Re: Discrepency in Hobbit Birthday Customs
Letter 214; Letters of Tolkien
Receiving of gifts: this was an ancient ritual connected with kinship. It was in origin a recognition of the byrding's membership of a family or clan, and a commemoration of his formal 'incorporation'. No present was given by father or mother to their children on their (the children's) birthdays (except in the rare cases of adoption); but the reputed head of the family was supposed to give something, if only in 'token'.
Giving gifts: was a personal matter, not limited to kinship. It was a form of 'thanksgiving', and taken as a recognition of services, benefits, and friendship shown, especially in the past year.
A trace of this can be seen in the account of Sméagol and Déagol – modified by the individual characters of these rather miserable specimens. Déagol, evidently a relative (as no doubt all the members of the small community were), had already given his customary present to Sméagol, although they probably set out on their expedition v. early in the morning. Being a mean little soul he grudged it. Sméagol, being meaner and greedier, tried to use the 'birthday' as an excuse for an act of tyranny Because I wants it' was his frank statement of his chief claim. But he also implied that D's gift was a poor and insufficient token: hence D's retort that on the contrary it was more than he could afford.
Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form-Vladimir Nabokov
Do not read as children do to enjoy themselves, or, as the ambitious do to educate themselves. No, read to live. -Gustave Flaubert
We are not provided with wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can take for us, an effort which no one can spare us.-Marcel Proust