The Practical Minimalist Gift Guide
A practical gift list for you and your minimalist friend
So, you have a “minimalist” friend. They own a ridiculously small number of items, and refuse to receive any material gifts. But now, it’s the holidays and you want to show your appreciation. Don’t panic. Here’s a concrete list of “non-things” that are minimalist-friendly.
1. Social Experiences
Tickets to a concert, movie, or performance are great gifts for minimalists — you can even go with them!
Here’s a long list to get you started:
- Shows: Comedy clubs, sports games, or even magic shows
- Treating Yourself: Spa days, give away Airbnb credit, or offer to baby sit their kids for the weekend
- Adventures: Skydiving passes, a helicopter ride, or a walking tour of their own city to discover something new
- Classes: Cooking, music, or try some “out there” classes like Tarot card reading and mushroom foraging
E-books make great gifts for minimalists, and Amazon makes it easy to purchase e-books as gifts. When I buy books for friends, I try to find something that would personally benefit them in their current stage of life.
3. Electronic Gifts
Neat gifts in this category include “diagnostic” information such as the 23andme DNA Ancestry Test, or AncestryDNA’s Genetic Testing kit. Try out horoscope-related books and gifts for your more fantasy-oriented friends.
One last great one in this category: buy your minimalist friend a domain name! You can easily purchase a domain name on sites like Google Domains or GoDaddy, and transfer ownership to their email account as a gift.
Minimalists hate owning more stuff. So why not get them things that can be attached to the items they already possess? Here are three examples:
- Sketchcase allows you to turn your laptop into a portable whiteboard
- Car Gel Pads hold securely onto phones, keys, and other miscellany when placed on your car’s dashboard.
- Also consider covers and cases, like funny pillowcases and phone cases.
Minimalists still eat food! Try getting them some creative kinds of food/drinks, or there are even some pretty cool subscription food services. Other than food, you can give out:
- Cosmetics (like teeth whitening strips)
- Cooking ingredients (try the pre-made cookie mix in a jar)
6. Donate to Charity
Most charities will let you donate in someone else’s name as a gift. A popular site is Give Well, which ranks charities by their impact and donates to them accordingly. Charity Navigator is another site with a more comprehensive list of charities.
7. Your time
Above all else, your friend is a minimalist because they want to focus on people and experiences, which matter more to them than any items do. So instead of buying something — go on a walk, write them a letter, get a nice dinner together, or spend some time chatting on the phone. Your minimalist friend will appreciate it more than anything you buy them.
If nothing else…
Get them the “Gift of Nothing.”
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