Birthday Ideas for a Co-Worker


Birthdays are celebrated in many different ways all over the world. People celebrate birthdays with flowers in the Middle East, flags in Scandinavia, pinatas in Mexico, tigers in China, pie in Russia and candles in North America (See Reference 1). The birthday celebration remains one of our most universal traditions. Honor co-workers with these unique ideas sure to make their day more enjoyable.

Office Update

  • Surprise your co-worker with an office mini-makeover. Find out her favorite color, team or hobby and build on that theme for the makeover. Enlist the help of other co-workers via a secret email or memo. Ask everyone to bring an item for the office of the co-worker that keeps with the theme.

    Ideas might include desk organizers, writing implements, note pads, a small rug, chair cushion, insulated drink cup, wall decor, small decorative items, table fountains, desk lamps, picture frames and a new wastebasket. Purchase or ask for a donation of balloons and cake in keeping with the theme as well. Set up after the birthday co-worker leaves for the day.

Birthday Outing

  • Give the birthday co-worker a surprise afternoon off and treat. Have everyone pitch in to cover the co-worker's position for the afternoon. Be sure you check the co-worker's calendar and handle or clear anything he may have scheduled for that afternoon.

    Take up donations and get a gift card for something special to do on the afternoon off. Place it in a birthday card on which you write a message letting her know she is leaving at noon. Ideas include a gift card for a pedicure, bookstore with a coffee shop, lunch out, movie or museum admission. Surprise her with the card first thing in the morning so she has time to plan to be out.

Red Carpet Treatment

  • Plan the red carpet treatment for your co-worker's special day. Reserve the best parking place for him with a large reserved sign and balloons. If you have a marquee, have her name and birthday wishes placed on it. Roll out a red carpet, literally, at the front door of her office. Buy a small, red doormat or roll out some red bulletin board paper from the local teaching supplies store as a symbolic red carpet.

    Adorn her desk with flowers, chocolates and a breakfast-treat basket. Cater lunch either professionally or as a potluck with your co-workers. Print out an award certificate to honor him and present it at the end of the day with a small cake and all co-workers present to sing "Happy Birthday."

Lunch or Dinner Out

  • Arrange for the co-worker to have some extra time off at lunch with a couple of co-worker friends. Have friends arrange reservations. Clear the co-worker's calendar or cover the position for the extra-long lunch.

    Alternatively, plan a surprise dinner night out for the co-worker with his spouse or friends. If the co-worker has children, arrange for a friend to take the children for a few hours. Take up donations for a restaurant gift card, call the spouse or friends with the plan and be sure the co-worker makes no other plans for the night. Busy co-workers appreciate a thoughtful gift that gives them some much needed time away from work stress.

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