For any person who values the unconventional and intriguing, or the unique and wonderful, unusual birthday gifts are perfect. What exactly qualifies as ‘unusual’ is a subjective matter, with it depending mostly on a person’s individual tastes, but whether it is an old-world map, a calligraphy quill or a writing set, an usual present denotes an individualism that should match the personality of the birthday boy or girl themselves.
Of course, the trick is to know the interests of the recipient in the first place, something which can be far more difficult than expected. For most of us, our greatest fear when buying a gift is that the person receiving it will frown. They frown for one of three reasons – they don’t want it, they don’t need it, or they don’t know what to do with it. It’s not like a joke gift that can be put aside and chuckled over, like giving a wrapped tin of peas to someone who hates peas. An unusual item in wrapping paper is genuine but unexpected.
There are two such gifts that are worth considering. The first is a brass compass, the type that looks like it’s just fallen out of a pirate’s pocket and, understandably, interests everyone. Not many people receive a compass as a gift but it is always an item of intrigue. It doesn’t matter if the recipient has no nautical or wilderness experience, it is a matter of what a compass represents.
The second gift is wax seals, such as those seen on old parchments and sealed letters. Of the two this may seem the most unusual for a birthday gift, but if the birthday girl has a creative side then it will go down very well. Perhaps she is an artist, or designer, or perhaps she just enjoys doing something slightly differently. Or perhaps, she has never really made use of that creative streak before. Well, by giving something different but as simple as using melted coloured wax, an interest in using that creativity could be sparked.
Wax is also worth giving to those already familiar with preparing and organising special events. Whether it is to seal that perfectly written letter in your best attempt yet at calligraphy, or to close a parchment inviting the nearest and dearest to celebrate a special occasion, wax seals add much more authenticity to a themed document. Red is the stereotypical colour to use, as mimicking those old royal seals of Medieval times is the most common reason for using them. But colours as varied as gold, pearl, bronze, silver and purple are also available.
A compass, meanwhile, suggests travel, a voyage or a move to farther (and possibly greener) fields. It is a tool and, as such, will always have a use – it’s just a question of whether or not the recipient will actually use it. In that way, a compass is encouraging. A brass compass might cost a little extra but antique means it is more valuable in a historical sense. That will appeal to gentlemen, particularly of a more discerning type.
Compasses are not always presented for sale with a cord tied through it to hang around the neck. Usually available in brass or bronze, most are presented in a gift box thereby showing its status to be higher than that of a mere tool. There are also compasses that are available in velveteen bags in a variety of colours, and even some that are fixed to the top of card boxes, providing an intriguing extra to an otherwise unexciting item. Of course, these are not for a sailor or hiker, as often they are for show rather than practical use.
Unusual birthday gifts are more than just gifts. They can make a real difference to the life of the recipient. A compass can expand a home-bird’s horizon’s and provide the inspiration to travel, while wax seals can bring the creative streak out of the quiet and be the impetus behind a creative sort’s newest project. In truth, any strange gift has the potential to change someone’s life, though you still need to consider the person’s interests first.