Best Birthday Gifts

Birthday

This is probably one of the few almost universally celebrated occasions, although some cultures and religions opt to celebrate name days instead (some celebrate both). Birthday celebrations are believed to originate from the non-Christian cult of Mithras, which was spread by soldiers throughout the Roman Empire. It was distributed widely and its influence was spread throughout the empire until it was supplanted by Christianity.

Common traditions include the singing of a special birthday song (such as 'Happy Birthday To You'), celebrating a (surprise) party and giving gifts and a birthday cake. In fact, the latter tradition dates as far back as the Middle Ages, when symbolic items, such as gold coins, rings and thimbles, each associated with a particular prediction, would be hidden inside cakes.

Gift ideas

Journal: Datebook

A great gift, esp. for mothers and grandmothers, is a journal to keep track of all the important dates in your family, like birthdays and anniversaries. Record each family member's birthday, along with addresses and preferences (hobbies, sizes, etc.), so she has all the important information at hand. Add a picture of each person if you can, to add a special touch.

Stationery: Personlized notepad

A simple yet personal gift for anyone with a tendency to make notes on the back of grocery receipts and other bits of paper is a personalized notepad. You can tailor the personalization to refer in some way to the gift occasion or go for something standard like "From the desk of [name]". You can get all sorts of shapes and sizes, from self-sticking notepads to address labels.

Animal Lover: Adopt An Animal

A great gift for all animal lovers: organizations like the WWF (www.worldwildlife.org) offer the chance to 'adopt' an animal. You usually get a certificate, a photograph and a plush toy as part of the adoption. Prices vary, depending on the type of animal you choose to adopt. Alternatively, check with your local zoo.

This gift will be extra special if you add a personal message that relates the recipient to an attribute of the animal you have chosen: "I know you are having a hard time right now, but keep going - you are strong as a bear!". If you have a special nickname for the recipient your message could also be something like "For my little monkey / tiger / etc.".

Gifts that moved people

Book "My custom van" by Michael Ian Black

Jeffrey, 21 got this from his friend and said:

I really love Michael Ian Black and a whole collection of his essays made me really happy. I started reading right away and could not put it down!

LASIK Eye Surgery

Amanda, 57 got this from her mother and said:

After Mother learned that she was suffering from macular degeneration, she decided to give me the gift of sight. I'd been very near-sighted for years, so she gave me LASIK surgery. It was amazing. I had it done 2 years ago, and I haven't had to wear glasses since that time. I also see much better than I'd seen in years. There couldn't have been a greater gift!

Bicycle

Joseph, 34 got this from his parents and said:

I was getting older, and seeing other kids riding bikes. My birthday is in Fall, so the summer was past but it was still nice out. When I saw my own bike that day for my birthday, I was so happy, though it still took me a while to learn how to ride. :-)

Gifts gone wrong...

Pizza stone

Evelyn, 30 got this from her friend and said:

I used it a couple times. It's SO heavy and not to mention very hard to clean. It stains EVERY time I use it, and it over cooks my pizza!! But I didn't want my friend to feel bad because she thought it was the perfect gift! Boy was she wrong.

Book

David, 18 got this from his best friend and said:

It had some adult content and my parents saw it. I was only 11 at the time and it was so embarrassing!

The same bag I saved up for months and got myself before I received the same one as a gift!

Lorna, 45 got this from her best friend and said:

Some people might not think its a bad or an unpleasant gift but I felt disappointed to be honest... There was this bag I saved up for like four months to get myself on my birthday, and eventually bought it happily. And lo and behold I got the same bag from my best friend on my birthday.

Symbols

Comb

  • Symbol of magical power over nature because combs were originally made of fish bones and were believed to control storms.

  • Japanese mythology associates the teeth of the comb with rays from heaven: when a comb was stuck in the hair to hold it up, this was a means of communicating with heaven.

Clothes

Clothes are often used as a symbol of the very essence of the human being.

Evergreen

  • According to St. Patrick, green is the color of hope, representing the faith and optimism of the Irish people throughout history.

  • The Evergreen tree never looses its shape or color of leaves and has thus become a symbol of both hope and everlasting life.

Quotes

Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.

Mark Twain

You know you are getting old when the candles cost more than the cake.

Bob Hope

Just say, I'm not 50, I'm 18 with 32 years experience.

Unknown

Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.

Robert Frost

Old age is not so bad when you consider the alternative.

Maurice Chevalier