Receiving a gift isn’t normally considered a problem but when you’re an aspiring minimalist and have spent a lot of time decluttering and cutting down the items you own, it is.
I celebrate my birthday at the end of the month and I have already had the ‘what do you want for your birthday?’ conversation with my sister and my best friend.
I told them both I don’t want anything, I’d be happier spending time with them than receiving something I don’t need (or want), and got an eye roll from both of them. Their argument is that we’re going out to celebrate my birthday anyway so they HAVE to buy me something.
It’s not that I’m being ungrateful, I just genuinely don’t want or need anything, but it’s really difficult to explain that to people who love you. I’m sure that many people feel any rejection of their gift is a rejection of their love, but of course it isn’t. That’s just one of the lies that consumerism has sold us.
Frank and I haven’t told anyone outside of the online community what we’re doing because, honestly, we think our friends and family will think we’re bonkers. We’ve chatted about how we’ve had a huge clear-out and sold our possessions but we haven’t told anyone just how far we’re going.
The idea of bringing another bunch of items into our home makes me feel a little bit down. We received a present for our wedding anniversary last month (it’s an ‘inspirational quote’ plaque) that I don’t like and now feel I have to keep because otherwise it will hurt the feelings of the person who gave it to us.
It’s currently in the drawer of ‘stuff we’ve been given that we don’t like’ and will be brought out when that person visits so we don’t offend them. The thing is, I’m loathe to add anymore to that drawer.
How do you deal with family and friends who think you’re just being eccentric or contrary when you tell them you don’t want any gifts and insist on buying you something anyway?
And once they’ve given you the item, how long are you obliged to hang on to it for?
If anyone can help me with tricks and tips they use, I’d be very grateful.