Anna: Hi Philip. How’s it going?
Philip: Not bad. Listen, are you free on Saturday?
Anna: Sure. Why?
Philip: It’s my birthday on Thursday, but most people are working that day, so I want to have a little get-together on Saturday.
Anna: Sounds good. What do you have planned?
Philip: A bit of dinner, then a bar, and maybe a club.
Anna: A club? My god. I haven’t been to a club for a long time. And my dancing is terrible.
Philip: Good, because so is mine. Anyway, everyone is meeting at The Italian Horse restaurant at 7.
Anna: I’ll be there.
Dave: Happy birthday Philip.
Philip: Thank you, although it was on Thursday.
Dave: Oh. Well, happy birthday for Thursday. I bought you a little something.
Philip: A present? That’s very good of you. Shall I open it now?
Dave: Of course.
Philip: (opens present) Oh god, you got me a T-shirt with my picture on it.
Dave: Yes. And I want you to wear it tonight because you’re the birthday boy.
Philip: Well, umm, thank you. Anyway, have a seat anywhere you like. The others will be here soon.
Last week I went to a birthday party for my friend Philip. He turned 43. There were a lot of guests (25, I think, in total) and everyone had a good time.
Philip got quite a few presents. Anna gave him a DVD boxset because he likes movies. Samantha got him a book about art. I got him a T-shirt with his picture on it because I thought it was funny. Philip did not agree that it was funny.
My birthday is the next one. Usually I don’t do anything for it, but this year I think I will have a dinner party. I find dinner parties more relaxed than big parties (unless I don’t know anyone; if I don’t know anyone dinner parties make me feel awkward). Having a few friends over for dinner and drinks is a pleasant way to pass an evening.
There are lots of different types of parties and lots of different traditions. Here are a few examples.
On someone’s birthday it is traditional to give the person a present. People eat a birthday cake, and all the guests sing ‘Happy Birthday’.
December 25th is Christmas Day. It is also traditional to give presents at Christmas. People decorate their house with a tree and tinsel. Presents are put in a big sock – called a stocking – and under the tree. It is also tradition, in a lot of places, to put an orange in the stocking.
A housewarming party is a party somebody gives when they have a new house. These parties can be quite small, or loud and crazy. Some people like to bring small gifts for the new house, such as a plant.
Weddings can be very big parties, and in western countries they usually happen in two different parts. The first part is formal, in which the woman (the bride) and man (the groom) get married. This is called the ceremony. The second part is the reception, which is more like a party. There is often dinner, dancing, and drinking. It is traditional at a wedding to wear formal clothes, and to buy a gift. Often the bride and groom will tell people what sort of present they would like by making a ‘wedding list’.