The UK might not be perfect but one of the things I absolutely love about my little island of a country is that bridal showers and baby showers are not done, although they do appear to be on the up ( and on the up I mean like maybe I'll get invited to two in my lifetime now instead of one). In fact, gift-giving in the UK is just not really done or expected by anyone. It's the reason why in the UK people don't host things for you. You do it yourself. The whole concept of birthdays, gifts, 'guest of honour', parties etc... is just so unbelievably different to the concept of it in the US that it's almost like living on a different planet. The concept of birthdays here is just seen as so, well, unimportant. Wedding registries used to be uncommon but now they are used by I'd say 50% of British couples.
Over the age of about 12 over here, people don't really give or expect gifts for birthdays thats why when you become an adult, it's so ingrained that gifts are so unimportant and irrelevant and almost embarassing that things like showers or birthdays don't need to be hosted. In fact, for these reasons, they don't even want to be hosted! Any gifts received will of course be accepted graciously and with thanks but the general consensus is people just get together to have a good time. There's not even a general consensus that things are celebrated to 'toast to you' or that you're the 'centre of attention' or the 'guest of honour' unless it's your wedding day.
I'd probably say 90% of people's birthdays in the UK are celebrated like this: An email is sent round at about 10 minutes to 5pm to friends to coworkers saying "Hey just to let you know, we're off to the pub (we love the pub) after work for a couple of birthday beers and perhaps to watch the football, feel free to drop in and join us for a pint" either that or you just text a couple of friends who know its your birthday coming up saying "what you up to saturday? fancy going out for a meal or something and maybe a couple of drinks". And that's how birthday celebrations come about. People over here really use birthdays as an extra (additional) excuse to go out and get wasted, to joke around with friends, drown out their sorrows of their miserable jobs or to try and hook up with the hot blonde from the office. Buying the birthday girl/boy a pint of beer is probably as far as the gift giving goes unless it's like your best friend or S/O.
In the UK, I rarely hear people refer to their birthdays or any other events as 'parties' more as come out and let's 'par-tay'.
There's a lot I adore about America but I love our attitude towards gifts over here!