How to Throw a Birthday Party for a Co-Worker


Some offices are pretty open about celebrating birthdays. In one episode of "30 Rock," Liz Lemon wanted her old boss back because his replacement had no idea when to celebrate someone's birthday. The party can be a nice break in the day not only for the guest of honor but the other co-workers. Ask some questions ahead of time, then plan on a party that will include everyone in the office.

Things You'll Need

  • Sticky Notes
  • Balloons
  • Gift Certificate or DVDs
  • Snacks/Drinks
  • Birthday Cake
  • Clear the party idea with the subject and the boss. Despite your good intentions, some people may not want the extra attention, or may have some responsibility that day that could prevent them from enjoying a party. Some offices may not want individuals to throw parties for others for various reasons.

  • Send an email to co-workers with time, date and place of the party. If you need people to donate food items, use this note or a sign-up sheet to request those items. If the honoree prefers a potluck lunch, for example, use a sign-up sheet to get the necessary food items.

  • Decorations are optional, but, if the birthday person has a sense of humor, set up some distraction so you can decorate her desk, cubicle or office in her absence. The decor alone can serve as a nice surprise.

  • Prepare a cake or some other confection, but make it big enough for other office members to share. Time the singing of "Happy Birthday" at a moment when the honoree and others around the area have a work break. Naturally, the honoree gets the first piece of any treat, but the rest is first-come, first-serve. Depending on the size of your office, you may upset some people if you throw a surprise party and they never get a chance to get a piece of cake.

  • Plan on cleaning up immediately after the party. It isn't fair to anyone for any food or leftover plates to sit out in the open. It's also poor manners to expect the birthday person to do that work.

  • If you choose to give a gift, make it something inexpensive and don't pay it by yourself. It could be poor office politics to present a personal gift to a co-worker, especially if that person ranks above you.

Tips & Warnings

  • Might be a good idea to clear the party time with your boss.


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