The first known birthday celebrations began among the Egyptians with parades, circuses, and gladiatorial events – all complete with feasts that sometimes lasted for days. Romans celebrated the birthdays of their gods with parades and chariot races. Mortals were not encouraged to celebrate their birthdays in Rome. Germany introduced the tradition of birthday cakes about 200 years ago. The cake itself was filled with gifts that predicted the recipient’s life in the upcoming year. For example, if the slice of cake contained a ring, it symbolized impending marriage. A coin guaranteed riches throughout the next year. If the cake fell while baking, it ensured impending doom to the one celebrating a birthday. Today, various countries celebrate birthdays in unique ways.
In the United States, the traditional birthday ritual calls for giving gifts to the one celebrating his special day. Selecting the “right” gift depends on the individual, his interests, and how well you know him. Instead of purchasing the “same old” thing, add a unique twist to your birthday gift selections this year and watch out for the positive feedback! Below are several ideas that you may wish to give thought to as you plan your next birthday gift list for every child, teen, or adult in your life.
Birthday Gifts for Children
-A craft-of-the-month complete with a kit is a sure bet to create a happy birthday for any child. Subscriptions usually entail receipt of a kit every month, every two months, or quarterly for one year.
-Magazine subscriptions are also a huge hit with children and a great way to challenge their minds and enhance their knowledge. Popular subscriptions include Highlights, Cobblestone, AppleSeeds, Jack and Jill, Lady Bug, Nickelodean Jr., and Sesame Street.
-Children enjoy individual attention from important people in their lives, i.e. mom, dad, grandparent, aunt, older sibling.
-Give that special child the gift of time – a day out with you complete with lunch, a movie, and/or shopping for the gift of their choice.
Birthday Gifts for Teens
Teens are probably the most difficult age group to buy for. Gift certificates are always a smart gift choice, although the concept requires little creativity. Implement some innovation by creating a unique presentation to an old concept.
-Purchase a book of theater gift certificates and package them in a movie popcorn bucket lined with popcorn printed paper.
-Magazine subscriptions are also a winning idea for teens. Favorites for that age group include Teen, Seventeen, Cosmo Girl, Boys Life, YM, American Cheerleader, Guideposts for Teens, Teen People, and Campus Life.
-Teens love the gift of privileges. A coupon book that includes gifts they can cash in at random times may include an extended curfew, driving the family car on a date or special occasion, control of television or computer, double allowance for one week, etc.
-What teen does not like candy? Check out specialty shops or online resources where you can purchase candy-making supplies and chocolate.
-Present the gifts in a large mixing bowl tied up with cellophane.
Birthday Gifts for Adults
From a family tree planner to a family history wall print, a gift of genealogy is a great pick for assisting the recipient learn about his family heritage and get back to his roots.
-Create a scrapbook of special moments throughout the past year. Include photos from family events and keepsakes that are important to the event. Recapture these moments by journaling the story of the event and quotes from participants. Embellish the pages with stickers, captions, and other items that will enhance the memories for a long time to come.
-Choose a selection of classic books to either add to or start a collection. Several choices to get you started include The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Canterbury Tales, Wurthering Heights, Jane Eyre, The Scarlet Letter, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Great Expectations, Tom Sawyer, and The Catcher in the Rye.
-Purchase baskets from garage sales and gift shops and fill them with homemade or gourmet jars of pickles, jams, food mixes, and/or fruit.