What To Do When People Don’t Want Presents

Corbie Mitleid
4 min readMar 7, 2023

Sometimes people have birthdays but dislike any fuss or notice. Yet people who love them still feel they must do SOMETHING.

At the same time, there isn’t anything less “birthday giving” than insisting that someone accept a present or a party they truly don’t want.

Let me suggest an alternative… something that will warm your heart, honor the birthday person, and make a difference in the world at the same time.

Give the world a little love in the name of your birthday person. It can be anything, but here are some suggestions:

Spend a little time today in peace and quiet, and refresh your own spirit.

Write to someone you admire — famous or not, it doesn’t matter — and tell them so. Don’t think if they are famous they get tired of that sort of thing. Your words matter.

If you, like me, are a coffee person, buy the order for the person in line behind you, whether or not they look like they can afford it. Kindness has no income qualifications.

Pet a local dog. Throw a stick if there is one. And don’t forget a fervent “GOOD DOG!” when he/she brings it back. (Is there a shelter dog who needs you to love them today?)

Feed a feral cat if you meet one. If you have a little catnip in the house, treat them to it. Pet them, too; happy purrs are pure magic. (Maybe even adopt one from a shelter.)

Buy a book for a child. Don’t know a child? Buy a children’s book and donate it to your local library or homeless shelter.

If you see a homeless person, don’t just give them money. Buy them good food. Sit with them while they eat; maybe buy something for yourself too and eat with them. Give them back a little humanity and dignity with your kindness.

Shovel somebody’s walk. (There’s enough snow in this country that I’m sure that will count for a lot of you.)

Connect with an older person who looks lonely, even if just for a few minutes. Remind them that as long as they are alive, they matter; aging does not dispense with that.

Write a love note to your family. Or your friends. Or yourself. Take the time to feel all the good things that you have right now, even if they are minute. (I know you’ve got some. Everyone does, if they look hard enough.) And then tuck that letter away for a time when you will really need the reminder.

And if you must do something for the birthday person — spend 30 seconds sending them love and respect and admiration.

I guarantee that on some level they will receive it with delight and gratitude. And it always fits, and is never the wrong color or style.



Corbie Mitleid

Psychic medium & channel since 1973. Author. Certified Tarot Master, past life specialist. I take my work seriously, me not so much. https://corbiemitleid.com