Your birthday is just one day a year (though some folks want you to think it lasts for an entire month) but thoughtful birthday gifts stay with you for a lifetime because they are personal and emotional touchstones to one of the most important days in your life.
Birthdays are a time when people take stock of their lives — where they are and where they want to be — but also a time that represent the special times and people who’ve touched us along the way.
“Presents that really resonate with people, not only reinforce that person’s connection with the gift-giver, but create a special memory for the lucky birthday person that will live within their hearts forever,” says Dr. Gilda Carle, author of I’m Worth Living! Here’s Why.
A well-considered gift will move the receiver — not just for what it is — but the effort it took to recognize what would mean the most to the person it’s intended for.
“A birthday is a time when everyone wants to feel honored and appreciated for who they are,” Carle points out. “When it is obvious that gift was given to especially connect with the person who receives it, makes it a gesture that gives the present value that can’t be calculated.”
The inbox at 1-800-Flowers.com overflows with stories from customers who were happy to share their memories of birthday gifts that touched them in special ways that always bring them back to the special moment they were received.
Honk if you love birthdays
“The most special gift I ever received was when I turned 21 and my mom bought me my first (used) car and gave me a $1,000!” wrote a clearly still-appreciative Susan Bates.
“A 21st birthday is everyone’s gateway from childhood into the freedom of being an adult,” Carle points out. “When Susan’s mom gave her daughter the keys to that car, she was handing her a ride to the independence of being a grown-up, and the thousand bucks was a nice way to pay for the gas!
“It’s hard for a mom to let go of a child and let them navigate their way through life as an adult, and this was the perfect gift that showed Susan her mother was giving her blessing and support to make that adjustment all the easier.”
What’s received in childhood lasts into adulthood
“Childhood gifts often are the ones we remember the best,” Carle explains. “They represent a period in our lives when a special gesture by our parents could help us achieve our childhood goals.”
A very-adult Anita Duvall remembered that the most cherished birthday gift came when she was a very little girl. “Getting an Easy-Bake Oven was my best birthday gift ever,” she wrote.
“For a young child, an Easy-Bake Oven can represent the height of aspirational maturity. Emulating a mommy or any adult role model can be achieved by pretending to be a gown-up in the kitchen. It means you can embody who you want to be — even if you’re only six,” Carle says.
An equally grown up Monica Steele says her best gift was the bike she got when she was barely big enough to reach the pedals. “We drove past the bike shop every day and I had been wanting it for so long!” she recalled.
“A bike is an iconic right of passage for any child — boy or girl,” Carle says. “It represents the freedom to get out of the house and go play with your friends — even if they don’t live next door. It is another sign of independence and achievement for every young child.”
Presents that really raise the “ruff”
For some, the ultimate gifts are those that become your closest companions.
Amy Johnson shared that her happiest birthday came when she turned 12 and received a springer spaniel. “I’ll never forget seeing that box in the middle of the living room with a puppy inside!”
Virginia Evans said her best birthday present was the African parrot she received many years ago, and it’s the gift that keeps on giving! “On the 22nd of this month, he will have been in my life for 38 years,” she remarked. “The best present I could ever ask for!”
And for Carle, the gift of a pet may be the most thought birthday present of all.
“What could be more special than giving the gift of a cherished companion who will be with you for years?” she asks. “You’re actually presenting someone with a friend who they will have a personal relationship with that will stand the test of time — even after your pet is gone.
“They will be able to carry the cherished memory of a living friend who was with them through all their ups and downs and that is a gift that can’t be beat.”