This thread is fascinating! I'm "guilty" of hosting my own birthday parties, although I don't do it every year. I've only hosted 2, I believe, since I moved out of my mother's house about 6 years ago, one for my 21st birthday. My friends usually ask what I want to do, and sometimes we just go out for drinks, and now and then I'm in the mood for a party. I very rarely get gifts (don't read that as "I don't expect gifts," read that as "I don't expect, and I don't receive, gifts." Someone, a guest of my roommate, brought me a bottle of nice vodka for my 21st birthday, and it was definitely appreciated, but unexpected). Even if my friends suggested throwing me a party, I would probably suggest moving it to my apartment, because my apartment is huge, and most of my friends have studios or small 1 bedrooms. My birthday is a week before Christmas, so my parties usually do double duty, anyway. In fact, there have been a few occasions when someone has said something like "Oh, RainhaDoTexugo, this Christmas party is great!" and someone else (not me) pipes up to remind them them that it's actually a birthday party. I've gotten it my whole life, so I just find it funny, and hope the person isn't embarrassed.
I also take them out or invite them over or somehow do something special for their birthdays, according to their wishes. I never expect them to pay for me on my birthday, and often even if we go out, I end up paying for them, or at least part of their tab. In our small group we've never sat down with the calculator to figure out exactly who owes what on the bill, and we all feel that it evens out in the end. The only time we get annoyed is if someone doesn't have the money every time, but somehow always still agrees to join us (we've pretty effectively culled these people from our social circle). I never, unless I'm down to my last penny, allow someone to pay their own tab on their birthday, either. I would probably host more birthday parties for my friends, if they didn't already have firm ideas on what they wanted. I'm also social coordinator for my immediate family. I'm the one who initiates plans and calls everyone to organize dinners for Mother's Day, birthdays, Easter, and any other events we celebrate together. I never show up on a birthday without a gift (and my friends never expect one of me, either), unless, as I said, I'm down to my last penny. It's understood among my friends that we're all broke (all early to mid-twenties, in school or recent graduates, or similar situations).
So, given that I do host, or at least initiate planning of, birthday celebrations (they're rarely formal parties) for my friends, according to what they want to do (nobody passes a birthday while living in my apartment without at least a small cake and a nice dinner, even if they don't want any further celebration, even if it means a special trip to the store after an exhausting day), and I always coordinate my mom, brother, and SIL (not an easy task!) for family events to make sure nobody's special day is forgotten, considering that my friends and I simply don't exchange gifts, so greed isn't an issue, and considering that I always treat my friends on their special occasions and never expect to be treated for my birthday, and given that I don't often actually throw myself real parties, but usually just go out with a few close friends for drinks or spend a nice evening with my BF, and finally, considering that my parties are not focused on me enough for people to actually forget that we're celebrating my birthday, and not Christmas, am I still being rude by hosting my own birthday parties?
And yes, I know that last paragraph was just one insufferably long sentence. I'm sorry...
Oh, and is there anymore room in the pathetic people corner? I'd like to join the club. Maybe next year we can all throw each other virtual birthday parties