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14 Best Fun Office Birthday Ideas For Celebrating In 2022 + Bonus Birthday Party Ideas For Coworkers

By May 9, 2022 September 7th, 2022 59 Comments

Although the Notorious B.I.G. wasn’t necessarily referring to office culture when he penned the immortal lines “Birthdays was the worst days,” he very well could have been.

Think about it – the grocery store sheet cake, the lifeless rendition of “Happy Birthday to You,” the elastic party hat string slicing into your windpipe like piano wire – few things in life are as depressing as a poorly executed office birthday party.

On top of that, birthdays can be a lot of pressure. These days it seems like every individual team member feels entitled to a personalized celebration. As an office manager, culture leader, or HR pro, you may feel obligated to deliver.

office-birthday-ideas

But as your company grows, this becomes harder and harder. Beyond twenty or so employees, it really isn’t feasible.

For these reasons, it might be tempting to throw your hands up and say “forget it,” letting birthday celebrations fall by the wayside. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

When it comes to office birthdays, a little goes a long way. Office birthdays can be both a breeze and an opportunity to add value to your company. There are even automated employee birthday programs that make it easier to manage the logistics involved so that no one at your company ever feels forgotten – We recommend checking out Bonusly which offers automated welcome, anniversary, and birthday bonuses.

Whether you are looking for some birthday surprise ideas for the boss or some coworker birthday ideas that everyone will enjoy – you’ll be sure to find here!

Some Of Our Favorite Employee Birthday Ideas
1

🎁  Unbox Birthday Appreciation

2

🎖 Customizable Birthday Awards

3

🏝 Gift An Unforgettable Experience

4

😎  Create Custom Birthday Swag

Before we dive into our best office birthday ideas, let’s quickly explore why all this birthday stuff matters in the first place.

Office birthday celebrations are simply a chance to show you’ve been paying attention. A personalized birthday wish or gift that speaks to your employees hobby or passion demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to get to know them on a personal level. This goes a long way towards creating an emotional bond between company and team.

And really, it doesn’t take a lot to make your teammates feel special, cared for, and appreciated. SnackNation Vibe Manager extraordinaire Liza Goldberg elaborates:

liza-goldberg“From my experience, what I’ve found is that really all team members want for their birthday is just to see that their company remembers their birthday and cares enough to acknowledge them on it. Even the smallest things planned for them will go a long way. That’s why we’ve set up a birthday milestone program to celebrate their special day and unbox some appreciation.”

Here are our easy-as-pie (or cake) tips to make office birthdays a part of a winning company culture.

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List Of Office Birthday Ideas For Work

  1   Let Them Pick What They Want

If you’re stuck, let employees pick their own birthday gift by awarding them redeemable points. Programs like Awardco make it incredibly easy to distribute points, and employees have the freedom to browse through thousands of rewards and pick something they actually want. You can even configure the program to automatically distribute points on an employee’s birthday to ensure you never miss a milestone.

Pro-tip: Letting employees choose their own gift is an awesome option because it ensures the recipient is getting something they actually want — but it also has the potential to feel impersonal. To make sure the gesture is meaningful, be sure to include a personal note detailing all the things you appreciate about the employee.

Why this is a fun work birthday idea: Let’s face it… You don’t actually know what your employee wants for their birthday? That’s okay! Letting your employee pick what they want gives them the freedom to select something they will actually use. There’s truly something for everyone with options ranging from wishlist items, charitable donations, exclusive company rewards, gifts the whole family can enjoy, and more!

Here are some of SnackNation’s top picks:

 

  2   Shippable Experiences

Shippable experiences are experiences that can be sent to your remote workers and friends all over the world! Instead of the giftee needing to go to a winery or a chocolatier, they can enjoy the experiences right from the comfort of their homes.

Why this is a fun work birthday idea: Shippable experiences make fantastic virtual birthday party ideas because they enable your team to get on a Zoom call and celebrate as if they’re in Paris or wherever the theme of the experience happens to take them virtually! In terms of connectivity and rapport, few work birthday gifts do a better job of rallying the team than shippable experiences.

Here are some of SnackNation’s top picks:

Pro-tip: Don’t get caught in the trap of having to purchase one-off gifts for each employee’s birthday. Set up an employee birthday program through Caroo, where you can input all your employee birthdays and ship gifts out all in one easy (and free!) to use platform.

👉  Check out their dedicated Employee Birthday Box to start celebrating!

 

  3   Office Birthday Game Show

Game-Show

Office birthday game shows gamify your employees’ or coworkers’ birthdays. Now, everyone can be involved, compete, laugh, and enjoy this special day.

Why this is a fun work birthday idea: An office birthday party game show emphasizes having fun, which is what a birthday celebration is all about. Take it as an opportunity to incorporate team building activities as well!

Here are some of SnackNation’s top picks:

 

  4   Downloadable Birthday Games For Work

Downloadable birthday games and activities for work can be used as icebreakers, drinking games, or as a way to elevate the fun and positive energy at the office party. What’s even better is when all of these birthday games and activities have been pulled together in a greatest hits style collection.

Why this is a fun work birthday idea: The Birthday Bundle and other PDFs can be downloaded and printed instantly – and as many times as you want! On top of that, it features Would You Rather Questions, Ever or Never, Drink If…, and How Well Do You Know The Birthday Person?

Here are some of SnackNation’s top picks:

 

  5   Cooking Party

Italian Cooking Class 

Add a little of this, a little of that, and a pinch of outrageously fun times! What do you get? A Cooking party. This office birthday idea is a feast for the senses!

Why this is a fun work birthday idea: On top of getting to learn something new, each participant will of course have the pleasure of devouring their own creation. Besides that, a cooking party provides an opportunity to put your coworker or employee right in their element if you know they like stirring it up in the kitchen! Cooking parties are even better when combined with a shippable experience that delivers all of the necessary ingredients.

Here are SnackNation’s top picks:

 

  6   Happy Hour

Happy-Hour-Office-Birthday-Party

Happy hour and birthdays go together like peas and rice — or olives and martinis. Adding libations and spirits to a birthday will only boost the cheer in the air.

Why this is a fun work birthday idea: Work can be pretty serious business, but work birthdays don’t have to be. Turn the birthday into a cocktail hour or a social mixer with amazing drinks and equally awesome vibes!

Here are SnackNation’s top picks:

 

  7   Social Recognition

happy-birthday

Social recognition is a must-include for birthdays. On the birthday of your friend, coworker, or employee, make sure that everyone in the company or group knows about their special day. Ideally, they can each share a memory they have with them or write a few kind words.

Why this is a fun work birthday idea: Humans are relational. Put another way, we enjoy being seen, recognized, and cared about by one another — to varying degrees.

Here are SnackNation’s top picks:

 

  8   Escape Room

Escape-Room-Office-Birthday

Since birthdays only happen once per year, they would go pretty well with anything that feels timely and urgent — and what in the world is more urgent than an escape room? Whether as a virtual team building activity or at a local escape room, it is sure to be an exhilarating experience that will push you and your coworkers to work together to solve the puzzles, riddles, and tasks in your escape room.

Why this is a fun work birthday idea: This team building idea is perfect for work birthday parties because it gives everyone something to do and bond over! Plus, there are loads of companies and platforms that help facilitate escape rooms. Speaking of…

Here are SnackNation’s top picks:

 

  9   Scavenger Hunt

Office Party Scavenger Hunt

Like escape rooms, scavenger hunts are another incredible way to gamify an office party. While the honors go to the birthday person, games like this get everyone amped. Race around your office, neighborhood, or city to see which team will take home the first place prize!

Why this is a fun work birthday idea: Scavenger hunts are perfect for boosting engagement in the workplace and you can customize the hunt based on the birthday person’s hobbies and interests!

Here are SnackNation’s top picks:

 

  10   Office Lunch Party

Throwing a birthday lunch is one of the simplest office events on this list. The best part? Lunch at the office works so well because it can be done in the middle of the workweek and is a great idea to get employee participation even if its a busy time of the year for your company. After all, everyone has to eat — so why not celebrate their birthday with some delicious grub and some time to chat with the people you spend so much time with.

Why this is a fun work birthday idea: Lunch is also great because everyone has to eat and you can do it in the natural course of the day, so the turnout should be at an all-time high as far as company events go.

Here are SnackNation’s top picks:

 

  Bonus   Office Trivia Night

trivia_night

First question: Who doesn’t love trivia? The correct answer is…nobody doesn’t love trivia! Trivia is always a fantastic time. You could even base the questions around the birthday person to test how well they know them.

Why this is a fun work birthday idea: Trivia is a brilliant office birthday idea because it gets the competitive juices flowing and you can easily give out swag to the winning team!

Here are SnackNation’s top picks:

 

Unique Office Birthday Ideas

  11   Murder Mystery Party

Have you ever played the classic board game Clue? To this day Clue introduced most of us to the idea of Murder Mystery games. Well, the tradition can continue in the workplace!

Why this is a fun work birthday idea: With serial killer shows trending on Netflix, it’s hard to deny our fascination with the macabre. Put your office sleuths to work with a Murder Mystery and let them explore this curiosity even further!

Here are SnackNation’s top picks:

 

  12   Office Gift Exchange

Office-Gift-Birthday-Party

Office gifts are unique trinkets and items that will improve the aesthetic of your coworker’s or employee’s workspace. Whether their workspace is at the office or they’re working from home, they’ll appreciate the improvements.

Why this is a fun work birthday idea: Office gifts can vastly boost the ambiance of a home office or cubicle, which will also boost productivity.

Here are SnackNation’s top picks:

 

  13   Take A Field Trip

Take A Field Trip

A field trip is a throwback to simpler times. Let the collective group play hooky from work for the day to go on a fun activity. Can you say, Bueller? Bueller?

Why this is a fun work birthday party idea: A field trip is the ultimate work birthday gift idea because it gives them the gift of time, memory, and experience. Feel free to ask your employee where they would like to go or survey the office!

Here are SnackNation’s top picks:

 

  14   Coworker Birthday Gift Ideas

Milestone-Box-Caroo

When you think of getting a gift for a coworker, of course, the first thing to pop up in your head is some blend of what would be fun yet professional. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered.

Why this is a fun work birthday party idea: Coworker birthday gift ideas can range from white elephant gifts to motivational gifts for employees. The key here is that the idea is thoughtful and reflects who they are as a person or hints at a happy memory you’ve shared with the giftee.

Here are SnackNation’s top picks:

 

  Bonus   Decorate Their Desk

Decorate Their Desk

Decorating your desk is a sacred tradition of the workplace. While everyone sort of acknowledges in an unspoken capacity that their time is not entirely theirs during their time on the clock, decorating their workspace, retrieves a sense of autonomy.

Why this is a fun work birthday party idea: Adding swag and a touch of individualism goes a long way in the workplace. Decorating their desk can be a huge morale booster.

Here are SnackNation’s top picks:

 

Office Birthday Party Themes

1) Disco

Feeling a little Saturday Night Fever? Turn on the Bee Gees, some Earth, Wind, and Fire, and start grooving for this office birthday party theme. Don’t forget the disco ball and a couple of lava lamps!

2) Roaring 20s

Make Jay Gatsby jealous with an office party Daisy wouldn’t be able to resist. Swing dancing? Check. Flappers? Check. Satisfied employees? Check!

3) Costume Party

Wouldn’t it be nice if Halloween was every other day? Well, you don’t have to wait for October to come around if you throw regular costume parties.

4) Surprise Party

One thing work is infamous for is mundane, routine schedules. Surprise parties inject the workplace with life, energy, and a sense that the unexpected can happen. A great way to make your workplace happier while you celebrate another trip around the sun for your coworker.

5) “This is Not a Hat” Party

For a “This is Not a Hat” party, wear your DIY creation atop your head. The only rule — it can’t be a real hat. Maybe a cat? Maybe a bat? Maybe even a mat? Again, it just can’t be a hat.

6) Beach Party

A beach party is a laid-back, relaxing office birthday party theme with major vacation vibes! To make it a little more authentic, consider throwing the office party outside in the sunshine.

 

Tips For Hosting A Successful Office Birthday

1) Pick a day and time when most coworkers can attend

Attendance is an important part of your office birthday party. At the end of the day, memories are only as good as the people we share them with.

2) Be inclusive and don’t leave anyone out

The more, the merrier when it comes to office dynamics. Everyone deserves a chance to take a break from work.

3) Send a calendar invite so people don’t forget

Without a calendar invite, it’s pretty easy to let things slip. This ensures people can clear their schedules, save the date, and stay motivated to show up.

4) Don’t fret if some people can’t attend

While it’s great if every team member can be there, the reality is that many won’t be able to make it.

5) Choose a fun activity for the group

Birthdays are meant to be fun, so be sure to choose a fun office activity that excites and engages your coworkers or employees. Choose a game or experience that can include everyone to maximize participation and support a positive work environment.

6) Remember you’re still in a professional setting

While The Wolf of Wall Street is a great movie, don’t try to copy the Belfort way of running a company. People should have fun at your office birthday party while still realizing that it still is at work and not an excuse to run wild.

7) Add personalization whenever possible

The more personalized and customized the office party and office party favors are, the better. Ideally, the birthday man, woman, or whatever they identify as, is able to tell the party is really designed just for them.

 

Birthdays & Your Culture Of Recognition

A more traditional approach to workplace culture might question the need for birthday celebrations in the office at all. This is usually the point of view of team members who say things like, “We’re all adults here,” or “This isn’t Kindergarten” when they put up a stink about having to watch someone blow out candles.

Fair enough. But there’s a strong why behind celebrating birthdays, and it’s all about creating a culture of recognition that rewards employees.

Multiple studies have shown a strong link between recognition and performance. A report by HR firm Bersin & Associates suggests that companies that integrate strong employee recognition practices are on average 12 times more likely than their peers to generate strong business results. This means higher profitability and better market positions.

Recognition doesn’t just mean acknowledging a job well done (although that’s certainly important), but recognizing and appreciating your employees as people.

Today’s employees (especially Millennial employees) expect to be able to be their true selves at work. Because of this, more and more companies are ditching the old work-life balance paradigm for the more accurate work-life integration model, which acknowledges that work and life are inseparable. Celebrating staff birthdays helps tell your employees that you get that they are living life everyday inside of your office – we recommend checking out Bonusly which offers automated welcome, anniversary, and birthday bonuses.

 

People Also Ask These Questions About Office Birthday Ideas

Q: How do you celebrate office birthdays virtually?

  • A: You can celebrate office birthdays virtually by using a video conference calling platform and/or sending out shippable experiences, among other ideas.

Q: What can I do for my coworker’s birthday?

  • A: You can do a variety of things for your coworker’s birthday. The critical thing to consider is that the activity you choose is inclusive, interactive, and facilitates social bonding among team members. Of course, the customary birthday card, birthday cake, cupcakes, ice cream bars, gift baskets, birthday breakfast, or anything along those lines is a nice touch.

Q: How do you celebrate employee birthdays if they are remote or work from home?

  • A: You can celebrate employee birthdays by throwing an event that connects coworkers through a shared virtual activity. Whether it is some type of online group game, team activity, or a shippable experience — there are a ton of ways to get employees together who work on a distributed team. You can also gift them an experience in their home town that the employee can try with their friends or family on their day off. This kind of birthday present gives them an opportunity to try something close to home and lets your employee know that you care.

Q: What are some fun ways to celebrate an employee’s birthday?

  • A: Some fun ways to celebrate an employee’s birthday are by including office party games, activities, unique gifts, and birthday treats.

Q: Why is celebrating office birthdays important?

  • A: Celebrating office birthdays is important because they improve retention, engagement, chemistry, and productivity, similar to other employee appreciation and recognition forms. Staff birthdays are crucial to always remember.

59 Comments

  • Gina McCormick says:

    You have me hooked on your messages. Keep them coming.

  • Kim Simpson says:

    Great article about a subject that’s been long on my mind! We’ve been looking for healthier ways to celebrate, since that’s our business (Healthy Directions). The Watermelon Cake . . . maybe. The Asparagus Veggie Cake . . . not so much. Sometimes we just say, hey, it’s all about moderation, and everyone deserves some sweet cake on their birthday.

  • Corinne Ball says:

    Thanks so much for the fun ideas. Coming from a small team that always celebrates everything, it’s important to keep it fresh and personal. I had a great leader who asked what my favorite type of dessert was… Then on my birthday it was delivered to my office. The thoughtful touch of a senior leader being that dedicated to not only employee engagement and celebrations, but also making it personal was a leadership tool that will stay with me for a long time. I am also gong to try the new song approach. Most people cringe when the “Happy Birthday” song is made a routine, so a little energy and their favorite tunes could make the cake eating and celebrating even more fun. A good year is one that is celebrated all year long!

  • Peru Buesa says:

    Thanks Jeff, I think it is great when someone at work remembers your day.
    And it is true that it must be personal. It does not feel very genuine when it is simply a tick in the box thing! keep on sharing.

  • Courtney says:

    There were some good ideas here. We already do a birthday and anniversary card for each employee. The president and general manager personally sign every single one, as well as the employee’s department manager.

  • Emma says:

    We love doing monthly birthdays at our office, but we ask around to make sure all the birthday people are included!

  • selena blanco says:

    In my office, we have a “Wheel of Awesome” that you get to spin on your birthday! It includes anything from $100 cash to free lunch. They love it!

  • Michelle Thomas says:

    These are some great ideas! We rotate birthday/anniversary cards around the office. We also decorate offices/cubicles and treat that person to lunch of their choice.

  • Mika says:

    We also used to do individual birthdays until we grew too much! Now we do monthly “cake days”. I get a cake for the entire office, and get individual cards for each person we’re celebrating that month. The cards get passed around the week of. Fridays are our company lunch days, so when everyone is gathered for food, we sing as I pass out cards. Works great!

  • Kelley christian says:

    Love the watermelon cake idea!

  • Rachel says:

    Love these ideas!

  • Megan says:

    We love the Watermelon cake idea. We are trying that for summer birthday’s this year

  • Valerie says:

    We do monthly celebrations for birthdays and workversaries since we’re a large group. I try to switch up the treats all the time. Cookie cake, pretzel bites, chips, salsa, and queso, cake pops, ice cream cake, build your own sundaes, etc.

  • Nicole says:

    We would give out personalized fortune cookies with a birthday message from the Company.

  • Christina Swords says:

    These are all such great ideas. I don’t know if this counts as celebrating, but I think it would be nice if the company gave everyone the day off on their birthday (Friday off if your birthday is Saturday and Monday off if your birthday is Sunday). It’s just something simple to let employees know that you appreciate their hard work!

    • Jeff Murphy says:

      Not a bad idea! Maybe it’s like an extra vacation day, to be used whenever the employee wants? Thanks for the suggestion, Christina.

  • Brad Price says:

    We called our desk surprises “Birthday Bombs”!

  • Rachel says:

    Such great ideas!

  • TJ says:

    We announce with a gif-laden email. And we used to get a cake / sweet treat and have the office gather around for a rendition of Happy Birthday. But it’s difficult to keep track of people dietary preferences / restrictions (don’t want to get someone an ice cream cake if they’re lactose intolerant) and it gets harder and harder to corral people for the birthday singing. So we’re changing things up and doing a Birthday Gift Card Grab Bag, where they pull a random envelope that has a gift card, scratch off tickets, or lotto tickets.

  • Alex says:

    We LOVE celebrating birthdays, and we’re still small enough where it’s easily personal. Excited to use some of these new ideas to change it up 🙂

    • Jeff Murphy says:

      Thanks, Alex! That’s a good point, if you’re small enough to keep it personal, that’s a great way to go.

  • Chelsey says:

    We do monthly birthdays and have everyone sign cards for the team members we’re celebrating each month. I love the alternative cake idea and may suggest that to the volunteers who bring special “dessert” for birthday meetings! 🙂

  • betsy says:

    We have a staff lunch each month to celebrate all the birthdays and work anniversaries every month complete with cake

    • Jeff Murphy says:

      Great way to make people feel appreciated, yet not get overwhelmed by constant celebrations. I like it!

  • Marsha says:

    My Birthday was on Sunday, I wish I had that fruit cake!!!

  • Kaleb says:

    We do this for every employee. Great way to promote culture

  • Anna says:

    That watermelon cake looks amazing. Definitely making it this summer!

  • kellyn says:

    I love the cake made out of fruit! We usually just get a tray but that would be so much more fun!!

  • sara caban says:

    good ideas, i like to personalize gifts

  • Joy says:

    Great article! I love celebrating birthdays for our employees. One thing we have started doing is sending Sugarwishes to everyone on their special day. Not everyone wants their birthday announced in a public forum so this way everyone gets to feel special.

  • Kathy Boykoff says:

    Great article with some great ideas! In our office we do balloons, a card signed by the entire office, a birthday treat and the employee gets to leave early to get a birthday massage that the company pays for.

  • Laura Stevens says:

    Love the video idea… also the veggie cake idea…. I really needed some birthday zip ideas1 Thank you!

  • betsy says:

    We have monthly staff luncheons to celebrate all the birthdays and work anniversaries for that month

  • Jessica says:

    great ideas! We’ve adopted a couple of traditions where I buy custom cupcakes, or decorate their office. We also do monthly celebrations for all of our Directors at a monthly meeting we hold. This way we recognize everyone.

  • Christi says:

    We have monthly birthday celebrations. I try to listen in to conversations and if I hear that someone really likes a certain kind of sweet treat or tasty beverage I will make sure it’s included in the celebration. People get a kick out of it.

  • Taylor says:

    We love to celebrate with balloons and the employees favorite dessert on their actual birthday and then do a company happy hour the Friday closest to the employee’s birthday.

  • Vera Bassey says:

    Usually we use the celebrants favourite colours for ribbons and balloons decorations in the office, we get a card signed by everyone and a cake but, I love the idea of the fruit watermelon cake. We are going to give it a try next month.

    Thank you SNACKNATION for all the beautiful ideas!

  • Shikha says:

    Great ideas!! Specially fruit cakes ???

  • Babs says:

    Unless this is something done across the board, don’t use a company card to take someone out to lunch on their birthday. All it says is, let’s go to lunch on the company’s dime, and call it a celebration. Either this is your gift or it’s just another company lunch. The recipient might feel used instead of celebrated,

  • yamini says:

    I love these ideas! I really needed some birthday ideas Thank you for posting.

  • dhinesh says:

    wow!!!! simply good ideas. it will help me. thank you for sharing these ideas

  • Ankita says:

    Thank You For Helping me out anniversary ideas. My husband got happy due to your tips. Thanks

  • Nice Blog.. I love it.. Keep it up.. the good work.

  • sandi says:

    All ideas are good and not expensive.

  • Lisa Glover says:

    Thanks for sharing such amazing ideas. All are amazing at optimal cost.

  • Jweventsuite says:

    Nice blog. I am really like the way, you have started the blog and information on Birthday party venues Stockbridge Ga is well written and understandable.

  • Love this! My favorite part is the theme – my daughter comes up with that and then I can go overboard with the coordinating wrapping paper and cake and favor. It’s fun and helps distract me from the sadness I feel about how quickly her childhood is speeding by!

  • Nice website, I am your avid reader.

  • Elena says:

    Thanks for the valuable information. Some of them were unknown. Keep your article flooded with such true information

  • Excellent piece. Thanks!!!

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