Life Advice



Ask Amy: Minimalist wants to maximize birthday gift

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I have always been against senseless consumerism. I am a minimalist in almost all aspects of my life.

I do not try to impose my beliefs on anyone, however, whenever I am invited to birthday parties, I almost wish I wasn't.

My solution is to give a gift card, which the recipient can spend on whatever they might need or want.

For some people, that might seem tactless or impersonal, but to me this works better when it comes to giving gifts to adults.

My friend has invited me to one of her kids' birthday parties.

This child is turning five, and although I know I can't come empty-handed, I also don't want to give any gifts.


I know that my friend's child, whom I adore and have babysat for many times, needs nothing.

These parents are wealthy, she has a loving extended family, and friends that give her more that she can even play with.

My conundrum is: I don't want to give something that I am sure is going to end up in the bottom of some drawer, but I understand that convention calls for some kind of present.

Should I give up my beliefs, suck it up, and buy something for this child?


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