Birthdays for my friends and I used to come with mandatory elaborate parties complete with food, games, a birthday cake (which was a MUST, since some of the cream on it must end up on someone's face), presents and - sometimes - a trick or two. At times, the elaborate parties were even extended to become slumber parties, without (or with very little of) slumber. In our Fifth Form, each one of us got a cool (some of you may term it 'nasty') trick from the rest.
My absolute favourite is the one where we hid in the birthday girl's room, close to midnight, on the eve of the birthday, and scared the wits out of her (who was coincidentally drowsy with want of sleep at the time). One of the conspirators, the birthday girl's cousin, woke her from her sleep and led her out of the room on the pretext that she was wanted for something. While she was out of the room, we slipped in quietly, found a dark corner / hidden spot each, and crouched down. And Kate (she often comments on this blog, if you don't know it yet) wore a set of false Dracula fangs, and stood behind the door. So there we were - all set, waiting for the poor birthday girl to re-enter her room. Once she did, we all sprang from our hiding places, growling loudly, while Kate stood still, shining a torch upwards to her face, showing the fangs and all. Boy, the effect was superb! The birthday girl jumped and screamed - and I bet her heart must've skipped a few beats too! But of course she calmed down pretty well after that and was thoroughly happy when we gave her her present: The X-Files Soundtrack CD (original one, not pirated!)
Those were the good ol' days. We have them no longer. For some years now, a few SMS greetings, or some e-cards would usually suffice to remind us of our age. Presents from loved ones are extras (thanks, bestfriend!). I'll write about how birthdays are celebrated during my college years some other time.
To conclude, many happy returns to me. :)