A few more creative ideas to add to your lexicon:
1. Tea Attack: This was invented by a couple of my friends in San Francisco. How it works: Arrive at the home of the unsuspecting recipient of tea attack, with a beautiful teapot, cookies, bread and cheese, a variety of teas, cloth napkins, and a lot of joy. Insist that they stop what they are doing and initiate a spontaneous tea party in their home. This works well for birthdays, layoffs or no occasion at all. I have yet to be tea attacked but consider me a willing victim.
2. Lovebombs: This was the brainchild of a very dear circle of friends of mine who lives all over the country. When someone is feeling down, has a birthday or just needs to be celebrated because of their awesomeness we send out a call to lovebomb them. This includes emails, calls, handwritten notes, gifts, etc. It is a very sweet way to shower them with love when we are all far away.
3. Pillow Fight: Then there is the San Francisco pillow fight. For the last couple of years on Valentine’s Day, a group of hundreds of folks (some are disgruntled about love, some are in love with love) bring pillows to Justin Herman Plaza at twilight and laugh and hit each over the head with pillows. I know it sounds a little intense, but I suspect there is a lot of joy here, and I love the catharsis of it. This year will be my very first pillow fight and I look forward to photographing it. The spirit of it reminds me of New Year’s eve in Oaxaca, Mexico where spent the entire night hurling eggs filled with shaving cream and flour at people we didn’t know. It was good clean fun.