Ah isolation, our newfound friend. What a time it is, spending the better part of the start of the year in a state of unexpected lockdown in our very own homes.
As countries battle to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19 by restricting social interactions, closing stores and going into various states of lockdown, our lives have temporarily changed as we know them.
Of course, the priority right now is to flatten the curve and help save lives by staying indoors - something that Australian's should now be fully implementing as the new norm.
And priorities are priorities, right? Which is why even those who had special events planned (read: milestone birthdays) are having to forgo the festivities by following responsible government advice.
It's always disappointing to cancel plans, but it's a necessary measure nonetheless - and it doesn't necessarily mean you have to forgo the celebrations altogether.
What if we told you you could still have a memorable celebration with your family and friends on your big day without even seeing them in real life?
It's possible, thanks to the big wide internet world, and we decided to unpack some of the best tips and tricks to make sure your day is everything you hoped for.
Whether you're planning a celebration for yourself, or thinking of surprising a loved one for their big day, keep scrolling for some inspiration that's been tried, tested and given the tick of approval.
In living proof that humans can adapt to a ridiculous amount of novel situations, you've no doubt noticed a whopping increase in Zoom party screenshots appearing in your Instagram story feeds.
Of course, it doesn't come without good reason - the multi-person video chat platform allows users to speak to each other from their own homes via Webcam.
It's user-friendly experience also gets a big thumbs up from us - with little tweaks like amplifying whoever is speaking to giving a clear picture of each person on the chat, we reckon this platform is one of the best for virtual gatherings.
Which is why you can't blame people for getting on board the bandwagon and catching up with friends - and often birthdays! - on the service.
To put it simply, you'll just need each of your party guests to create their own login (it's currently offered for free). As the host, you can create a unique link that can be shared with each virtual party goer.
You name the time, they hit the link, and voila - let the virtual good times roll.
If you're wanting to take your Zoom celebration to the next level, you could also try some techniques to get everyone involved from their homes.
Tasks like cooking the same meal together (bake-off style) or creating a shared playlist for you and your pals to drink some bubbles and sit-down dance to their hearts content is guaranteed to spice up the atmosphere.
Or, you could make use of streaming platforms that are making use of their assets by delivering weekly DJ sets and presenting popular artists via social media each week.
Hot Dub Time Machine streams live each weekend in this way, and makes a great lounge room turned party set-up for you and your pals to share from across the virtual universe.
Just because you can't be together in person doesn't mean you can't dress up for the occasion.
Fancy dress parties can totally go virtual nowadays, and there's never been a better time to go big or go home - literally.
Think wigs, hats and sparkles galore - make your mini screen among the multi-viewer platform stand out!
Giant group video chats can be fun, but in the context of an actual party, you'd rarely see the entire venue be involved in the exact same conversation, with people having to navigate talking over top of one another.
So instead, why not try to mirror said actual party by making your own home like a venue with your pals spaced out at different "virtual" points?
How does it work, you ask? Simply set up "stations" in your home where you can go and chat to two to three people on a video chat at a time - much like you would working the room at a normal real life celebration.
You'll need to be pretty organised with this, setting up allocated time slots with each group of friends throughout the night.
It's a great way to properly chat to your loved ones on the day, while feeling like you're kind of at a real-life bash.
This is a goodie for those wanting to surprise their loved on on their birthday.
With ample time now on our hands to create some seriously good content (have you seen the state of Instagram lately? Who knew cousin Jim was so good at headstands?), asking pals to create their own videos for the birthday gal or guy to watch on the day is the perfect way to boost morale and give them something to remember.
Whether it's a simple happy birthday message, or sharing their favourite memory with the recipient, these little clips are guaranteed to provide a cherry on top of the lockdown pie (which you've probably perfected during these self-isolating days).
If you want to make it even more adventurous, you could set out some fun challenges with your pals as a way to bring some extra fun to the day.
Whether it's playing a classic game of charades or creating a quiz to complete on video chat, or even getting them to pre-film something silly, there are plenty of ways you can personalise and make it a day to remember.
Ironically, as we all hole up in our homes to isolate, we've never been more connected to the A-list elite.
You might have heard of the celebrity streaming platform Cameo, which allows celebs to share personalised video messages with fans and followers. The more famous the star, the higher the price. But you can easily secure a message from a reality TV star for under $50!
Can you imagine receiving a birthday message from the real-life Mandy Moore or Busy Philips? You should, because it could well be a reality in our climate.
The company has seen a significant growth in interactions between celebs and fans since countries started going into lockdown, and you could be one of them.