for Spending Your Birthday Alone

  • Take the day off work. Whether you work for yourself or someone else. Arrange to have the day off. A sick day, a personal day, whatever works.
  • Eat what you want, think about dieting and health tomorrow.
  • Write letters to the people you care about. It's old fashioned and may seem to take up more hours than you want to give it today. But, it's nice to stop your own celebration and give thanks for what (and who) you have. Mail the letters. Don't forget.
  • Wear something great. Pick something that makes you feel good and gorgeous.
  • Give yourself a compliment, look in the mirror and say it again.
  • Wear something with colours you like. Go with an accessory like a scarf if you don't want too much colour.
  • Dress in the fashion from your past. Or wear something you still have from when you were a kid, like a scarf, a pin or a hat.
  • Buy a birthday pin or ribbon at a greeting card shop and wear it all day.
  • If you have dinner, lunch or breakfast at home, go all out and decorate the table. Use the good dishes and cutlery. Add a centrepiece too.
  • Spend time on a hobby whatever your hobby is. Knit, sew, build a ship in a bottle, dig a hole to China...
  • If you have a car, take a drive. Go to another town and pretend you're someone famous for the day.
  • Get a manicure and a pedicure, even if you are a guy.
  • Buy new underwear and/ or nightgowns and recycle the raggedy looking stuff you've been wearing (hidden from the world but not from you).
  • Clean something special that\s been gathering dust bunnies awhile. That antique mirror from Great-Grandma could sparkle again, a job well done.
  • Organize something you've let go. Maybe the family photos could be sorted out, maybe your sock drawer or maybe the surface of your desk has gotten pretty cluttered. Getting rid of clutter feels nice.
  • Start the day by getting up early, even if you would rather sleep in. See the sun rising on your birthday and the world (at least your part of it) getting ready for the new day.
  • Buy yourself something new to wear. A whole new outfit or something small and pretty like a brooch or a fancy hat you'd never day to wear on an average day.
  • Use every flimsy excuse to tell people it's your birthday. You may get a bonus like a free coffee but, at the very least a lot of people will wish you a "Happy Birthday".
  • Go out for a fancy coffee or tea, in the morning when everyone else is planning their day, Get a window seat where you can see the street and the people dealing with getting to work, getting things done and wondering how they will get it all done. While, there you are... sipping tea or coffee, watching the world rush and work and scurry on by your window seat.
  • Pick up some extra groceries. It sounds silly but get something simple or fancy that you really like. I love to get a steak and cook it myself, as close to rare as I want when no one is there to "ewww" me about it.
  • You know what you really want to do. Don't tell anyone else (unless you have to explain it to someone to get it done). Celebrate your birthday by doing that thing you want to do but keep putting off cause you don't have the time, the patience, the energy, the money... Today is the exception to the normal rules.
  • Make amazing plans for the next year. Don't spend time being too practical with your list. You can write whatever you want on your list.
  • Visit at least one local attraction, event or touristy thing. Pretend you are a tourist for awhile. I recommend the museum.
  • Weather permitting, give yourself a picnic in the park. Bring a good book and a blanket to sit on.
  • If you can manage to stay overnight in a hotel, you can even get late night room service. That is still one of my favourite things to do for my own birthday. I like getting a hotel right in the downtown area of the big city.
  • Take a long soak in the bath. Use fabulous scented soaps, even bubbles. Pull out candles and bring a book into the tub with you. No phones allowed.
  • Watch some of the movies you've got collecting dust on your shelves and in drawers. BYO popcorn and beverage of choice.
  • Have champagne or cocktails. Treat yourself to a drink somewhere fancy, get all dressed up and go. Just have one and then leave... a woman of mystery.
  • Send yourself flowers, bake yourself a cake and get yourself a birthday card. Don't skimp on the traditions just because you're alone.
  • No matter how old you are, put a lot of candles on the cake. It looks pretty and no one will crack jokes about your age. Unless you laugh at yourself.
  • Put on music and dance, sing. No one's watching or listening. Be your own DJ.
  • Choose your own adventure. Take a few 'wrong' turns and see where you end up - go to places you've never taken the time to see before.
  • Try something new and a bit risky or bold for your usual style. How about rock climbing, going without cosmetics, reading a book that makes you blush, talking to an interesting stranger. Get a new haircut.
  • Send yourself something in the mail. It could be a gift card from a store you like to shop at. It's like giving yourself a surprise present - you won't know when it will show up.
  • Don't spend your birthday catching up on laundry or dishes or other endless household chores. They will all still be there tomorrow. If you have to, get dishes and laundry done the day before so they won't bug you on your birthday.
  • Have a fancy, deluxe birthday cake. Even if you buy it or buy a slice somewhere out. Don't count every calorie on your birthday.
  • Walk somewhere. The beach or a public park, are nice, even in winter. Take a camera along and be a photo journalist for the day.
  • Do something for someone else. Visit an elderly relative, spend an hour babysitting your sister's kids, run an errand for your Mother. Limit the time but it's nice not to make your birthday all about you, all day.
  • Write about your day, at the end of the day. Start a journal if you've never had one or find your old journal if you used to keep one. A journal is a great way to wind down, organize your thoughts and give yourself some time for yourself.
  • Tell one lie about yourself to a stranger. Yes, it sounds silly. But, just for today (your birthday) let someone think you're more impressive than you think you really are.
  • Buy a lottery ticket. Don't forget to check it!
  • Create an invitation to your own birthday for the next year. Buy a pretty card or make your own.

From AngelicAspirations, on
From AngelicAspirations, on | Source

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image


        2 months ago

        My 18th birthday is tomorrow and I don’t know what I’ll do alone but hopefully it’s fun.

      • profile image


        2 months ago

        Happy birthday!

      • profile image


        5 months ago

        It's important to be able to make ourselves happy rather than rely or put the burden on others to make us happy. This is a great list and it'd be worth having a secret second birthday each year, just so we can do what we want if our actual birthday get swallowed up in tradition and meeting the expectations of others. Thank you for sharing these inspiring ideas Laura.

      • profile image


        7 months ago

        Wow really good! I love it so much. I started taking care and loving myself. This will be great for a fun day with me. Thanks

      • That Grrl profile imageAUTHOR

        Laura Brown 

        9 months ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

        Good for you! My birthday is coming up this month too. I've booked a hotel downtown in Toronto, bought the bus ticket for there and back. Made plans to meet my nephew for dinner and I've planned a trip to an old, historical building I want to photograph. In between I will be doing nothing really. I like to give myself some unplanned time to be alone doing nothing important too. :) Happy Birthday to you.

      • profile image


        9 months ago

        I'm going to start celebrating my bds alone, I have picked all your ideas from the list above, it would be fun at least I would feel happy on my special day .i don't need anyone to make me feel special I can do that alone. thank you so much ...

      • profile image


        10 months ago

        To help me, I know I'm not the author and your B-day had probably passed, But I totally understand. I turn 13 soon as well and I don't know what to do for mu special day. If anything I would suggest either spending time with family or if you are not so great with the idea of family than maybe something with friends. If all else fails just ask if you could do something you like to do, for example: maybe asl if you can go buking, draw eat, or any other hobbies you have. I hope thus makes you feel better and I hope you'll find something helpful, even if your special day has past. I hope you had or will have a great thirteenth birthday!:)

      • profile image

        help me 

        15 months ago

        so i'm turning thirteen and i have no friends or other family members around except my two kittens, my dog and my mom. what should i do for my birthday?

      • profile image


        16 months ago

        The last two years I spent my birthday alone

      • profile image


        17 months ago

        superb list thnks for the ideas its really helpful ...

      • profile image


        20 months ago

        This will be my first birthday alone, plus it's valentines day. Wish me luck :)

      • profile image

        Sharon Deer 

        20 months ago

        I really appreciate the ideas i have gotten from this article.

      • profile image


        21 months ago

        Loved ur list..... Ur thoughts r more like mine.... It was fun to read ur do list

      • profile image


        22 months ago

        well, i buy my self a small birthday cake and i eat with my dog. and talk to my dog all day long and cry myself to sleep.

      • profile image


        23 months ago

        I prefer to cry myself to sleep whenever I have a special day alone.

      • That Grrl profile imageAUTHOR

        Laura Brown 

        7 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

        I like doing things my way. It bugs me when I compromise too often. I feel like I lose some of myself. So, when family leave me to my own devises on my birthday I am perfectly happy. Most years someone takes me out to lunch, which still leaves plenty of daylight hours for me to have my own plans too.

      • Jeannieinabottle profile image

        Jeannie Marie 

        7 years ago from Baltimore, MD

        This is a great list. Sometimes being alone is the best way to go. Birthdays seem to always turn into making everyone else happy. Everyone decides for you how to celebrate it. It is nice to take a step back sometimes and decide the flavor of cake you actually want and refuse to go to some restaurant you don't even like because friends want to take you there.

      • Lady_E profile image


        7 years ago from London, UK

        Aaawh... so many lovely ideas to keep one beaming throughout that special day. We have to stay positive.

        This is a brilliant read.

      • That Grrl profile imageAUTHOR

        Laura Brown 

        7 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

        We all need some time to appreciate ourselves. A birthday is a good excuse to be a bit selfish and give yourself some luxury, or at least some time.

      • AnnRandolph profile image


        7 years ago

        That Grrl,

        If I did these things I would never want to stop. That's the problem. I guess eventually I would have to but it would be fun to see how long I could keep it going.

      • That Grrl profile imageAUTHOR

        Laura Brown 

        7 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

        Thanks. I've had a lot of my birthdays and special events alone. I don't mind it that way at all.

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        Wow! I've never thought of this before but it is great to have a list of things to do when you are alone for a special day like your birthday! Thanks for sharing. Take care, Kelley


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