Monday, March 07, 2011

Ill-Timed Birthday Gift

Dear Grace,
I have a wonderful, thoughtful, generous friend. We have been friends for almost ten years, and we are friends on Facebook. This friend sent me a gift, wrapped in happy birthday paper, with a note saying "happy birthday," but, as my Facebook friend and accountant, she has access to all sorts of documentation that we share the same zodiac symbol, in the balmy days of summer. As we are shivering our way through the last days of winter, I must write her a thank you note for the thoughtful gift postmarked in the shortest month of the year. How does one politely thank someone who gave a gift intended for your birthday that was either given six months too early or six months too late?

With many thanks,

Dear Gemini,

I had to pause for a giggle before responding; this is really quite amusing!

But, as to your question: a present is a present is a present. Whether she is early or late, she still did something really nice for you. I am, of course, assuming she got you an actual gift, not one of those insults in a box (wrinkle cream, vouchers to the gym, calorie counter, self-help book on how to find an appropriate mate in 3 simple steps). Based on your note, that does not seem to be the case, so......You will write the note as you would any other thank you--but de-emphasize the bday element:

Dear Wanda,
You were so sweet to think of me. I just love the scented candle and bubble bath--the lemon grass aroma is intoxicating and I am really enjoying the indulgence of long, leisurely bubble baths in candlelit bliss, courtesy of you.

Thank you for your very thoughtful and generous gift. Please forgive me if this is watermarked; I've been spending a lot of time in the tub lately.

If she does clue in next July and express embarrassment, simply say, "you got me a half-birthday gift--which was a wonderful surprise. It extended my celebration." and laugh it off good naturedly. If she never mentions it, you do the same.

As always, keep up the good Grace and thanks for writing,

Here's another chuckle worthy take on birthdays:

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