By Lorna Giles, 23rd February 2016

Lazy Late Birthday Presents

And why they Should Arrive ON the Day!

And why they Should Arrive ON the Day!

I am generally not an easy to irritate kind of person. I will admit to a strong loathing for whistling, people not holding doors open and aubergines. But other than that, I am easily pleased, a glass half full kind of lady. Except for one BIGGIE. And for me it is so huge because it screams RUDE, UN-THOUGHTFUL and LAZY ARSE like nothing else. And that is people who think it is OK to give late birthday presents.

It is not!

late birthday

The 8th December isn’t my birthday.
Nor is the 10th. And definitely not the sodding 25th! It’s the 7th. And last year I received not 1 but 3 presents more than a day late, and without a genuinely good reason. Look, I’m only human, if there’s a genuinely good reason that’s different and more than okay. But what I am discovering more and more with age and the question ‘Why the bloody hell do I bother to make the effort to pay for first class delivery on THEIR birthday?’ is that some people quite simply turn into sloths when it comes to getting a card or a gift to somebody for their big day. And I say this in regards to all our birthdays. Not just my own.

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So I think it’s time we put the celebration back into the day and stopped being so nonplussed. It’s time we started a Punctual Presents Mindfulness Revolution. It’s time we went the extra mile – yes, sometimes by being arsed to drive an actual mile or two down the road – to put a smile on somebody’s face and let them know they are cared about on their birthday. It’s time we stopped making them feel like an inconvenient afterthought that we couldn’t be bothered to get just a little bit ahead of ourselves and organised for…by friggin’ well reading our calendars and diaries!

Shall I give you a clue why?
The word birthday is actually composed of two words, two meanings brought together in one fell celebratory swoop. Birth and Day. Yet this laziness has been happening since time immeasurable – even Jesus had to wait! Oh yes, the lowly shepherds got there in time to pay their respects, but the not-so-wise men! Nope. When did the Three Kings turn up with gold, frankincense and myrrh? The 26th, the 27th or New Year’s Eve? No! A full 12 days later! Maybe they’d forgotten/were hungover/had too many other things to do/couldn’t be arsed to go to the post office/just thought it would be easier to combine the gift giving with a quick trip to the Inn out of season – after all, everything is busier at Christmas time. It’s not fair, they got their too late. Okay, so baby Jesus probably didn’t personally remember it, but Mary did. And so did Joseph. AND the donkey. It’s just rude.

And that ladies and gents is how birthdays get ruined.
There’s no rocket science here. It is just not the same to give a gift as an afterthought 24 hours after the event. Period! Of course it is OK to be early. It’s always OK to be early…


Yes, there are excusable exceptions.
Bedridden illness. Or being invited to a ‘birthday party’ which is not taking place on the actual day. And that’s about it. But for everyone else, what’s your excuse? I mean, if you can manage to send something 3 days late then why is it so difficult to get something to the recipient on the day? L.A.Z.Y. That’s all. Don’t tell me you are overworked. We all are. Don’t tell me the dog chewed up the card. Buy another and put it on a high shelf. Shop online and get a card on if you have to. Don’t tell me the post office queue was too long. Send one of those Ecards. It’s the thought that counts and one of those is, frankly, better than nothing at all. Don’t tell me you have no money. Make something!

A birthday comes but once a year.
And it is THE day to make someone feel truly loved and special. A random act of kindness like actually making the effort to get somebody their gift voucher on the day, or heck, even leaving a bunch of cheap petrol station flowers on their doorstep so they find them after work… even with the price left on. The ripples of said deeds reach out far into the ether. And they will come back to you tenfold. Which surely is as good a kick up the backside to stop procrastinating as any.  Your not-being-bothered-ness on the other hand can be smelled a mile off. You know, like when you figure you’ll give them the cheap bottle of plonk in person when you next meet up for a coffee… in like a month’s time. Even if they’ll be doing the same for your missed birthday and bringing you yet another bottle of Mateus Rose to add to the collection that you recycle because you don’t drink wine that’s under £15 a bottle. Even if this is a ridiculous gift shenanigan you have carried out between you for years and don’t dare upset the apple cart.

thank you card

Dare to do it, I say!

Take the higher road.
Take the Punctual Present Path less trodden. And in doing so you will actually be giving YOU the greatest gift of all. Seeing how your generosity, your love, and your reaching out lights up the face of another.

(Note from the Editor. Many thanks to Lorna Giles for being our latest House Guest. Ro read more about Lorna, check our her other blogs here.) 

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