Office birthday parties can be pretty lackluster. Everyone gathers around whether they know your name or not. They all sing the birthday song out of tune. The cake is ready to be split into a million pieces before everyone returns to their desk to feast. You have to make it count no matter how many people are on the payroll. With a little planning, office birthday parties can add value to the company and bring employees together for fun.

1. Decorate Their Desk

A desk might be the only place employees feel "at home" when you're at work. They may have a few pictures in frames and a special quote placed on a post-it note by the computer. Go crazy and decorate the employee's desk with streamers, balloons or confetti. The biggest question is when to do this. Either stay late after the employee leaves or arrive early so it's a definite surprise.

2. Put Together a Video

It might sound impossible to put together a video, but it's easy with today's technology. You can film co-workers telling a funny story about the employee or sending birthday wishes. You can splice these interviews together with any editing software.

3. Personalize the Celebration

Making people feel special is a celebration in itself. Personalize the employee's gift or the celebration to mimic the person's life. If they love to golf, get them a gift certificate to the local golf store. If they love country music, give the celebration a country theme with George Strait playing on Pandora. They feel loved on their birthday when you do these small things because it means you really got to know their likes outside of spreadsheets and emails.

4. Skip The Boring Cake

The birthday sheet cake is so yesterday. Go with fun cupcakes or an ice cream cake. You can go with different types of smaller cakes so the employees get a chance to pick and choose without having to go with boring white cake.

5. Give A Gift Card

Give the employee a small token of appreciation with a gift card. You don't have to go crazy and spend a lot, but even a few bucks on a Wal-Mart gift card might go a long way when it comes time to grocery shop. Let them pick one thing out of a box. You might have a free day off ticket, a movie gift card or a $5 bill in the box.

6. Personalized Wall Plaques

Nothing is cooler than having something to hang in your office with your name. Think of name inscribed on a plaque. It's different and makes you feel special. Give employees personalized wall plaques for their birthday complete with a funny saying, their entire name and/or their position. Make these personalized wall plaques serious or funny depending on the person. You could just get their name and birthdate on the plaque.

7. Handwritten Notes

Is everyone forgetting how to write on actual paper now that computers seem to rule the world? Handwrite a note to employees on their birthday so they feel important. Get leaders of the company involved by asking them to jot down a quick "Happy Birthday" and sign the note.

The bottom line is to make employees feel special without the usual boring office party. You don't have to go overboard to have a fun time and take only a few minutes out of the workday. Everyone in the office is there to work, but you must also remember everyone leaves work and has a life so it's important to celebrate.