I've always had mixed emotions about milestone birthday presents. Yay, hurrah for turning eighteen, twenty-one or even fifty. But for me, the presents are an iffy subject. I, nor my sister, have never really been one for "keepsakes". Personally I think it's because I like to keep my space as minimal as possible - even though in actual fact it's already far too messy. And, I'll be honest, I'm far too anal to trust someone picking out an object that I will potentially keep on show perhaps forever more. What if it's really hideous and you feel obliged to keep it out in the open for everyone to see? I guess it's just you'll always have that hanging guilt if you were to ever rid yourself of it.
I'm not saying I don't like well thought out keepsakes however, because I think they are such nostalgic ways to remember milestone points in your lives. For my sister's 21st back in April, I spent ages trying to think of the perfect little gift alongside many other general ones and I found this gorgeous Vera Wang compact mirror which was stored in a beautiful white leather envelope pouch. She, hopefully, really liked the gift and I think that will be a lovely way for her to remember her day.
With all this in mind, I actually had quite an interesting talk with one customer regarding her gift choice for her daughter's upcoming 21st. I'm more than used to customers walking in and trying to find a gift idea for a family member, friend and so on. So this woman wanted two perfumes for her daughter which were both fairly inexpensive so she could buy her this other beloved present her daughter was dreaming of. That sounds pretty reasonable, right? Maybe think again.
The "dream" gift was a pair of Hunter wellies for Reading festival. For her 21st. Clearly I've watched far too many American movies which idealise birthdays, gifts and the importance of turning 21. So in a year's time, or even fifty years time, when this girl has sprayed herself dry of her perfume and the wellies are caked in mud, or maybe even ruined, how exactly is this she going to remember her 21st? I'm not opposed to Hunter wellingtons being purchased as a gift idea, because I get that they are an expensive everyday purchase to make. It just seems like such a peculiar present idea for a 21st.
I'm all for buying what the birthday girl/boy wants, but sometimes you've just got to take the reigns. My sister didn't ask for her mirror, just as I didn't ask for a watch for my 18th, but in hindsight I am so glad my parents bought it for me because I will always link it back to my birthday and even to the exact moment when I burst out into tears of happiness. The unexpected gifts you never specifically asked for, but now couldn't live without, are the priceless ones that create memories that will last a lifetime. I'll admit it, finally, at the grand old age of 19 that perhaps mother does always know best - well when it comes to certain things anyway.