April 15, 2016, by Charlie Porter

Finding the Perfect Birthday Present

Unless you’re some kind of birthday prodigy, getting presents  can be one of life’s most challenging tasks. Throughout the year you’ll be browsing through shops and high-streets and accidentally stumble across the perfect gift for so-and-so or something that what’s-his-face would absolutely love… but when it’s actually the week before their birthday your mind draws a blank and you suddenly can’t remember what colour hair they have, let alone what they’d want for their birthday.

In the last few weeks I’ve had the biggest outbreak of birthdays but during that time I think I’ve managed to master the art of present-buying…. or at least made a mental note of what I need to do next time!


  1. Take notice of what people say they want. Way before her birthday, my friend kept banging on and on about getting this new solar-light-in-a-jar lamp she’d seen on Pinterest. Instead of just buying her a new bulb for her room, I made a note on my phone. A few months down the line when somebody instigated what-on-earth-do-we-get-for-her-birthday Whatsapp group, I had the answer tucked away in my notes section. Taking notice of what people are saying actually pays off sometimes: you’ll have both a present and the gesture that you were actually listening to them to wrap up for their birthday.


  2. Activities. This is by far my favourite choice of present (to both give and receive!). Tangible presents are great, don’t get me wrong; I love getting clothes or
    jewellery or animals (bit generous). However, I think the best kind of presents are the one where you’re doing something. A trip to Cornwall; a voucher for Go-Karting; a ticket to your favourite gig. The build up to the event drags out the excitement and you’ll obviously have a really great time… and we all know you can’t put a price on fun.
  3. The ‘letter’ presents. I tried to come up with a good pun for this present idea but they were all quite painful. It’s pretty simple –Tracy’s birthday is next week and you’re not really sure what to
    get her. She’s not that fussy and you can’t really think of anything in particular that she wants. So here’s what you do – get a really cute basket or hamper and fill it with lots of things beginning with the letter ‘T’ (for Tracy… obviously). Terry’s Chocolate Orange. Twister. Tango. A teddy bear. Tomatoes. A turtle. A tequila shot. Be as imaginative as you want.


                Peter got lucky this year…

  4. An inside joke. These are also absolute winners. You and your housemates are bound to have hundreds of jokes that only you guys know about. Is one of them always late? Buy them a clock. Is one of them going bald? Get him a tangle teaser. What about that time the bouncer took your friends hip flask off them at crisis? Well, lucky they’re getting another one for their next birthday present!

    5. Something old, something borrowed, something personalised.
    There are those people who are genuinely impossible to buy presents for. They don’t seem to have any particular interests like music or sports so it’s not like you can buy them a CD or a football. However you can never go wrong with a personalised item. It could be anything: a mug, a t-shirt, a shower curtain… just stick a picture on that bad boy and it’ll sell itself!



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