February 8, 2009

Birthday cards and gifts

When I started this experiment of a "buy nothing new year" by joining The Compact on January 1st, my biggest concern was what I would do about gifts. I sort of figured I've got plenty of stuff, but I don't want to give up buying gifts for friends and relatives. Also, I'm something of a "card queen," and give and send them for almost any occasion. I'm especially big on thank you cards, because I believe in that simple act of taking a moment to acknowledge people when they do something nice for us.

So far, I've had three birthdays for friends and relatives come up. My grandpa is easy, I always send him baked goods. I made him Toll House cookies for his 91st birthday. For the card, I sent a World Wildlife Fund card with a picture of a male lion on the front- perfect. For another friend that's moved out of town, there's a loaf of his favorite pumpkin bread on its way to him now. And for one of my very best friends, I spent all day cooking a delicious vegetarian dinner and then gave her a "used" copy of Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama, which she loved. I bought the book on amazon used, and sometimes you can get remainders that are as good as new. My understanding is that they're headed to a landfill, so you're saving them from that sorry fate. I love buying used books and going to the library, but longterm I'll go back to buying some books new because I believe in financially supporting the authors. I particularly make a point of buying a copy when I go to a reading.

I'm actually trying to go the entire year without purchasing new cards. It probably won't be a problem because I have a drawerful already, and I'll just have to be more creative about using blank cards for other occasions, and sometimes making cards. Homemade cards are actually some of my absolute favorite gifts to receive. I also love cards made from photos of friends, not just babies.

What do you think about trying to give gifts without buying anything new? Any ideas?


Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi :)

I am amazed at your resolution. It requires a lot of will power and determination to go through the whole year without buying anything new.

Why can't you use emails for greetings? Some birthday parties you can skip on some pretext or the other. Some important occasions you can avoid. Ofcourse, you will feel bad but it can't be helped.

If you can keep your resolution for one whole year, you would have surely conquered yourself and emerge as a mentally strong person and victorious.

Best wishes :)

Angela said...

Hello Joseph.
Thanks for your comment. That's a good idea about e-cards, I'll have to start doing that to save the paper.
May I ask how you found my blog- I'm still learning about how this all works.
I have just checked out your profile and your very interesting blog. Isn't the Internet amazing, how we can all communicate across the world? By the way, Black Beauty is also one of my favorite books.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Angela :)

Many thanks for visiting my blog and your comments.

I was just browsing and came across your blog with a very captivating header. Very practical and down to earth. I liked it.

Have a wonderful day :)

Marylyn said...

One year, I got old cigar boxes at a thrift shop and filled them with wood shavings and some other thrift-shop goodies selected especially for each person. This year, I was going to write poems, but ran out of time. Last year, I had some actual fossils that a professor here was giving away, and some of my family members got those.

Anonymous said...

My life, sadly, revolves around food. My pat statement is that I don't want to receive anything that is fattening or has to be dusted, and I don't want to disrespect my friends' struggles as well. So, we go out to eat. Got out of Christmas for all the adults, years ago. WE DON'T NEED ANYTHING! Eating out is still an event, we can save for it, if need be, and no one has to make room for whatever novelty fru-fru I found on sale when the evening is over.

Anonymous said...

I consider homemade gifts a gift of time, which is usually the most precious thing my friends have to give.