Workplace Birthday Parties How to Throw a Memorable Party for Your Coworker

Birthdays are one of a few days a year that we get to spend solely on ourselves; as coworkers, we can choose to make this day special for others through any number of methods. By far, the most effective way to make a coworker’s birthday more than just another day at the office is to arrange a party!

Get the Okay

The first thing you should do when planning a party is to clear any festivities with your boss or manager. Some team leaders will ask that you set up a party during the lunch break, so as to not interrupt anyone’s workday. Other companies may welcome a come-and-go party with snacks and decorations set up all day. Talk to management before planning or buying anything massive.

Food and Drink

What would a birthday party be without snacks? The week before your coworker’s birthday, ask some probing questions about your friend’s favorite drinks and chips. What kind of cake would they like? Make notes of all of these things so that you can have their favorite things on hand!

Decorations

Depending on the space you have to work with – break room, empty cubicle, an empty office – you can decorate an area as much or as little as you want. Even a few balloons can lift the spirits in a small space. Check your local party store for decorations that might help bring a birthday atmosphere to your venue, regardless of the size.

To Gift or Not to Gift

It can be difficult to decide whether or not to spend money on a gift for a coworker. Depending on how generous you wish to be, you can do as little as a personalized card. Even though you might be footing the bill for the food and decorations, it will be nice for your coworker to be able to bring something from the party and keep on their desk. This will remind them about how thoughtful you were to set up such an event just for them!

Inviting Others

Don’t forget to let everyone in the office know about your intention to set up a birthday party for someone – after all, you’re not the lucky birthday recipient’s only coworker! While it may not be proper to ask others for donations to throw the party, some people may offer; this may make it easier for you to do a little bit more.

Office Card

Make sure to purchase a card with plenty of space for everyone to wish your coworker a happy birthday! Some people will simply insert their own name – others may wish to write a note of their own. Purchase this shared card a week or more in advance so that it has time to make it’s way all around the office. Try your best to keep it out of the hands of the birthday guest of honor, though!

Throwing an office birthday party is an amazing way to recognize a coworker. It’s easy to feel lost in the lull of the office as if everyone is the same. What a great idea to help someone feel just a little bit more special one day of the year – on their birthday.

Congratulating Co-Workers

Exciting happenings will occur in your workplace quite frequently: new babies, promotions, engagements… etc. It’s always nice to hear a simple “congrats” from your co-workers, but sometimes it shines a bit brighter under different presentations. The situation for which you are offering congratulations will determine what might be appropriate.

Milestones

While reaching certain milestones in life may seem like a celebration-worthy event from outside, some people struggle with these moments. Turning fifty, for example, would be a perfect time to congratulate a co-worker who has a positive outlook on the rest of their life. Make sure to be delicate in your wording of notes and messages to peers who might not feel the same way you do about aging.

Office parties are a great way to get everyone excited about your co-worker’s milestone! Buy a cake, have it decorated, and maybe purchase a small gift that commemorates the event. Have the whole floor sign a fancy card!

Engagements and Weddings

What an exciting time for your co-worker! Elaborate congratulations and even asking questions would be a great place to start. If you are able to, offer to purchase something on the wedding registry when it becomes available, or offer a small token of your excitement for the two. Marriage is an amazing part of life for those that choose to follow that route.

Pregnancy Announcements

A common rule of thumb with offering congratulations is to match the co-worker’s excitement. Some topics will be touchy and you might not even know it! Read the expressions and emotions of the person you will be congratulating to make sure you don’t offend. For example, your co-worker may be terrified to find out they are pregnant or that their partner is expecting. Depending on the situation, you can offer your assistance and advice.

Births

Whether it’s your co-worker’s first child or following, the birth of a newborn is both an exciting and stressful time. Many people will take some time off to be with their new addition, so be sure to have something prepared for when they return. One great idea might be a baby book, signed by you and the rest of your team. New parents are always in need of diapers, and it’s always a welcome gift. Not sure what size to buy? Size one diapers will definitely fit within several weeks of a baby’s birth unless they were prematurely born. Another tried-and-true gift would be baby onesies – new parents go through far more of these in a day than imaginable. Anything that extends laundry day is a lifesaver.

Career Achievement

Promotions and other recognitions are the perfect opportunities to make an elaborate celebration event. Office parties with food and tasty treats will help lift the mood, bringing attention to your co-worker. Coordinate with those around you to make your peer feel special! Perhaps you could even work with your boss to get a certificate of recognition created that can be gifted at the office party. 

Above all, however, it’s important that your words and actions are true to you. You and your co-workers are close; you work together more hours than you see your family members sometimes. It’s kind and thoughtful to go out of your way to congratulate these people in your life on their achievements and milestones. No matter how you do it, it will be appreciated if it comes from the heart.

Birthday Card Writer’s Block!

Birthdays come and go at the office, but you’re hoping to up your greeting card game this year. You want to make sure you write something that won’t make your coworkers yawn and instantly toss away your card – but, where do you start? What on earth should you write that they will genuinely appreciate?

10 Ideas to Spark Your Creativity

Look no further – we’ll help you brainstorm. You’ll have the perfect card written in no time at all! Remember, the fact that you took the time to write something for your coworker will mean more than a stock greeting card, anyway.

Funny Messages

Looking for a funny message to include for someone you are close with? Try out some of these greetings in your head before you jot them down on a fancy card! If your coworker has a nickname, you could pop it into your card, too.

  1. Happy birthday, Joe! I thought about writing a happy birthday for every year you’ve attained, but I don’t have enough space. Joking, hope you have a great day!
  2. Hey, Joe!  Wishing you the best birthday ever – I even swiped 10 of the candles from the breakroom so you can feel a bit younger today! Happy (37th), bud.
  3. Joe, I know I said I wouldn’t make a big deal out of your birthday, but here’s this card. It says stuff, and I figured you were worth the effort. Happy birthday!
  4. Hey Joe. I asked the new guy how old he thought you were, and he said 30! It’ll be our secret. Happy birthday! Hope you keep looking this good for years to come.
  5. Happy birthday, Joe! Make sure to bring me some of your leftover cake tomorrow. Just kidding, hope you have a great time with your family tonight.

Standard Messages

Not quite as close to your coworker as that?  Maybe you want to write a birthday card to someone who is new, or an intern!  For people you don’t know quite as well, these would do just as well.

  1. Happy birthday, Joseph! I hope you have a great year; wishing you all the best.
  2. Wishing you a happy birthday, today, Joseph. It’s been great getting to know you the past few months! Here’s to another awesome year.
  3. Happy birthday and heartfelt wishes to you, Joseph! I hope this next year brings you all that you hope for.
  4. Happy birthday, Joseph; one more year gone, but so many left to go! I hope you achieve all that you hope to this year.
  5. A very special birthday wish to you, Joseph. The team and I pitched in for a cake, we hope you enjoy it!

Writing an Employee’s Birthday Card

Looking for something to write on your employee’s birthday card, but don’t know where to start?  We recommend beginning with identifying your audience. How casual is your workplace? What kind of relationships do you want to foster with your employees? Once you have that in mind, you’ll be able to take a sense of direction and run with it.

It’s becoming increasingly important to write a message in your greeting cards. It will mean much more than the stock text and show that you care enough to take a few minutes to jot something down. Here are a few ideas to jumpstart your brainstorming!

10 Ways to Say “Happy Birthday”

It’s been an awesome year; watching you grow in the company and within this team has been amazing. Keep up the great work!  

Wishing you the best of birthdays,

Happy birthday to one of the most dedicated employees on this team. I’ve been impressed, day in and day out, with your outstanding work ethic. Carry this with you in all things, and each birthday will bring you more success than the last one.  

Enjoy your day,

Happy birthday, Mike. I hope this next year in your life brings you as much success as the previous ones have.

Here’s a big shout-out to you, Mike. You’ve been a great role model for new employees. I just wanted to say ‘happy birthday’, and thank you for everything you’ve brought to the team this year.

Mike, your positivity and general attitude about work have always been uplifting and a huge benefit to the team. We really appreciate all that you’ve taught us over the past year.  

I wish you a birthday as happy as you make this office feel,

Happy cake day, Mike! We’re all wishing you a fantastic birthday and a memorable year.

Steve, Stacey, Karen, and Jenna

P.S. Save some for us, will you?

Happy birthday, Mike. You’re such an invaluable member of this team; I’m so glad we get you for another year!  

Happy birthday from all of us,

Congrats on making it another year here on the Earth! It’s a pleasure to work with you – Happy birthday!

Hey, Mike. I just wanted to give a quick thank-you for all that you do. You make working here a lot more fun and your dedication is always a great reminder of what we do here. Thanks for your hard work, and happy birthday!

Happy birthday, Mike. No one could do your job better than you – except maybe “Mike with cake”! Thanks for sticking around and giving us all you’ve got. Go enjoy your special day and a slice of cake on us.

Keep it Simple

Birthdays are a joyous time, so keep a birthday card light and fresh.  Don’t talk too much about work, unless it’s to show appreciation, and try not to mention how old your employee is unless you have a very close relationship with them. Above all, take the time to consider what your employee would like to hear today! The simple act of writing in a card can be a powerful way to connect with the people you see every day.