I have a milestone birthday coming up, and a friend insists on giving me a party.
But please, no presents! I don't like stuff to begin with, I have everything I need or want already, and am in de-acquisition mode, culling all my stuff and donating most of the excess to charity shops.
Ten years ago, the same friend gave me a party for an earlier milestone birthday, and said essentially what I said in the above paragraph, with regard to presents, in her invitations.
The result? Most people brought "just a token gift; I had to bring you something." So I walked away with a large bag full of useless token gifts, some of them so useless that I couldn't give them even to a charity shop without blushing. (Of course, I faked sincere gratitude, and faked it very well and wrote thank-you notes.)
Any ideas on forestalling token gifts this time? Asking for donations to charity in lieu of gifts seems crass. Or is this just something I have to endure for the sake of friendship?
Edit in response to comments: No cultural aspects. This is WASPS in the suburbs of DC. As for experiences, my calendar is pretty full already.