March Birthdays

I’ve successfully navigated another Birthday Season on The Compact.

March is Birthday Heavy in my world. A lot of friends and acquaintances were born in March, and my husband, my brother, and my father all have birthdays within a week of one another. And those are birthdays that require acknowledgement. It was no problem to do it without breaking The Compact.

For my husband, I baked him the cake pictured above. It was a new recipe, a “mocha” cake from scratch. I frosted it with storebought Pillsbury milk chocolate frosting, because that’s what he likes. The cake was really moist and delicious, and he ate it three days in a row with coffee for breakfast. I also came home with a blue streak in my hair, which I have yet to get a photo of, but I’ll post one soon, I promise. He loved it! He was really surprised that I did it, and I actually kind of like it. We also went out to our favorite French restaurant which is right down the street. It’s a bit of a splurge, but it was delicious as always. The whole celebration was tres non-consumer.

For my brother, I bought him a gift card to a brewery that he’d been wanting to visit in Portland, where he lives. They have sample platters and at least twelve different beers on tap every day. The subject line in his thank you email was “I love it!” I knew it would be a hit.

For my dad, I gave him a gift certificate for two “wine flights” at a restaurant where he and my mom can go and watch the sunset and enjoy a wine tasting. It’s a place they like, but don’t often treat themselves to anymore.

I haven’t had any problem thinking of great gifts while being on The Compact. I love to receive experiential gifts, and I think most people do as well.

What are your favorite non-consumer gifts? Please leave your ideas in the Comments section.


  1. Hiptobeme says

    Thanks for the great ideas, April is my birthday heavy month so this post is timely for me! I have teenagers on my list and one thing I like to do for them is to go on a thrift store hunt. I try to start a while in advance and find kooky treasures that are personalized just for that person. As an example, I bought a kitchy Elvis Valentine tin for my cousin who is an avid fan. I also got her vintage rock t-shirts and a cool used Doors book that was in excellent condition. Put together, these items were well recieved! I have a new plan for my other cousin, who is more girly. It's fun to find just the right thing!

  2. Catherine @ The Vegan Good Life says

    Happy Birthday to your hubby and all your loved ones! Love your ideas. Cake for breakfast…why don't I do that on my birthday week?

    I've reached a pact with my friends and sweetheart: no material gifts for birthdays. We just treat each other to a meal and spend quality time. That way we're supporting the local economy (restaurants employ so many) and not doing a consumer gift. My boyfriend and I just do something little: I get a case of his favorite beer or bottle of wine, and he got me a Whole Foods card.

    Trader Joe's gift cards are a hit in my family to give and receive.

  3. Jenni says

    Like your other reader..April is birthday heavy and doah! Anniversary month for me! I like the idea of gift cards and I hope to make some gifts as well. Many of our extended family members are not on board with a reduced or non-consumer lifestyle..which is hard, but all the more to educate them by I say!

  4. Gypsy says

    Love this, gifts are an area I am really targetting this year. I am going to give fair-trade organic food as gifts, wrapped up in thrift shop tea-towels as a bit of a standard thing. The other thing I will do is buy a book from a website we have here in NZ – its called goodbooksnz and its run by Oxfam, so you can buy books and all the profit goes to a great cause. I know books are clutter and not really in the compact spirit … but whenI know someone will love them and they are an oxfam fundraiser I feel justified in the exception!

  5. Those Tricks says

    You are so sweet and I can't wait to see your bleu (that was purposeful) streak.

    Of course, my dear, you MUST post the names of the Portland brewery and Southern Cali restaurants!
    Figaro?! Hopworks?


  6. Leasmom says

    Thats great. I got my nieces a book and necklace each last month for their birthdays and a used cd for my Sisters. I'm on the compact too. The next birthday coming is my moms. My daughters will be the big challenge though.

  7. Cate says

    I'm excited to see the blue streak!

    I love those birthday ideas. We've been trying to move away from consumer gifts for birthdays (Christmas is still a holdout for us :-), anniversaries, and the like. We enjoy treating ourselves (and others) to restaurant meals, baseball games, etc.

  8. Non Consumer Girl says

    Our "experience" Christmas presents are still being enjoyed by Mr Techno and myself well into 2010.

    I bought Mr Techno a gift card of a term of guitar lessons.
    He has been enjoying a guitar lesson every Wednesday evening.

    Mr Techno bought me a gift card of 15 yoga classes.
    I am enjoying a couple of yoga classes each week.

    I love giving and receiving "experience" presents- they just keep on giving.

    And there is no clutter being created!

  9. WilderMiss says

    I'm an experience gift lover too. I often do things like trips, plays, spa treatments etc. However, this year for her birthday my mom asked for something non-tangible (well…sort of) that I thought was really origional. She asked for my sister and I to have professional photos taken so that she could choose one to frame for her living room and for my dad's office. I guess the old high school graduation photos have got to go!

    I'd guess that many parents and grandparents would like this type of gift.

  10. Julie says

    I am a March baby and just turned 43 a few weeks ago. I had the perfect (non-consumer) day: my son made me a sweet card, my husband took the day off work to spend it with us, we had lunch at a local fancy restaurant (way cheaper than at night, and no babysitter required!) and when the staff heard it was my birthday, they seated us in a private room overlooking the waterfall. After lunch, I took a nap (heavenly!) and then we went for a walk.
    And bravo to your husband for knowing how to really live life: cake for breakfast! I love that idea!

Leave a Reply to Hiptobeme Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *