Harry’s had a mixed bag when it comes to gifts over the years: he swiftly went from having ‘never received a birthday card in his life’ to Firebolts and Invisibility Cloaks for Christmas. As for his birthday, what will ever be a better gift than learning that you're a wizard? Apart from a squashed cake from Hagrid, obviously.
So, as friends and admirers of the middle-aged Boy Who Lived, what can we offer him as a token of our esteem on this day of days? There must be something.
While he generally doesn’t like to talk about it, Harry was left a sizable stash of gold by his parents after they died. In fact, the Potters were always a well-off family. His distant ancestor Linfred of Stinchcombe made a tidy sum as a gifted medicinal potioneer, and canny 20th-century businessman Fleamont Potter reputedly quadrupled the family coffers, largely thanks to his invention of Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion.
So, getting Harry some sort of gift token would probably be redundant. Not to mention the fact Harry owns a central London property at 12 Grimmauld Place, inherited from Sirius Black. Townhouses within walking distance of the Tube are worth a few bob nowadays, even if you do have to deal with the screaming portrait of Sirius’s mother.
Basically, if he wants to go shopping, he’ll manage just fine without your little voucher, thanks.
Picking out appropriate garments for another person is hard enough. Especially when they have little in the way of discernible fashion taste. All we’re saying is, you’re not going to impress someone who owns a cloak that can make you invisible. Or, indeed, a Weasley jumper.
Nope. Somehow, we imagine he’ll stick to zooming around on whatever version of the Firebolt is out these days, if it’s all the same to you.
Scour all the bookshops you want, nothing you can find will be as useful as Harry’s copy of Practical Defensive Magic and Its Use Against the Dark Arts. Or as hilariously titillating as his old copy of Twelve Fail-Safe Ways to Charm Witches, bought by Ron for Harry’s birthday (wow!) 20 years ago today. Ron’s appraisal of the book – ‘It’s not all about wandwork’ – is as true today as it was then.
On the one hand Harry cultivates a messy look, with his unruly hair almost a badge of honour and a trademark. But he’s also meticulously clean-shaven. This must be due to his trusty enchanted razor, gifted to him by Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour (whose father promised Harry it would give him ‘ze smoothest shave you will ever ‘ave’). Enchanted replacement blades might be an idea, but we imagine, if Muggle razor prices are any guide, they’d set you back a few Galleons.
Somehow, we imagine the presence of the famous Triwizard champion and triumphant Gryffindor Quidditch captain might put the players off a bit. Just a thought.
Come now, we all know magic and electronics don’t mix. We’d like to think Harry kept hold of the shard of two-way mirror given to him years ago by Sirius – a far more elegant way of staying in touch with people. As long as those people are standing at precisely the right spot in Aberforth Dumbledore’s pub, where the other mirror likely still hangs.
So, what’s left that’s affordable, appropriate, personal and useful to a middle-aged man? Maybe take a leaf out of Dobby’s book: socks.