During the two years my partner and I were long-distance, we were never able to spend our birthdays together. Usually, we managed to schedule a visit within a week or two, but plane-ticket prices and our work schedules kept us from spending the day itself in-person until we finally moved in together. I suspect many of you are in the same position—so how do you make your sweetheart’s birthday special even when you can’t be there?
Get help from someone who can be there. If you know your partner’s roommate or coworkers and think they’d be willing, you could mail them a box of balloons, streamers, and other decorations a few days in advance, and enlist their help in making your sweetie’s room or cubicle look festive.
Let your partner choose an activity. If your girlfriend loves it when you read to her over the phone, but you usually avoid doing so at all costs, make an exception on her birthday. Or maybe it’s playing an online video game, or watching a movie that you usually wouldn’t choose yourself but that your partner has been looking forward to seeing.
Schedule a special activity for your next visit. Even if his birthday is in August and you won’t be there until late September, you can still plan something fun—a concert, a museum trip, etc.—as a belated birthday celebration. Just be sure to acknowledge the day itself in some way, too.
Get creative. Give yourself some time to think about your partner and what type of gesture he or she would really appreciate—something clever and thoughtful. This DIY Birthday Surprise in the Mail idea from the Oh Happy Day! blog, for example, is a great idea.
Be silly and sweet. Sing “happy birthday” on their voicemail, even if you’re a bad singer (especially if you’re a bad singer).
Plan ahead. Being in a long-distance relationship makes it tough to leave your shopping for the last minute—unless you want to pay a small fortune for overnight shipping. Even if you and your partner don’t exchange birthday gifts, you can never go wrong by taking the time to write a thoughtful note several days in advance to make sure it arrives on his or her special day.