People are spending far too much money on gifts, and so much time hunting for them. Also birthday gifts can create even more ‘clutter’ in your house.
We are in the era of families not meeting ‘properly’ and ‘talking’. People can be very isolated now. I find when people meet at birthday dinners people don’t ‘really talk’, and some of them, don’t find birthday dinners fun, perhaps they hate mingling. Some of us feel ‘forced to go’ if relatives are more distant. Also, there is not much to do, and introverts like me, find them uncomfortable. Birthday meals can be very pricey for everyone.
I thought that instead of having a ‘proper’ birthday gift or dinner. I would have an experience, and I am not just talking about an experience that is just for me, ie those Red Letter Days type of experience, which also can be expensive but something everyone will generally enjoy.
I wanted a more frugal and Scandinavian ‘hygge’ experience. So what I thought was for me and a few of my friends and relatives to visit a wildlife rescue centre – that way it would be interesting and educational and it would make a difference to the animals there. It maybe a bit ‘sad’, but I think the fact that all of us will being doing something to help, will really make a ‘mark’ on everyone.
They could make a donation too, and even a small donation, can make a big difference with several people going. There maybe a ‘shop’ there or they could bring in food and bedding for the animals. People with children can also go along, so it would be good for them too. They will also see how much damage cars can cause with our wildlife, that will be an eye opener too. You never know, the trip may mean that the charity will get more donations in the long run, and even new volunteers. The trip could inspire people to do good things. Birthdays can also be ‘serious too’ but I think it is important to have some light bits in it, to balance things out.
Afterwards, we would have an informal picnic somewhere, and people would bring their own things to share. People will be able to talk more ‘normally’ than in a formal, restaurant setting. I am a huge fan of picnics. They remind me of my childhood and I don’t see why we can’t have more ‘picnic birthdays’. My birthday is in July so I’m quite lucky in having reasonably good weather, though we will need a ‘back up’ if it rains, of course!
I was lucky to discover that there is a good dog show nearby as well, and suggested we go there afterwards, if they wanted to. That would give them a bit of flexibility too so they didn’t have to stay if the couldn’t. Most people in my family are animal lovers and I think animals and birthdays are a ‘great frugal mix’. There is something to do too, not just talk.
I already I have had people saying they want to ‘swipe my idea’ which is great. I am not celebrating it until in two week’s time, but if you want to have a ‘frugal birthday’, and one where you can ‘make a difference’, you don’t have to celebrate it on your day, as there may be things that are fun that are around on a different day, perhaps in your own area. My experience can be great for ‘keeping things local’ and reducing air miles, if your friends and relatives are local.
I really like this the animal charity birthday idea as this will make a difference to the animals too, and I hope my relatives and relatives will talking about this ‘birthday experience’ for years to come. Maybe they will do something similar too?
Just for your info, I will be going to Folly Wildlife Rescue, in Tunbridge Wells http://www.follywildliferescue.org.uk/ and keep you posted.