Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How Long?

Each year there is commentary on social mores in regards to how early and late certain activities can be undertaken
• How early is too early for stores to be promoting Christmas (David Jones won the race this year with their decorations available for sale from the beginning of September
• How long after Christmas is it ok for a household to leave their decorations up (I think they should come down the same calendar year they go up)
• How long after New year is it still appropriate to wish someone “Happy New Year”. (the first time you see someone in the year – throughout the month of January)
• How many weeks before Easter hot cross buns be on sale, and when should they be eaten (religious zealots will say hot cross buns should only be eaten on Easter Sunday, but they are delicious and should be on sale all year round and consumer as frequently as toast!)
• How long after someone’s birthday is it still appropriate to wish someone a belated “Happy Birthday” (it depends on who is doing the wishing and how good their gift is)

I received a belated “Happy Birthday”, 101 days after my birthday! It was from one of my nearest and dearest friends who shower me with many birthday greetings on the actual day – sans gift.

The person in question has told me numerous times that the delay was due to the ongoing search for the perfect gift. Am I that hard to buy for? My family have been purchasing gifts for me for nearly four decades. Admittedly my parents are notoriously bad gift givers. Their focus is on spending the same amount – to the cent – on each of their children rather than the quality or suitability of a gift for the intended recipient.

For years after moving out of home I would still search for gifts prior to the intended day for unwrapping. My parents are equally bad at hiding gifts as they are buying them so the search never took long. My favourite was the year they hid our Easter eggs in the fridge! The searching, and discover gave me the opportunity to practice and perfect my pleasantly surprised expressions.

My parents know they are bad gift givers. Last Christmas as I was given a gift to unwrap, Mum turned to Dad and said “this will be interesting.” This was an admission, a declaration that the gift was unsuitable. The gift was in the bin before their car had left the carport at the end of their visit.

It turns out that the delayed gift was well worth waiting for. I have been renovating my apartments for even longer than the belated birthday wishes and the gift was a decorative piece that matches perfectly both the colourings and style of what I am creating.

It did also provide an excuse for a good dinner. Before I get beaten to death by rolling pin-wielding celebrity chef I know that we should not need an excuse for a good meal. It should be the expectation.

The question is, is this still a birthday gift and if so, for which birthday is it connected? The one past making it a “birthday reprise” or is it a rehearsal for my pending celebrations. The Price Is Right always went with the rule the closest without going over. Or is it just a gift, mid year, from a friend?

Never look a gift friend in the mouth. Never did understand this saying, even when it was about horses. Why would anyone want to look inside a horse’s mouth? If someone is giving you a gift, pay attention to the gift, remember to read the card, and tell them how much you appreciate the thought – regardless of whether it is the perfect gift from a friend or one that will be interesting from my parents.

If it is past your birthday, even 101 days, the perfect gift is always on time.

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