Here’s every single thing that will happen over the 24 hours of your lockdown birthday

‘Sings happy birthday to me while ugly crying into wine glass’

On 6th January 2021, part-time Prime Minister and full-time VO5 wet look salesman Boris Johnson announced another lockdown, this time extending until mid-February. The news was hardly a shock considering rising Covid caseload but comes with a considerable range of challenges, like disenfranchising students of the value of their course and still demanding tuition fees.

The January and February babies who might have just escaped unscathed from the destructive warpath of coronavirus in 2020 will now have to face up to a birthday during a pandemic. The misery merchants born in April-December have already suffered serious changes to their birthday plans, and can barely hide their smiles as you face up to the bleak realisation that it will soon be your turn to celebrate your age in the middle of lockdown.

This is no time for wallowing! Shake yourself down, strap in and prepare yourself for a rundown of exactly how those fateful 24 hours will go. Shakespeare once said “All things are ready, if our mind be so” and he survived his birthday during the Black Death of 1603 – although he probably drank himself to oblivion rather than tearfully putting up a thirst trap of his tattoos for replies like you.

lockdown birthday

Term begins again for students across the country and as you face the prospect of feigning excitement in your student house to your mates who are more excited than you, enjoy this breakdown of your pandemic birthday.

Here’s every single thing that will happen during your lockdown birthday, as told across the day’s 24 hours:

12am – the start of the big day

The moment has arrived! Finally it’s your birthday, and you feel. Absolutely. Flat. You were expecting a heady rush of happiness and adrenaline as you suddenly grow older, but instead you’re sat there on the sofa looking at the time and wondering what’s the point of it all. If your flatmates are in, they force you to down a miserable shot for celebrations’ sake. They’re far more excited than you. You sit there, silently hating them and wishing you were one of those mystery babies with no birth certificate, because then you’d never have to celebrate a birthday again because you wouldn’t know which day it was on.

12.02am – your first birthday wishes

The guys who sent you these are the best of your best friends. An instant shot of validation to perk you up, they clearly care about you the most as they messaged you so early. You must treasure these people for eternity.

2.34am – more messages

You’re asleep right now, but you’ll wake up and read these later. Rather than feeling grateful, it’s more likely you’ll ponder why they are still awake at that hour and what they could possibly be doing that’s so important. They were probably thinking about how great you are and took two hours to formulate their words because they were so choked up and excited for you they couldn’t get a message out at midnight.

9am – wake up and blissfully forget the pressure of your birthday


9.02am – remember it’s your bday and instantly be crushed by expectation you have to make it an amazing day

Yes mate, the GIF you sent me of someone dancing will defo make me feel better.

12pm – resolve to have a productive day

Grind. Hustle. No days off. I’m getting the bag. I’m working while you’re lurking. I’m making this day count and finishing off my deadline so I can earn this moment.

12.07pm – give up on work

Who actually works on their birthday? That’s a bit sad even for me.

1pm – think about all the people who do their lockdown birthday better than you on social media

Come off it, mate. So what if all their mates came to their house and celebrated from their cars? Maybe that big box of doughnuts their sister got them looked nice. Perhaps the giant balloons and table of cake their parents got to go on their all-white table strewn with presents and cards from people who actually love them was cool. But you got a “HB bro” from one of the course mates you’ve only ever spoken to over the Internet, so that’s pretty much the same.

2pm – daily walk: Your legally-acceptable exercise and your socially-acceptable internal screaming

Does that passer-by know it’s my birthday? Can they work it out just by looking at me? Do I give off some kind of mature and world-wise glow? Perhaps I should smile and have a spring in my step so they can stop and ask me what I’m so happy about and I can shout IT’S MY BIRTHDAY GIVE ME ATTENTION!

3pm – order food

Yum. This bit’s not so bad as you order a meal for two people that you can put in the fridge and have for dinner, much like how a lion may slaughter a gazelle in the wild and feed off of it for the next few days. The counterbalance is the crushing realisation that you have no one to share it with, and that you will probably die alone.

4.26pm – review the messages that have come in and make a mental note of who hasn’t wished you happy birthday

I thought you were my mate? Never mind, I won’t be wishing you back when it’s your special day. What goes around comes around, Nan!

5pm – under-enthusiastic Zoom with friends

Who ever thought Zoom would be a good idea for a social event? It makes sense in a seminar when a lecturer is talking and asking individual students questions, but breaks down into a smorgasbord of overlapping voices when trying to have a conversation. The next 30 minutes will be you accidentally interrupting someone, feeling too polite to continue talking, thinking they’ve gone quiet so you can talk (it is your birthday after all so they should listen to you) start speaking again and interrupting them once more. The only thing worse than this perpetual cycle of British politeness is the fact that frankly, you don’t care about what your friends are doing as it’s not their birthday?? It’s mine!?

6pm – call your parents

Happy birthday! What are you up to? Oh really? Don’t have any wild parties then haha! Ok bye!

7pm – where are all my gifts?

Everyone knows an important aspect of throwing a big birthday party is the wealth of gifts showered on you, which increases proportionally to the amount of people you have invited. Save a stale card from the Sainsbury’s round the corner and maybe something you got in the mail, this year’s present haul was depressingly low.

8pm – photo memories of you going out last year

A lot of the wishes you have been sent include a picture of you going out last year. The wisher clearly has a vendetta against you as you begin to daydream about what it would be like to go out once this is all over. You start to imagine a true crime story about someone who organised a giant party for their birthday despite Boris patrolling the streets personally with a big dog and wonder if you could actually afford a £10k fine. Perhaps if you invited 40 people and charged them all £250 for entry?

lockdown birthday

8.28pm – that girl who only messages you on your birthday has once again messaged you happy birthday

It’s a very embarrassing tradition but neither of us want to give up first x

lockdown birthday

10.30pm – this was a lockdown birthday to forget

If a tree falls in the forest can anyone hear it? Similarly if you age but no one knows are you actually older? Have I wasted a year of my life is this real or just a fantasy?

11pm – at least it’s over

Celebrating the day you were brought into this world against your will is somebody else’s problem now.

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