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Minimalist Gifting - What To Give?

In today’s new push for minimalism (remember Marie Kondo?) many people are looking for their current possessions to bring joy. This may make gift-giving season seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.

 Enjoying a minimalist holiday season is actually quite simple. No, that doesn’t mean you don’t buy anything (though it could… more on this later). It just means you might need to get creative.

Most minimalists are interested in experiences and consumables rather than knick-knacks or toys. So what can you buy for your loved ones who are embracing this lifestyle? Let’s take a look at some options.


Giving your loved ones the gift of an experience is something that will live long past any physical gift you might give them. Especially if it’s a shared experience. Gifting an experience can come in so many ways.


Make memories with your loved ones by taking a trip somewhere special or to a place you’ve never been to. 

Local - Play tourist for-a-day in your own hometown or one that is nearby. We all get caught up in our own little worlds and don’t notice what’s around us. Go to your city’s website or your state’s tourist board to see what there is to see. While you’re out and about, enjoy a meal at a locally owned restaurant instead of one of the big chains.

Regional - Take a short road trip within your region. There is a lot of rich history in our country and you can easily find something nearby to pique your interest. Again, check the tourist sites of nearby cities and states.

Cross-country - If you have more time and a larger budget you might consider taking an epic trip across the country. Look for some unique roadside attractions along your route. Some of those quirky little spots make for the best-shared memories.

World-Wide - International trave can really broaden their horizons. Getting to see how another culture lives is guaranteed to open minds. 

Ideas for places to visit whether you are traveling locally or country-wide:

  • State parks and forests
  • National parks and forests
  • Amusement parks
  • Museums and halls of fame
  • Roadside attractions
  • Farms, vineyards, orchards
  • Distilleries, breweries
  • Manufacturers

Educational Experiences

Expand their knowledge with an educational experience. Summer camps abound in the sciences and arts. Science museums have great programs. If you live near the ocean, consider a whale watching tour or a tidal pool exploration. A trip to our nation’s capital offers countless opportunities to learn more about our country. Head into New England to learn more about the original settlers or check out some of our Native American sites. 

Amusement Parks/Fairs

Take a trip to an amusement park, whether something small and nearby or one of the big parks like Disney or Universal. Or find out when your State Fair takes place. These experiences might even be a part of your regional or cross-country travel.


With the abundance of cruise lines now, there are many that cater to different interests. You can choose a cruise based on where you want to travel around the world. You can choose a cruise based on the make-up of your family (got kids? Disney cruise!) With specialty cruises being scheduled, you could take a cruise with your favorite musicians or actors. Cruising has come a long way.

Gift A Skill

How about giving your loved ones a new skill? Maybe they’ve always wanted to learn a new instrument or have had an interest in photography. Have a budding Francophile on your hands? A class in French cooking would be fun! Crafts and the arts are other areas that can bring lots of opportunities. Check out a local technical school or college for continuing education classes in painting, stained glass, welding, writing, computer programming, or even car repair.


Gifting consumables is an easy way to embrace the minimalist lifestyle. Food is the most common - coffee and tea, of course, but also pasta, cookie or cake mixes, soup mixes, homebaked cookies… the list is endless.

Think outside food for ideas like candles. Specialty toiletries like face masks, hair masks, bath bombs, and body scrubs can set the stage for a spa-at-home experience. If your loved one is into painting or drawing, sketchbooks, pens/pencils, and paints are a few ideas.


Consider a once-in-a-lifetime type of gift. What would this look like? How about tickets to the concert of a favorite musician or band? A trip to New York with tickets to a Broadway show or two. A special sporting event like the Super Bowl or March Madness.

Gift Cards

The lowly gift card is experiencing a renaissance of sorts. Not just money for a store anymore, gift cards can be given for a whole slew of reasons. Restaurants, spas, clothing stores, yoga, massage… the list goes on and on. Look for bundled gift cards (or bundle them yourself) for a date night. A restaurant gift card plus a movie gift card yields a night out that is sure to be appreciated.


Not really a consumable but a gift that might mean more than you can expect is a donation in your loved one’s name to a favorite cause.

If minimalism is something you or your loved ones are interested in, these ideas are just the start of what you can give. But remember, the best gift to give is yourself. Find the time you can spend with your loved ones, either in addition to these gifts or instead of. Plan trips around elderly family members to kids can get to know more about their family. Spend time together as a family unit. Learn together. Minimalism doesn’t have to be difficult or make for a boring holiday.

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