And I don't know of anyone here who thinks its ok to send a gift up to a year after the event.
If you want to hear something even more scary, one of the more popular internet iterations of this is that the happy couple has a year to send thank you notes. I've seen this many times in several places.
My guess is that the "guests have up to a year to send gifts" possibly originated in the post-WW II years, when there were many young couples marrying along with housing shortages in a lot of areas. They might spend quite a few months living (not by choice) with parents, or in boardinghouses. So it might have made more sense, in many cases, to wait until they were settled in their own house/apartment before sending gifts. And yes, it's true that many HCs these days do "reverse" the rule, unfortunately.
The bringing-gifts-to-the-wedding is regional, I agree. In some places, it's considered the height of rudeness. But in others, it's considered practical. If the HC live in an apartment and work weekdays, it's next to impossible for the post-delivery-person to deliver parcels, unless they've been able to designate someone such as the superintendent to accept parcels. Really, even if they're in a townhouse/single home - if they're not there and if no neighbour is indicated, the parcel has to go back to the post office with a card left for the HC to pick it up. So, they could be making trips to the post office several times a week to pick up parcels during the weeks before and after the wedding. IME the HC makes arrangements with good friends/relatives who have vans and can transport the gifts after the reception. Naturally this is not a good idea if the HC's hometown is different from the one where the wedding is, but overall it works okay.
I think that the "send gifts to the bride's parents' home" likely originated during the era when it was uncommon for middle-to-upper-class women to work outside the home - therefore, the bride or her mother would likely be there during the day to accept deliveries.