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Birthdays not recognised

(54 Posts)
Nannyto2 Thu 21-Sep-17 13:11:32

Since my father passed away and my mother has gone into a care home, I have been spending more time with my sister (mostly on a need to basis as we needed to clear their council bungalow)
While busy we would reminisce about the old days, and one day she suddenly asked if I ever remember getting birthday presents or even being made a fuss of by them, this is something I had never given a minutes thought to, until now.
I got married the day after my 21st birthday, I've often told people that my special birthday was overlooked due to the wedding taking preference, but was it just ignored like all the others.
I suspect they really couldn't afford gifts, they both worked but I remember things being tough, although we always had great Christmas presents and holidays.
Anyone else had experience of this?

vampirequeen Thu 21-Sep-17 15:44:20

I had birthdays and Christmas but DH's birthday was ignored because it was on Christmas Day.

Coolgran65 Thu 21-Sep-17 19:24:30

I can't recall a childhood birthday present or celebration.
I do remember getting a new school blazer one Christmas !!

fiorentina51 Thu 21-Sep-17 22:07:01

Never had a birthday party and I can't remember having a card, though that might be my memory playing tricks. I can remember some excitement and looking forward to the great day so I must have had something. The only present I can remember is a camera for my 12th birthday. Didn't feel particularly hard done by as all my friends were in the same boat.

Humbertbear Fri 22-Sep-17 02:09:36

There wasn't a lot of extra money. Birthday presents were often what we needed. I remember being a given a wooden pencil box for my 7th birthday . It had a sliding lid and the top layer pivoted out. I was delighted with it. Very little fuss was made but we felt loved and were happy. My GD just got an iPad for her 6th birthday and had two parties - one for family and one for friends. How times change but I am pleased that they are not poor as we were.

Grandma2213 Fri 22-Sep-17 03:27:59

You are right Humbertbear children have so much these days. I don't ever remember being loved but I did wake up on birthdays and Christmas being excited thinking it was going to be different. My main aim was not to cry on my birthday. I used to believe if I didn't cry on my birthday I would not cry all year. I don't remember ever achieving this as I was always shouted at for something.

I must have got some presents and once got a walkie talkie doll (remember them?) called Janet which I loved. I don't remember anything else except suspenders and stockings from my Auntie who was staying with us at the time when I was 16. They seemed to last for ever as I never actually went anywhere wearing them! I don't ever remember getting cards.

For Christmas we always had an orange, a threepenny bit, crayons and a colouring book, socks, knickers and some sweets in our stocking. There were also other presents later which were usually clothes, a book and a toy though I don't remember them. We always had enough to eat on Christmas day which was a novelty and had a silver sixpence and other silver? gifts in the pudding though we never kept them and they were used every year.

The best bit was when we heard Santa shouting down the chimney on Christmas Eve when we sent our letters up in the flames of the fire (I don't remember getting what we asked for but were often threatened with ashes in our stockings). I guess my dad was upstairs as the bedrooms had fireplaces and chimneys in those days. Or maybe it really was Santa!!

Macgran43 Sat 23-Sep-17 13:06:55

Remember having a party for my post -war 5th birthday. Every little guest brought the same present for me. Aprons!!
perhaps that's why I seldom wear an apron now.

Still have my 21st cards so obviously cards were around then.

HillyN Sat 23-Sep-17 18:23:45

I always had a lovely birthday (Nov), with a proper party at home for my friends on the nearest Saturday. Food figures high in my birthday memories; I got to choose what we had for dinner on my birthday and I always chose stew and dumplings with chocolate sponge with chocolate custard for dessert. Party food had to include cheese and pineapple/sausages on sticks, chocolate fingers, marshmallow teacakes and a pink blancmange rabbit on green jelly grass. I know now that my birthday presents were very often 'pre-loved' but I couldn't have cared less. My parents weren't well off but they made me feel 'special' on my birthday and the same for my sister.

grannyactivist Sat 23-Sep-17 19:02:00

For her 13th birthday my older sister was made a big fuss of and she got a 'vanity case' of the sort that airline stewardesses carried. They were all the rage and I was pleased for her and managed to keep my envy at bay. Not so much two years later when my mother actually forgot my 13th birthday! Seeing that I was upset she proffered the money for me to go and get myself a card and was furious with me when I threw the money across the room. (I very rarely 'answered back' so my mum was shocked and I suspect she was so angry with me because she felt a bit guilty - it's more than 50 years ago and it still hurts to think about that day.) I never had a birthday cake or party as a child and so made a point to ensure that my children always did.

fiorentina51 Sat 23-Sep-17 19:16:32

Same here, Grannyactivist. The whole making a fuss on your birthday was not something my parents understood. It wasn't part of their upbringing and they certainly didn't do it on purpose. They were very kind and loving people. I never felt unloved.
My own children always had a party and cake, plus games for all their guests.
I miss those days now.

cornergran Sat 23-Sep-17 21:52:58

My birthday was acknowledged but without fuss. A gift, a card but money was tight and so minimal budget. It was fine, my friends were all the same, just how it was. I was lucky I guess, I knew my parents loved me.

sunseeker Sun 24-Sep-17 09:44:07

I never had a birthday party and always felt second best to my brother. One Christmas when I was around 13/14 my brother had a bike (his third). I had been asking for a bike for a couple of years - that year I got a home perm kit! As an adult I did talk to my mother and said I felt they favoured my brother, she thought for a minute and then said that yes they probably did but that was because he was a boy and would carry on the family name!!

Jaycee5 Sun 24-Sep-17 09:46:36

I really only remember being told off on my birthday. One year my sister told me that she hadn't bought me a present because it was her friend's birthday the next week and she couldn't afford one for both of us and my father then told me off for not being happy on my birthday.
I remember one year he said 'many happy returns' which just sounded odd to me as a very young child who just expected 'happy birthday' and I was then told off for not saying 'thank you' when I was still trying to work out what he was on about.
Birthdays and New Year's Eve are not really days I particularly like as there is an expectation that is never realised although this year was my 65th so I treated myself to a few presents but my neighbour had kept me awake the previous night so I did not feel like doing much.

boggles Sun 24-Sep-17 09:46:48

Grandma2213 - Of course it really was Santa !!!

Purpledaffodil Sun 24-Sep-17 10:03:05

Birthdays were special, but never had a party, just friends for tea because DM thought expectations would be too high if it were called a party. My own children's birthdays were celebrated with presents and parties within our budget.
I did notice in my last few years of teaching that birthday celebrations had become very over the top. Meals out, weekends away and parties as well seemed to be the norm with some families. ?

nipsmum Sun 24-Sep-17 10:40:18

I had a birthday party when I was 5. The war had just ended. I had dumpling instead of cake and I always remember one of my presents was 6 fresh eggs because my friends mum kept chickens. My mum was delighted.

harrigran Sun 24-Sep-17 10:44:32

I don't remember receiving much in the way of birthday presents. I remember getting a small framed photograph of the Queen in coronation year and a pair of ankle socks from an aunt. I was going to school camp and would be away for my twelfth birthday, mother gave me a small box of chocolates to put in my bag. I didn't tell anyone it was my birthday and I did not receive any cards.
The first person to make a fuss of me on my birthday was DH, he bought me a necklace for my eighteenth.

VIOLETTE Sun 24-Sep-17 11:09:15

No ..never had anything made of a birthday ! no cards ...but don't think any of my friends had any either ...except one 'rich' freind who always had a tea party and a nice new dress.....I do remember once writing (yes, writing) to my mother to ask if I could have some friends to tea on my 15th birthday .....she said yes but I woukd have to make some rock cakes (which I did cos I loved those !) and not to use too much gas or leave the oven on ! Christmas was always a good day and there was always a 'Christmas dinner' chicken, not turkey, a pudding with custard and crackers (my dad bought those !) my dad always bought my brother and I a present (although I suppose at a young age we thought it was from Santa !) ...a book or a doll, both of which were cherished ..and a toy car or engine for my brother ! We did not expect anything else ! Birthdays it was just a wish .... except on my 21st I did get a petticoat (who wears those now ?) which came from the lingerie factory our neighbour worked at .,but it was lovely and such surprise ! When I got married my mother gave me £25 that she had saved up ....a lot of money for her so I guess she had gone without to save it ! There was never any affection around, but we were used to that ....when she died, my dad informed me that #your mother never wanted you, you know'! ///gee, thanks dad !!!! By that time (I was 23) I had worked that one out ! on the other hand, my own daughter was probably spoiled with most things she wanted, money for a car, Universit y, her rent she has not spoken to me for 10 years ..... hey ho ! c'est la vie ! as long as she is ok !

inishowen Sun 24-Sep-17 11:57:50

My birthday is in July so my mum would order a crate of orange juice from the milkman, bake a few goodies, and invite the local children into the garden for a party. I think I would have got a small gift, and some nice things at Christmas too. I missed out on 18th and 21st celebrations though. Nothing special on those occasions.

grandtanteJE65 Sun 24-Sep-17 12:19:02

We always had super birthdays and Christmases, but my parents saved on holidays. My mother later said we went away every other year, but neither my sister or I remembered it like that. Every three years, judging by the holidays we do remember.

Day trips and other outings usually involved going to the beach or on a country ramble, nowhere where it was necessary to pay an entrance fee. Ice cream was a very limited commodity too, as were sweets and I can only remember three occasions were we were taken to the cinema.

We never minded, perhaps because my mother explained that all these things cost money, which they could not afford, as they wanted us to have good food every day and good schooling, plus new clothes and shoes when necessary

winifred01 Sun 24-Sep-17 14:25:59

Got married from my parents home, we paid for the reception said they would buy us a wedding present when we were settled in our new home- that was 58 years ago!!

Marieeliz Sun 24-Sep-17 15:16:14

Reading all these posts just shows how hard things were. I was also 5 in 1945 no extra food, sugar or cakes, never seen ice cream. We were happy though and cared for.

Just imagine our own parents lives they certainly got even less than us. Yes, modern children don't know they are born.

AlgeswifeVal Sun 24-Sep-17 18:33:32

My memories are of having a doll named Rosebud when about 8 years old. I remember having a radio for my 21st. I recall we always had an orange in the bottom of our Christmas stockings. So, guess there was other presents memory of them though has gone.

Teddy123 Sun 24-Sep-17 19:21:13

I didn't have birthday party or cards. Strangely my elder sister and I would make a card for my mum's birthday, in fact do anything to make her happy!

Christmas presents were a rarity so much so that I can remember the 3 presents we jointly received throughout our childhood. A John Bull printing set, a film star annual and another book about 'Heroines'. These books were read dozens of times! Always a Christmas stocking though with an orange, a few nuts and sweets.

I can't understand why I was always so excited about Christmas, but I was! It certainly wasn't because I was expecting fabulous gifts.

This is probably why I was, and still am, very generous with my own children. I loved doing their birthday parties and giving them far more presents than anyone could need.

I've never thought I was deprived yet it was a rather unhappy childhood. Might have helped if my Dad had held down a job! But from this weird upbringing we turned out to be caring daughters, always there for them and both successful academically. Hey Ho ...... You can't choose your parents.

Grandmama Sun 24-Sep-17 21:00:04

How sad some of these posts have made me. I always had birthday and Christmas presents - not a huge number, no stocking fillers (I hadn't heard of stocking fillers until DH went on about them when we were making up presents for DDs - I thought they were a waste of money). I had birthday parties as well and went to other children's parties. I still have my 'walkie talkie' doll and a set of 6 reference books granddad bought for me and he inscribed each one, 9th birthday I think.