So, in recent years I've become more at one with the ideals of the voluntary simplicity movement.
I've changed my life: stopped the city-style career, got less interested in acquiring things. In fact, I divested myself of quite a lot of my belongings, and continue to do so.
And when it's my birthday, I used to have a party and like 300 people would come over to my house and buy me a scented candle or something. And then, it would be like a scented candle shop. One of the reasons I stopped having big parties like that is that I couldn't really handle getting all this extra... stuff.
I have a lot of stuff. I come from a long line of refugees, basically.
Now, for gifts, I mostly get people charitable donations. Friends who have children, they already have a lot of clothes (unless it's a first child). Friends who get married in their thirties, mostly have a lot of stuff. Older people have everything, anyway (I tend to get my dad sponsorship of a rare book at the British Library. Not that he's older, of course. Just older than me).
I got rid of all my videos and DVDs, save for like a dozen, and now I rent or borrow stuff I want to see.
I gave a lot of clothes to a charity shop. Some cool things, I eBayed.
It's not that I'm against gifts. If a good friend buys me a book, or something I really want, or something that's useful, or beautiful, obviously I think that's lovely, and I'm touched. But if a lot of acquaintances buy me something silly, I just feel... silly.
I realise all this is at odds with my girly-shopping thing. People are contradictory. You know that.
Anyway, great piece in the Times about buying less, based on a book called Not Buying It by Judith Levine. (Who, surely, is unzerer, right?). Strangely, the book is reduced at Amazon. Sign of the - consumerist - times.