I would like to start a revolution, one that would reconfigure the giving on birthdays. Instead of receiving gifts, we could have the pleasure of giving a gift to someone or some organisation that really needs one!
If we could quit the trend to buy an object just for the sake of a birthday gift, we could: save money, save time, and save the planet!
That’s a good start, but here is the revolutionary part: once a year, on our own birthday, we could shout ourselves a gift – the gift of GIVING!
We could give to whatever charity has our attention at the time. It could be one we donate to regularly, a new one, or one that due to current circumstances – like drought, Covid-19 or bushfires – needs extra help NOW.
I am not suggesting we ignore other’s birthdays; if there is that perfect thing or lovely experience we could give, then give it. Make the phone call, visit, write on the card, just don’t buy something that’s not needed, or even wanted, just because of a tradition. Once upon a time, that tradition would have been a simple gesture, an acknowledgement, or perhaps a home-made meal.
The necessity of a bought gift is a commercial trick that encourages materialism. I am suggesting going back to basics, with a contemporary and outward looking slant.
The money you have saved not buying superfluous objects could go towards coloured pencils in a poor child’s school bag, rehoming a mistreated animal, or training a guide dog. It could go towards disease research, or educating disabled children in India, or reforestation programmes. You might prefer activism and like to help stop mining near the Great Barrier Reef, or live animal exports.
Whatever it is that touches your heart could be your chosen beneficiary! It is, after all, your birthday!
By breaking with tradition, we can save up for that one day a year when it’s all about us and give whatever we want.
Wouldn’t that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Wouldn’t that be a great thing?
This is a call to action. Come join the revolution! 😊✌
What have you received from well-meaning friends or family that you wish you hadn’t?
Have you got things stored in your cupboards that you don’t want, just because they were gifts? Perhaps regifting them to Vinnies or the Salvos could be the first step in breaking with tradition and someone less fortunate would benefit from the transfer. Also, the resources taken to produce the product would not be entirely wasted.
Have you ever been asked to contribute to a charity instead of giving a gift? How did you feel about that? Did it sit well with you or make you uncomfortable?
Contributing ourselves for our own birthdays, would avoid telling others what to do. My birthday has just been and it felt good to me!
Just for your interest:
The featured picture is of boys outside a slum in Mumbai sitting on parked bikes. I had just given them coloured pencils and notebooks, which I take especially for this purpose when I travel there. The kids are always delightful. My thanks, is a great photo and a feeling of gratitude.
The following are a few charities I support. What are yours?