#Minimalism – a different approach to birthdays

It’s my birthday in a couple of months, and for a while I’ve been thinking that I would like to ask people not to give me presents this year. The main reason for this is the decluttering I’ve been going through this year, as well as the more minimalist approach I’m trying to adopt. One of the things I’ve noticed as I’ve been decluttering, is how many things I don’t want now, that seemed so vital to me in the past. Books that I was desperate to read, and bought rather than borrowing from the library. CDs that I requested every birthday and Christmas in my younger days, but which are now completely superseded by YouTube. Patterns, material and wool that I was convinced I’d make into wardrobe staples, but which never got used and which I don’t even think would suit me anymore. I appreciate that an item is only worth what something will pay for it, but still, it hurts a bit to remember that I bought something for £30 and to see it sell for £0.99 on eBay.

Knowing that I’m still consciously trying to reduce the number of items I own, and knowing that the things which people choose for me often don’t make the cut, I thought it would be more sensible all round to get people not to buy presents this year. Within my family, we usually go out for a family dinner at a restaurant, so people can feel like they are putting the present money towards that. With my in-laws, we don’t always go out for a meal, so I’m not sure whether it’ll be so easy to persuade them. They tend to have quite a strict view about giving an exact monetary amount in presents to each person. For example, in the past they have given me a larger present and then something random, costing a couple of pounds “to make up the value”. In addition, they tend to ask what I would like, and then get me something different because they don’t think what I want is valuable enough.

On the one hand, I’m confident that it makes sense not to have presents. On the other hand, I’m already starting to feel a bit stressed about how people will react, and how I’ll react if people ignore my request and buy me presents anyway. But of course, getting rid of this kind of negative thought about things which might never happen is also a part of minimalism and decluttering…


3 thoughts on “#Minimalism – a different approach to birthdays

  1. You can always request a consumable gift like gift cards for food or gas. Flowers, membership dues or event tickets are some other options.

  2. I was going to repeat basically what toozesty just said, ask for stuff that you will use. Is there anything that you have that you do use that is “well worn” like I have old stained tupperware, semi-melted spatulas, and a few slightly burnt wooden spoons that I would never feel the need to replace, but if I got a nice new upgrade then I would appreciate it.

    Or you could ask for a spa day. You can’t really go wrong with a massage.

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