The Grackle

Observations, Reflections and Miscellany from the Wacoan

The New Normal: Waco and COVID-19

Celebrations During a Pandemic

2 years ago

By Caroline Yablon & Jen Naylor Gesick

Birthday parties, graduations, anniversaries — these are all still happening despite the coronavirus pandemic. However, in our new reality even something as simple as cake and ice-cream with friends for your birthday is not an option.

So, how does one celebrate these important life events during this pandemic? How do you throw your five-year-old a fun birthday when they don’t understand that their friends from school can’t come over this year or you can’t have it at a trampoline park?

Well, we have created a list of fun ways to celebrate your children, family member, or loved ones.

1. Drive-By-Party Parade | Picture this: waking up on your birthday to balloons and party decorations scattered across your front yard, cake on your doorstep waiting to be eaten, and a parade of your closest friends and family’s driving by honking, cheering and holding up signs wishing you a happy birthday – how’s that for a quarantine birthday celebration!

Drive-By Party Parades have become extremely popular during this pandemic. It just takes a little organization, decorations and you are on your way. WACOAN Assistant Editor, Jen Naylor Gesick, recently did this for her mother’s 60th birthday. She created a Facebook event and scheduled a time to meet at a nearby school parking lot where they decorated vehicles. Jen’s aunt created signs and yard decorations. After decorating the vehicles, they slowly drove to her neighborhood nearby where they began honking and her mother walked outside to a huge surprise. In the middle of the parade, everyone stopped, stepped outside their vehicles (remaining six feet apart) and did a little dance to music. One-by-one, everyone dropped their presents in her yard for her to open. It was truly special.

But if you’d like a little help and more of a professional look, local party planners at Waco Social have you covered. They handle everything from the invites to the contact-free decorations including a balloon arch over the door, a yard sign, gift-wrapped box for receiving gifts on the street; pompoms, noisemakers and confetti guns for the cars; cookies or cake for the birthday celebrant and a videographer and photographer to capture every minute. To better envision a drive-by party parade click this link. And if you would like Waco Social to plan a celebration for you, you can contact them at

2. Themed Meal | If your one of those people that enjoys just going to a nice restaurant for your birthday or anniversary then this celebration idea is for you!

First, pick something that interests you– it can be your favorite country, sports team, holiday, movie/show etc.; once you have a theme you will coordinate an outfit, meal and decorate your house that resembles the theme. For example, let’s say the them is country club prep. Everyone in your family would wear their preppiest attire, decorate the house with your clubs and tennis racquets, and enjoy a nice juicy burger and fries as if it came straight from the club house – and if your real golf fans, you can enjoy dessert as you watch Caddyshack!

3. Zoom Party | Thanks to technology, you can celebrate virtually – who knew!

With Zoom, you can video-chat with up to 100 of your closest friends and family for free. Be sure to read about privacy and get a good handle on how the platform works well before the scheduled party time. Fun tips and tricks: Create a theme for everyone to dress up, send out cocktail recipes for a virtual cocktail hour, play games together and change your background to something fun. You can access Zoom on your phone, tablet and laptop by downloading their app.

4. Epic Picnic Celebration | Social distancing doesn’t mean staying inside all day – spend it in the fresh air with an epic picnic in your backyard or even in Cameron Park.

Thankfully, there’s a lot of local restaurants and bakeries that are open for take-out to eat at your picnic if you choose to take a break from cooking. All you need is a blanket, good food, family and the perfect spot outside for an epic picnic celebration. Checkout our “Shop Waco” blog for a list of restaurants, bakeries and shops that are open for curbside pickup and delivery.

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