What do you want for your birthday?

Both a lovely well meant sentence, and one filled with many challenges.  Especially for an aspiring minimalist, trying to reduce the amount of physical stuff my life.


The topic of presents is much discussed on minimalist blogs (for example; The Minimalists and London Minimalists), these writers talk about how they have given away presents their family have given them, or have told their loved ones how they feel about gifts, and they are still on speaking terms.  No matter how chilled out your friends and family this can be a time filled with pitfalls and challenges.

My strategy has been training.  Train your friends and family slowly over time.  Buy other people presents that doesn’t give them more stuff, unless you are really sure it’s something they need, not something they might want.  I have been buying friends experiences instead of items for a number of years now.  I would much rather spend time with them as it is more valuable.  If you do choose, or need to, buy a physical item, then go for a consumable such as a beauty product brand you know they use, a magazine subscription (online), membership of a venue they love, food or wine you know they enjoy.
The problem with this stance is it can sound ungrateful or unfeeling.  But buying presents just for the sake of it can be wasteful in terms of money and resources, it clutters up people’s homes and doesn’t make anyone happier.  Is it better to not buy anything than something for the sake of it?  Is it better to re-home an item that you are not using to someone else who will use it?  I would be interested to hear your thoughts.
My birthday is on Friday (3rd June) and this year, those that have asked me have recieved the following practical answers;
Dad – Lush vouchers (a brand I use a lot)
Mum – Money, this is what she prefers to give me and I let her know what I have used it for, this year activities on our city break.
Husband – Dinner on our weekend city break
In-laws – Replacing my nearly worn out Toms shoes
I am hoping that my friend who makes her own skin care will think of me again this year as I love using her products.  But mostly I would much rather spend time with people doing an activity we both enjoy.
My birthday outing with friends in 2015.

Junipalooza Gin Festival – my birthday outing with friends in 2015.

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