Gift Ideas For Minimalists

December 7, 2018

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Christmas is, without a doubt, the least minimalist-friendly time of year; no other holiday promotes consumerism and bringing clutter into your home quite as aggressively. The holidays pose a unique challenge for minimalists: how do you partake in the festivities without compromising your ideals?

 

If you're a minimalist or have one on your list, you may be at a loss when it comes to suitable gifts. In fact, the idea of a minimalist gift guide seems somewhat oxymoronic.

 

 

 

 

Of course, the most minimalist approach is to cut out gift exchanges entirely, or, at least where you can. I'm a proponent of limiting gift-giving to children and significant others.

 

In extended families, adults can participate in a 'Secret Santa' or 'White Elephant' gift exchange, wherein each person purchases only one present and, most importantly, takes home only one. If you have a large family, this will significantly reduce the amount of unwanted crap (err...well-intentioned clutter) that makes it into your home. 


If you can't get out of exchanging gifts, take heart: there are some minimalist-friendly options!

 

Whether you're a minimalist wondering what to put on your wish list or you're shopping for a minimalist, here's a list of tried-and-tested, minimalist-friendly gift ideas!

 

 

1. An Experience Gift

 

Next to well-wishes, this is the prototypical minimalist gift.

You may recall this is also a suggestion in my post on Christmas gift ideas for kids that won't clutter up your home. This gift is highly personalizable to the recipient's interests. The possibilities are endless!

  • Spa treatment voucher

  • Theatre tickets

  • Movie tickets

  • Escape room gift card

  • Rock climbing pass

  • Wine & paint night gift card

 

 

 

Shop This Idea

 

 Spaweek Gift Card ($50, Amazon.com).

 

 

 

 

 Regal Cinemas Movie Gift Certificate ($25, Amazon.com).

 

 

 

2. Services

 

If you're low on funds or trying to save money this year, consider gifting your own services. For instance, you could draw up a voucher entitling the recipient to an evening of free babysitting, a homemade meal, or generalized help around the house. My sister, Jen, gave me one of these vouchers last year and we're making good on it by enlisting her help to clear out our basement this weekend!

 

Alternatively, you can purchase services.

  • Meal service voucher (i.e. Supperworks, Blue Apron)

  • Cleaning service 

 

 

3. E-book, Audiobook & Music Subscriptions

 

 

A year-long subscription to an e-book or audiobook service makes for a thoughtful gift idea for book lovers. If they prefer music, a premium subscription to a music app, like Spotify, will do the trick. The best part: this is a zero waste gift!

 

 

Shop This Idea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Gift Cards

 

Gift cards get a bad rap; they're seen as impersonal and somehow less thoughtful than other gifts. However, 

they ensure the recipient isn't saddled with physical items they don't want and the user can hold onto them until they're actually in need of something. Also, they're re-giftable and trade-friendly in the event that the receiver isn't a fan of the store. 

 

Shop This Idea

 

 

 

An Amazon gift card is the perfect gift card. Especially, if you're at a loss for what to get; it gives the recipient the freedom to purchase almost anything under the sun. Can you think of anything you can't buy on Amazon these days???

 

For no added cost, they're available in a variety of presentations.

 

 

 A gift box:

 

 

 

 

 

 

A greeting card:

 

 

 

 

 

You can even print a gift card at home and deliver it in person:

 

 

 

 

 

There's also the zero-waste option of having an ecard emailed or texted to the recipient on a preset date. It doesn't get more minimalist-friendly than that!

 

 

 

Some Other Gift Card Ideas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Physical Gifts that are Minimalist-Friendly

 

If nothing above resonates with you or you'd prefer a gift that you can wrap and top with a bow, here are my suggestions for minimalist-friendly, traditional gifts. These are all things that I own and personally endorse!

 

 

 

 

i) Candles

 

I normally caution against buying home decor items for other people. It's hard to really grasp another person's style. One exception, I believe, is candles. There are two things even those who embrace minimalism can't resist: plants and candles!

 

 

Our kitchen shelfie adorned with plants and candles---and booze, of course! My favourite candles are Brooklyn Candle Studio's Minimalist Collection Candles. They work anywhere and with any style. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The Cedarwood Minimalist Candle is one of my favourites. The clean and simple scent of pine, fir needle and eucalyptus inspires a much needed sense of calm over the holidays.

 

 

Shop This Idea

 

 Brooklyn Candle Studio Christmas Tree Minimalist Candle ($24). 

 

 

 

 

Feeling more generous? Check out Brooklyn Candle Studio's Gift Sets or Candle of the Month Subscriptions.

 

 

ii) A Plant

 

 

Minimalists are typically environmentally-conscious nature- lovers. A Christmas cactus or amaryllis make for festive plant gifts this time of year. For a low-budget option, you can propagate a plant from a leaf cutting of one of your existing plants (pothos works really well)!

 

 

 

 

 

iii) A Minimalist Travel Bag

 

Image via: Pakt. This versatile carry-on duffle combines form and function.

 

 

If you're looking for a more substantial present for a minimalist who loves to travel (and what minimalist doesn't?), what better gift than a carry-on travel bag designed in collaboration with The Minimalists, themselves?

 

 

 

 

I just received mine last month and couldn't be happier with it. I'd been eyeing this bag for a long time! Once I've had the chance to really put it through the ringer, I'll post my full review!

 

 

 

They really thought of everything when designing the Pakt One bag.  It has the portability and accessibility of a duffle bag on the outside and the compartmentalization and versatility of a suitcase on the inside! 

 

 

Image via: Pakt.

 

 

It's comfortable to carry and made of high-quality, durable materials.

 

It also comes in grey and blue.

 

Image via: Pakt.

 

 

 

Image via: Pakt.

 

 

This is the perfect carry-on, and if you pack like a minimalist, it easily holds everything you need for a week-long trip. No more checked luggage! 

 

 

It has multiple compartments and divisions to keep your clothes organized and there are many zippers through which to access all of the different compartments from the outside.

 

It even has a TSA friendly electronics pocket that you can easily pull onto the outside of your bag, so that you don't actually have to unpack your phone (or small liquids) when going through the airport scanner!

 

 

 

 

 

This video demonstrates how you can pack a week's worth of clothes into it:

 

 

Check out my full review of the Pakt One and see how I pack mine in this post.

 

 

iv) A Personalized Map


For minimalists, when it comes to physical objects that don't have a function, meaningfulness is key. A Mapiful custom map is the perfect gift for that friend or family member who's moved away; you can customize a map of your hometown zoomed into your old stomping grounds. If you're not seeing them this year, you can even have it mailed directly to them with free shipping to many locations.

Use my promo code: neatntiny10 for 10% off your Mapiful purchase until December 15th!

 

The map design is minimalist-friendly with simple fonts and clean lines (there's also the option to customize these). Below is our custom map of Toronto.

 

 

 

 

 

To see how Mapiful maps fit in with many different decor styles, check out my post on meaningful map art with Mapiful.

 

 

 Minimalist Stocking Stuffer Ideas