There’s only one quintessential birthday moment – the moment everyone gathers to Boomerang before a big applause – and that’s blowing out the candles.

But germaphobe or not, after living through a global pandemic, is there any way we can witness this moment again and not think of the sprinkle of spit that may come with blowing on a communal dessert? It’s the only time we might ever say “thanks, but no thanks” to a slice of cake.

Rest assured, the pandemic may have taken many things from us, but your birthday wish will not be one of them. There are plenty of ways you can still uphold this time-honored tradition without spreading too many germs. Here are our top 4 ideas you can try this birthday, or long after COVID-19 is over.

1. Secure your candles on top of a plastic cake covering

Wait, don’t toss out the plastic covering that comes with store-bought cakes. Instead, melt the bottoms of your birthday candles and, while warm, adhere them onto the covering. Then, place the covering back on top of the cake as a nifty shield and light your candles as normal.

2. Fan the candles out with a piece of cardboard or a DVD

….or a folder, or placemat, or even a real fan. Find whatever you have lying around and work that wrist fanning the candles out when the time comes. Make sure to keep a safe distance from the flames, so nothing catches fire.

3. Secure a candle to a removable cake topper

Stick a candle into a removable cake topper, like a strawberry, and close your eyes to make a wish as usual. Once you’ve made your wish, remove the topper from the cake and step aside to blow out the candle separately.

4. Blow out an individual cupcake

In addition to your birthday cake, set aside an individual cupcake and add a candle to it. Blow out your cupcake candle separate from the cake – then eat your personal cupcake and a slice of cake, too! Happy birthday, indeed.

For more birthday inspiration, take our birthday quiz. Or, start browsing birthday invitations here.