Present tense

I wish people would stop asking me, I really don’t know and whilst I can always give suggestions I really honestly don’t need anything. Can we just not do the whole present thing?

I am, of course, talking about my upcoming birthday.

Now I’m fairly well off, I can afford most of what I want and that’s even before I consider things I really NEED (errr… nothing, really), so the whole idea of getting birthday presents seems a bit daft.

Is it just me?

Regular readers will know I that I flip-flop between fighting off the hordes of consumerism and succumbing to charms of the latest gadget. So this whole birthday present thing depends on the current state of the battle.

If I’ve recently had my ramparts overrun (ooer, missus!) then it’s easy to jot down a list of “things wot I’d like”, if my ramparts have yet to be breached (I should stop with this, right?) then my response to “what would you like for your birthday?” becomes a shrug and a few items that I could just as easily pick up myself.

But then it’s not about the item you get, it’s about the fact that someone has taken the time to think about me and get me something they think I’ll like. I get that part of it fine and dandy, honest I do and, you know… thanks.

The whole present buying/receiving thing is a tricky area of course, with oodles of etiquette and unwritten rules which make it far harder than it should be. For example:

  1. Are you allowed to admit that you throw away presents?
  2. Is there an acceptable timescale for re-using presents? Ohhh come on, we’ve all done it!
  3. Is providing a list of things you’d like the “done thing”?
  4. What is wrong with just cancelling the entire birthday shenanigans??

IS it just me? I doubt it.

Of course, regardless of all of the above, I reserve the right to change my mind completely when my birthday rolls around.

10 comments

  1. I’ve recently found (with an upcoming b’day myself) that actually the thing that is likely to work as presents etc. is – well, I can’t deny it – food.

    Suggestions have been placed with things like Lime Tree Pantry, Alternative Meats, Snowdonia Cheese etc.

    As with you, in general if I want something (say a newly published book, CD, DVD, whatever) then I’ll order it and then think later “Oh, I could’ve asked for that” – usually just after the despatch email has been sent. In the case of books, I’ve usually done a pre-order on Amazon, so I don’t even remember when something’s being published (which has just annoyed Herself, as in the last ten days I’ve received the new Neal Stephenson and Peter Hamilton door-stops, less than a month from b’day)

    In short, I’m useless. But the food thing might just work. I’ll know for sure by Nov 6th…

  2. [mutter]
    Of course, if you kept your chuffing wish-lists up to date, that might bloody help, too…
    (Having looked on both Amazon and ta-da list)
    [/mutter]

  3. I prefer if people give me a total surprise. It’s kind of a “how well do you actually know me” thing, to see if they can come up with something I’ll actually like, and which proves they have put some thought into it. I think it’s the lazy person’s way out, asking someone what they want, and negates the whole point of present-buying. Like you, if I want something, I’ll buy it. So the best presents are the ones I didn’t know I wanted, but when I get it, I realise that I should have. If that makes any sense.

  4. I hate presents for just for the sake of HAVING to give something. It’s usually something not liked and will be re-gifted (there is no time minimum for re-gifting). If presents aren’t thoughtful, useful, edible or lavishisly decadent, then just don’t give them.

  5. Well you’re in luck my boy because we have something thoughtful,useful,edible and lavishly(lavishly-ish) decadent for your birthday. We still have all the receipts though so we can take it all back if you’d rather just not do the whole present thing…….?
    No I thought not!!

  6. But … Don’t you have an Amazon wishlist? You MUST do! That’s the absolutely easiest way to manage the present thing. Zero effort! Whenever you’re trawling around Amazon it’s so easy to just bung something you fancy onto your wishlist, then if everyone you know has the email link to it, ta-daaaa, presents sorted! 🙂

  7. Well Gordon what can I say?! Other than, you’re just so selfishly depriving other people of the opportunity to give you a present, in easiest possible way! And what if it’s really expensive and it’s the week before pay-day?

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