My friends always joke that my love language is every love language. I’m a hugger, a complimenter, a giver and an attention-lover. However, I I think that above all, I’m a giver. The sense of of fulfillment I feel from performing acts of service for for friends, strangers and family is unmatched. Nothing in the world excites me more than knowing knowing  a a birthday is approaching, as it is the perfect opportunity for me to show those I love just how much I love them. 

The best gift you can give a person is the gift of love. It is larger than any price can pay. Gifts of love last longer than tangible gifts because they last forever. The impact on the heart is far larger than the impact on the closet! I’ve gotten quite creative with some of these birthday gifts– each one a unique representation of the love I have for the individual we’re celebrating– and I’d love to share my ideas with my fellow givers.

Make them a Parody song!

I’m notorious for this one. From live performances with microphones and amps, to filmed performances with wigs and crazy costumes, you name it, I’ve done it. I was quarantined in August when my best friend’s 21st birthday was approaching. I think some of my creativity with her “Party in the USA” parody can be attributed to me being slightly stir-crazy from being locked in the house for ten days. But nonetheless, it was a hit. Making the song was so fun that I ended up doing a parody song song for my mom’s birthday to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” which is a favorite of ours. Lyrics can include shared shared memories , things you love about your friends, and fun facts about them. Making a parody to a song that your friend loves, or one that has sentimental meaning to you both, is a fun way to express your love and appreciation for that person. I guarantee you, filming or performing a parody for your friend’s special day will leave you both in tears of appreciation and from laughing so hard you can’t breathe. My newly-found parody hobby has made me maybe too comfortable standing on my kitchen island with a pink wig on and a mic in hand. 

Make a Google Form and Print Responses 

This might be my most creative one yet– so much so that no one initially believed I actually came up with the idea. For another one of my roommates’ 21st birthdays, I created a google form that had questions like “Describe ___ in three words,” “What are three things you love about ___?” and “What’s your favorite memory with ___?” I sent out the Google form to her family, home friends, and school friends. Once everyone filled out the form, I printed all the responses, cut them out, and glued them onto a giant poster board. This gift is heartfelt, sincere and unique, and gives your loved one a tangible reminder of how loved they are by everyone around them. 

Make a video Montage 

Here’s another classic that I admittedly can’t take credit for. For my sweet 16, my mom made me a video montage consisting of snippets of all of my friends wishing me a happy birthday and telling me why they loved me. The feelings of love, value and appreciation that remained with me after watching that video were almost overwhelming (in the best way possible). I watched it when I needed a reminder of that love– the best gift you can give to someone. Video montages are now a go-to for me when a close friend’s birthday is coming up. You can text friends and family of the recipient and have them send you video snippets, then easily compile them in iMovie. Or, if you want to skip the tedious editing you can use convenient websites like Tribute that will automatically send out emails to participants and compile the video for you. 

Bake them something 

I’m not the best baker in the world, but I can do my best to follow a recipe. You can bake a friend’s favorite dessert, and even base it off of their interests. My boyfriend’s brother loves to fish, so I made him a vanilla cake shaped like a fish for his 18th birthday. I made multiple vanilla cakes and cut them into the parts of the fish, then frosted on fins with different shades of blue. 

Olivia O’Connor
Olivia O’Connor

Baking is cheap, and can be as easy as you desire. A simple “Happy Birthday ___” written on top of their favorite type of cake will do! Cooking or baking things for people is one of the best ways to show that you both love and appreciate them. 

There’s no need to spend money on a birthday gift to show your friends how much you love them, unless it’s a colorful wig to sing in, or some Betty Crocker icing! 

Feature Image Credit: Olivia O’Connor

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