Here Are the Top 12 Gifts for a Minimalist


Ask most minimalists what they want for Christmas, and that's probably what they'll say.  "Nothing, thanks!"

But maybe you want to give a gift anyway, or maybe you're a minimalist (or an aspiring minimalist!) who wants to give gifts, but doesn't want to add to anyone's clutter.

Here's a list of gifts guaranteed to brighten any minimalist's holiday.

12 gifts for someone who doesn't want more stuff

1.  Tickets

Minimalists prefer experiences to material things.  If you know he'd be interested, tickets to a play, the symphony, a special art exhibit, a concert, a sporting event, or even a class (cooking, yoga sessions, beginning guitar at the local community college) would make a wonderful gift.

2.  Gourmet items

Minimalists prefer consumables to other physical items.  Again, you need to know your recipient.  For some, a bottle of organic wine would be greatly appreciated, others wouldn't care for that at all.  But there are plenty of other options:  California extra virgin olive oil, a balsamic glaze from Modena, Italy, a selection of local cheeses, organic fair trade coffee, or a box of nice chocolates would all make delectable gifts.

3.  Luxury bath items

This is another category of consumables that your minimalist recipient might enjoy.  Consider a bar of artisan soap, a heavenly-smelling lotion, or some homemade sugar body scrub.

4.  A restaurant gift card

Pick her favorite restaurant, or a new hot spot, and treat her to a nice dinner out.

5.  Membership

Give a year's membership to a history, science, or art museum, the zoo, the aquarium, or a botanical garden.  This is a gift that is worth far more than it costs, and is especially good for young families.  They'll get free admission for a year plus other VIP perks.

6.  Transportation

How about a transit pass for a dedicated bus or train commuter?  Or a bicycle tune-up, a new helmet, or a strobe headlight and taillight for an intrepid bike commuter?  A student or a person living on a fixed income might appreciate a gas card.

7.  Your skills and energy

Whether you can babysit, clean windows, give a massage, paint a room, bake sourdough bread, wash and detail a car, force bulbs for holiday blooming, or something else, the gift of your knowledge and time means a great deal.

8.  An Amazon Kindle

Yes, the Kindle* is another gadget, but it can replace entire shelves of books.  Some minimalists love that, but do make sure your recipient is one of them.  

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If he's already a Kindle owner (or even if he's not – you can read Kindle books on any device with Amazon's free Kindle app), he might enjoy an Amazon gift card so he can purchase books, or a subscription to Kindle Unlimited.

9.  Togetherness

Go on a day trip to the beach or go on a hike.  Pack a picnic lunch and meet at a sunny spot in the park.  Get together to bake cookies, decorate the tree, or watch a favorite movie.

10.  A letter

Written correspondence is more personal and durable than a digital note can ever be.  Its uniqueness and warmth, and the time and effort you put into it, make it more valuable today than ever.

11.  Imagination

For the children of minimalist parents, put together a container of craft supplies such as drawing paper, construction paper, tissue paper, crayons, washable markers, glue, pipe cleaners, colored craft sticks, rhinestone stickers, googly eyes, etc.  A book like Debbie Chapman's Low Mess Crafts for Kids or one of Ed Emberley's drawing books would make a great addition.  Kids can create and play without batteries, and even though the container and books qualify as "stuff," the craft supplies are consumable.

12.  A charitable donation

The money we spend buying each other gadgets and knickknacks can do a world of good for those less fortunate.  If your minimalist loved one is passionate about a certain cause, and especially if it's a cause you both care about, make a donation in her honor.

One more option

Of course, you could do exactly what your minimalist friend has asked, and give him nothing.  Just a smile or a hug and your best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year!

Updated December 2022


  1. My brother-in-law collects all the requests he gets for charitable donations. Christmas Eve the family sits down with the pile of requests and each member choses who he or she would like his donation on their behalf to go to this year. It's fun to discuss who chooses which charity and why.

    1. That sounds like a fun way to get to know your relatives better. I like your brother-in-law's idea.


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