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80th Birthday Ideas – 30 Great Ways to Celebrate an 80th Birthday!

Turning 80 is certainly cause for celebration!   If you’re wondering what can you do for an 80th birthday celebration, here are some great ideas for a memorable 80th birthday:

1.  Throw a Party!

If the birthday woman or man loves to get together with family and friends, then consider throwing an amazing 80th birthday party.  The party can be just as small as their immediate family members, or it can be a larger affair that includes friends from their past and present.

Does he or she enjoy surprises?  Then a surprise party might be a great option.   Otherwise, be sure to talk to the birthday celebrant about the type of party they would enjoy.

That way they’ll be able to enjoy planning the party, and will be able to look forward to the event.  Since many seniors can be a bit bored, planning a party is a great way to fill time.

2.  Make a Photo Album or Scrapbook

An 80th birthday is a fabulous time to reflect upon the memorable events of a lifetime.  Preserve some of those memories – and take him or her on a stroll down memory lane – by making a photo album or scrapbook filled with highlights from their life.

Use Facebook and email, or other social media sites, to request pictures from far-away family and friends.  The 80 year old will love seeing long-lost faces and pictures!

3.  Complete a Bucket List Item

Is there something that he or she has always dreamed of but not yet gotten around to doing?  Checking off a bucket list item or two is a a wonderful 80th birthday idea!

4.  Take a Stroll Down Memory Lane by Visiting Favorite Sites from the Past

By the time someone turns 80, there are many places that were important to them at some point in their life.  If possible, take them back to some of their most meaningful spots – their former schools, they house they grew up in, places they worked, or the church they’ve attended are sure to bring back treasured memories.

Most senior citizens truly enjoy a trip down memory lane!  And you’ll love hearing stories about what their life was like when they were younger.  Try to capture some of those memories on video (your smart phone will work fine) so that you can enjoy the stories for years to come.

5. Organize 80 Cards from Family and Friends

There’s something special about getting birthday cards in the mail!  Make their 80th birthday memorable by having as many friends and family members as possible send a birthday card to them.  Ideally, it would be perfect to have 80 cards.

It can take a bit of time to organize a card campaign like this, but the pleasure it will bring to the celebrant will make your effort well worth it.  This article explains exactly how to organize an 80th birthday card campaign.

6.  Order a Birthday Card from the President

Did you know that you can request a birthday card from the White House for anyone who is 80 or older?    You’ll need to plan ahead a bit, as it takes at least 6 weeks notice, although the more time you can gift the better.

It’s free (well, your tax dollars pay for it) and is sure to thrill the birthday man or woman!

7.  80 Days of Love Notes in a Jar

Looking for a fun 80th birthday idea that will last longer than just one day?  Write 80 little notes of memories or appreciation on decorative paper.   You can do write all the notes yourself, or ask family and friends to write messages.

Then just put the notes in a pretty vase or jar.  The recipient can then look forward to opening a note every day for the next 80 days.

8.  Make a Photo Bouquet

This is one of my favorite 80th birthday ideas for Mom or Grandma!   Make a bouquet of paper flowers that feature the pictures of her loved ones.  It’s such a cheerful decoration that’s perfect for brightening her room.  She’ll love having pictures of all of her favorite people.

9.  Make  a Memory Quilt

A memory quilt is another great way to use photos.  You can transfer favorite pictures to fabric squares and sew a quilt full of love and memories.  

A fun idea for an 80th birthday quilt would be to send fabric blocks to loved ones and ask them to write a message on the fabric.  You could then sew these blocks into the quilt as well.

10.  Drink Champagne

A milestone occasion like this certainly deserves a few toasts!  Pop open a special bottle of champagne and celebrate turning 80 in style.

11. Play Favorite Games

Playing games together is a fun way to enjoy being with your favorite octogenarian – and it’s an especially great way to celebrate if there are kids involved.

Try playing games from their childhood, such as dominos, card games or checkers.  If you have several age ranges, consider games such as Trivial Pursuit, bingo or cornhole.

12.  Watch a Favorite Childhood Movie

Talk about a blast from the past!  He or she probably has fond memories of going to the movie theater as a child (my mom went every Saturday – she paid a nickel for her ticket).

Order a few of their favorite movies from their childhood to watch together.   Don’t forget the popcorn!

13.  Plant Flowers Together

Plant a flower pots or a windowsill garden full of plants, herbs or other flowers.  They’ll then enjoy watching the plants grown and bloom long after their 80th birthday has passed.

If there are small kids in the family, you could have them decorate flower pots with their handprints.  It’s a fun (and colorful) way to involve children in the 80th birthday celebration!

14.  Listen to Music from the Past 80 Years

Listening to music from their past is a wonderful way to recall favorite memories.  Download some popular songs from their childhood and teenage years to listen to with them.

15.  Make an 80th Birthday Candy Gram

Grab some poster paper and candy bars, and put together a funny candy gram to celebrate this milestone birthday!  It’s fun to receive, easy to make and inexpensive to put together.

16.  Decorate T-Shirts or Sweatshirts

Looking for 80th birthday ideas that are fun for all age ranges?  Decorate shirts with fabric paints.  You could do this before the birthday and everyone could wear the shirts on the actual day.  Or spend the 80th birthday decorating shirts together.

17.  Take Pictures Together

If family and friends are getting together to celebrate, take time during the day to have a photography session.  If possible, schedule a professional photographer to take the pictures.

No need to be too serious though – bring along a few photo props to guarantee a few goofy photos!

18.  Decorate Their Yard

Surprise them when they wake up on their 80th birthday with yard decorations – the bigger, the better!  I’m sure you’ve seen those huge “Happy Birthday” yard signs that are so popular right now.

Plus the whole neighborhood will know that they’re celebrating…so they’ll probably get more Happy 80th birthday greetings than they usually would.

19.  Enjoy a Milkshake 

Most 80 year olds will have fond childhood memories of the drug store soda fountain.  If you can find one that’s still in existence, take him or her there for a malted or milkshake and a taste of old times.

Otherwise, mix up your own milkshake, seltzer or other childhood treat at home.

20.  Have a Picnic

If the weather is good, take the celebration outside.  Choose a park that has a playground so the kids can enjoy playing, and the senior citizen can enjoy watching them.

Cornhole, croquet, or horseshoes are all fun games to play at a picnic.

21.  Go to an Antique Car Show

Checking out vintage cars is a fabulous 80th birthday idea for Dad, Grandpa or any car buff.  Find an antique car show near you by checking the local newspaper or Twitter.

22.  Make a Money Tree

A money tree filled with 80 $1 bills is a festive gift for the frugal senior.    Just attach the bills to a pre-potted small tree.

23.  Sing Karaoke Together

Come on…everyone should sing badly in public at least once in their life!  Or throw a home karaoke party for the whole family.

24.  Give 80 Small Presents

Instead of one large present, give 80 small gifts.  The grandchildren and great-grandchildren will love thinking of (and counting out ) 80 gifts.

A few gift ideas would be small pieces of candy, stamps, beads or flowers.

25.  Go to a Casino

The gambler would enjoy visiting their favorite casino for their birthday.  Slot machines, cards, free drinks, buffet…and the chance to win big!

26.  Make a Video of Their Life

Another great way to stroll down memory lane!  Scan all those old photos onto a disc to play as a movie.  Serve candy, soda, and popcorn just like at a real movie theater.

27.  Decorate with 80 Balloons

Everyone should have balloons on their birthday!  Fill one of the rooms with 80 balloons in his or her favorite color.

If you have time, attach small photos to the end of the strings.  They’ll love seeing all the pictures of family and friends!  Read this article for more details.

28.  Go to an Elegant Tea

Looking for special 80th birthday ideas for Mom or Grandma?  Get dolled up and go out to a lavish tea!  She’ll love being pampered and fussed over.

29.  Take a Family Vacation

Go big for an 80th birthday and take a family vacation together!  Look for a destination that will appeal to all the different generations, such as a cruise or a resort vacation.

Everyone in the family can look forward to the event, and they’ll have loads of bonding moments and memories to look back on afterwards.

30.  Celebrate for 80 Days

Why limit the fun to just one day?  One of the most creative ways to celebrate their 80th birthday is to plan 80 days of surprises!

You’ll need to coordinate with family and friends.   Assign each of them one of 80 days before the actual birthday to drop off a small gift, send a card, or celebrate their 80th birthday in some small way.

Share Time with Your Loved One

Many elderly people don’t really want a birthday party or gifts, even for a milestone birthday like an 80th.  There’s a good chance that what he or she would enjoy the most is simply spending time with you.  

It can be as simple as going out together to a favorite restaurant, putting together a jigsaw puzzle, or looking over family photos.

He or she might enjoy going to church with you, or watching favorite TV shows or old movies together.  The more active senior might enjoy golfing, shopping, a walk on the beach, or fishing.

Remember that some seniors can be a bit lonely or bored.  Make their 80th birthday special by enjoying time with the birthday woman or man!

80th Birthday FAQ

What is an 80th birthday called?

Someone who is between 80 and 89 years old is called an octogenarian, so you could refer to the 80th birthday as the octogenarian birthday.

In Hindu culture, the 80th birthday is called Sathabhishekam.  The date is usually fixed after the person has seen 1000 full moons.  This usually occurs 7 or months after the actual 80th birth date.

Is 80th birthday a milestone?

Definitely!  Milestone birthdays (or landmark birthdays, as some people call them) are those birthdays that mark a big birthday year.  The milestone birthdays for adults in the United States are considered 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 and 110.

Some people also consider 65, 75, 85, 95, and 105 as milestone birthdays, although those are not quite as widely celebrated as the even numbered decades.  1st, 16th, 18th and 21st birthdays are also considered milestone birthdays for younger people.

What is the Color for an 80th Birthday?

There are no official colors for birthday years, so you’re free to choose any favorite color for an 80th birthday celebration! Each birth month has a different color, gemstone and flower associated with it, but you don’t have to follow those guidelines if you don’t want to (very few people know about birth month colors).

What is the stone for an 80th Birthday?

Gemstones are actually associated with anniversaries, not birth years.  So there is not an official stone for an 80th birthday.  

Each birth month does have a birthstone associated with it, so if you want to give a traditional 80th birthday jewelry gift, use the person’s birthstone.