Christmas can be a tricky time of year for minimalists. Every year my mom says to me in exasperation, “I’m not getting you anything for Christmas! You just throw everything away!” And it’s true — since we live in a small space, I have pretty high standards when it comes to keeping only the things I truly need and love (even if it was a gift).
While it’s easy to equate gift giving and receiving with materialism, I personally love the warm fuzzy feeling that comes with both giving and receiving a thoughtful gift. The best way to ensure the minimalist in your life loves your gift is to keep it small and make it thoughtful! (That doesn’t have to mean inexpensive, although it certainly can.) Keep reading for my picks for great gifts for minimalists — these work for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions, too!
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Give the Gift of Less
Minimalists are constantly looking for ways to simplifying and streamline their lives. Technology is one of the easiest ways to do so, but gadgets can feel splurgey when you’re watching your budget. That makes them the perfect gift!
- I firmly believe a Kindle is one of the best gifts you can buy a minimalist (or anyone else, for that matter). I love mine — the paperwhite version, which is just a reader, not a tablet, and includes a backlight and 3G wifi service — but there are several options to choose from at a variety of price points. And just think: once you’ve bought your minimalist a Kindle, your future gift-giving woes are solved … just get them Amazon gift cards or books that will deliver straight to their Kindle!
- Along the same lines, an Audible membership gives the gift of stories in a super-minimalist way. I’m currently obsessed with Audible, Amazon’s audio book subscription service. It makes an ideal gift for anyone who travels a lot, has a long commute, or spends a lot of time at the gym. And it takes up absolutely zero space!
- Amazon Prime is another no-brainer gift for minimalists — because let’s be real: everyone orders from Amazon (minimalist or otherwise). When you give the gift of Prime you’re giving a full year of free two-day shipping, unlimited TV and movie streaming with Prime Video, and more!
Give the Gift of a Delicious Splurge
Let’s say you have a minimalist in your life, and they’ve told you about ten times now, “We just don’t have any more room for stuff! Please don’t get us anything this year.” But you still secretly want to see their face light up when you hand them a beautifully wrapped gift. The best advice I have to offer you is to get them something consumable — food or drink they will thoroughly enjoy, then use up. The key to this kind of gift is to make it just a little bit splurgey — we’re not talking about getting them a jar of Folgers coffee here. 😉
- If you have a coffee-lover in your life, a few bags of nice coffee are a great way to make sure they think of you fondly at the beginning of every day. A favorite of ours is Parker’s Maple Barn’s maple cinnamon coffee, but your personal favorite or something from a local coffee producer feels fancy. (Resist the urge to pair your gift with cutesy coffee mugs, but fancy sugar cubes make a charming addition.)
- Wine is another gift that will be sure to spark fond thoughts when your gift-receiver ends up enjoying it. (And you can know for sure that it won’t get pushed to the back of the cupboard and forgotten.) Visit a local winery for a fun twist on this kind of gift, or give a bottle or two of your personal favorite!
- Chocolate is always a crowd pleaser — but make it special to avoid looking like you just grabbed a box of chocolate from your local drugstore on your way to exchanging gifts. Hands-down the best chocolate I had this year was the bourbon pecan chocolates from Woodford Reserve distillery in Kentucky, and you’re in luck; they’re available on Amazon!
Give the Gift of an Experience
Most of the minimalists I know value experiences over stuff.
- My personal favorite experiential gift is receiving gift cards that fuel my love of travel — like a gift card for hotels, airlines, or even Airbnb! I promise, if your minimalist is anything like me, he or she will love the gift that takes her somewhere new!
- Another fun option is the gift of a class. Whether it’s a one-time paint-and-sip class or a recurring photography class, you’ll be giving both a fun night out and a new skill that they’ll remember forever! Start by brainstorming ideas your gift-receiver would love. Painting, guitar, sewing, craft, cooking, craft brewing, blogging — the opportunities are endless! Then search for classes in their local area. Sites like Living Social are good places to start; you could even check non-credit courses at their community college.
- Last but certainly not least, the gift of an adventure. In New England, the gift of a season pass to a ski mountain is never a bad idea. If you live in the south, consider giving the gift of snorkeling or surfing. And adventures don’t have to be extreme; did you know many state parks offer camping gift cards? (We love KOAs, too, and they also offer gift cards.)
Give the Gift of a Book
A great book on minimalism makes a wonderful gift for anyone who’s trying to live a more simple life. (For bonus points, give them the Kindle version! You can schedule it to deliver by email, or you can get a gift code that you can print out and put in a stocking or stick in a card.) These are the books I recommend to anyone looking to streamline their life!
- The Joy of Less was the very first book I ever read on minimalism and it totally changed my life and my perspective on stuff. It starts philosophically and moves on to the practical, and is a great resource no matter where you are in your minimalist journey.
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a perfect gift to give going into the new year. Author Marie Kondo doesn’t believe that all stuff holds you back, just the wrong stuff, and she offers hands-on ways to pinpoint and get rid of it.
- The Ultimate Guide to Living Full Time in an RV, Airstream or Motorhome is a brand new book by Melanie Gnau. Her radical life change and gorgeous Airstream home were a huge inspiration to us in our journey, and I know they will be to you, too. If you are interested in learning more about full time life in a camper, I’d highly recommend you checking out her book (and her blog!).
That’s our definitive 2016 holiday gift guide for minimalists! We’ve been at this a while, so we have a pretty good idea what we like to receive as part of a “simple” Christmas — but we’d love to hear from you, too! Tell us in the comments: what are your favorite minimalist Christmas gifts?