how to celebrate your birthday like a minimalist

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The big day has arrived.  I’m 35 years old today.

I happen to love birthdays.  When I was younger (read: without kids), I liked to celebrate for the entire month.  Now, I’m lucky if I get to go out for dinner.  My day so far has been lovely, with the kids and I heading out earlier than usually this morning for a special outing.  We’ll be having a visit from a special visitor (my mom will be spending a few days with us) and I got a few birthday well-wishes at school drop-off.  It’s been a pretty great birthday.

My style for birthdays is pretty minimalist.  Here’s how I like to celebrate:

  • No birthday gifts or cards:  My husband and I got into the habit early on of not exchanging gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas.  Before we had kids, people thought that was the strangest thing.  Now that kids are in the picture, for some reason this practice is more socially acceptable.  Perhaps this is because when there’s kids around, it’s always about them even if it’s someone else’s special day?  But I digress:  we don’t do gifts, and we occasionally do cards.  My husband is more likely to give cards, as I tend to think of them as a waste of paper – why not just articulate what you want to say?
  • Choose experiences over gifts:  We had a coupon for free entry to Science World, so we went this morning.  That outing combined with a great walk in some fabulously sunny weather and lots of fresh ocean air resulted in an enjoyable morning, both for myself and the kids.  By having experiences rather than buying something you can prevent contributing to both the clutter in your home and the waste of our planet’s precious resources.
  • Walk, bike or take public transit if you are heading out:  Choose experiences that are local to you if at all possible so that you can take advantage of getting outside and enjoying the fresh air.  Public transit is another great option when leaving the car at home.  Most of the time, the journey is as enjoyable as the destination.
  • Eat birthday dinner at home:  Restaurants contribute to a lot of food waste.  A lot of the food in restaurants goes into the garbage and has to be hauled great distances to be disposed of in a landfill.  Not to mention the fact that all that food that is wasted could actually be going to feed someone who doesn’t have the means to feed themselves.  If you do plan on eating out, be sure to forego the take-out containers, and if you must take home your leftovers or get take out, consider bringing your own reusable, stainless steel to-go dishes!
I’m planning on settling in now for the evening with a nice glass of wine and some great company.  Here’s to another fabulous year!

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2 responses »

  1. Happy belated birthday! I love the idea of experiences over gifts. Our family just celebrated our birthdays and Christmas with my parents. We decided to take a trip together as our years’ birthday and Christmas gifts. No extra stuff and lots of fun together and memories to last!

    • Great idea to take a trip together to celebrate all those special events! I’d love to plan a trip with the kids grandparents in the near future.

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