The Ultimate Minimalist (Holiday) Gift Guide

by Anousheh

I hate to break it to you, but the holidays are just around the corner. Where has the year gone? Obviously, this has been a very different year for everyone, but it still kind of feels like May to me. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. Family time, getting cozy with the most nostalgic films (Harry Potter ftw!), eating all the cookies…

However, what I don’t love is Christmas shopping. That time of the year where you aimlessly walk around malls and browse all the online stores, desperately looking for a gift for your great-grandaunt, your father-in-law, and your cousin twice removed. You end up buying last-minute socks with dogs on them (because who doesn’t love puppies, right?), a sofa blanket with sleeves, and the 23rd bath salt set for your mother. 

Basically, stuff no one really wants and is going to end up in the last corner of the basement, collecting dust. Not only is this a huge waste of money, but also not very environmentally friendly. 

What if there was another way? Well, my friends, look no further. I have gathered the best minimalist Christmas gift ideas that everyone is going to love. The father-in-law, that is impossible to buy for. The brother who already owns everything. The minimalist in your life that doesn’t want to get any stuff for Christmas.

Get inspiration from these 10 minimalist gift ideas that are perfect for every holiday, birthday or anniversary:

1. A donation to their favorite charity

Donations are basically a win-win situation. It is a thoughtful gift that shows your loved one you know him well. Is your brother a dog lover? Gift him a donation for a local animal shelter of his choice. Your sister-in-law is a passionate climate activist? A tree-planting donation it is! That cousin you don’t actually know very well? Either pick a popular cause like the breast cancer foundation or let them choose a charity of their own.

Donations are also an amazing way to give back to society and use the holidays to reflect your privilege and wealth. 

2. Gift a unique experience

There is no better gift than quality time and memories. Most people don’t think back and think about how they finally got that amazing set of tea mugs. What they do think back on is that one trip to Disneyland with the entire family. Or that time you all went laser-tagging and grandma somehow managed to beat everyone. 

A few ideas for awesome experiences to gift are escape rooms, special date nights (for your significant other) like wine tasting or an art night, adventurous activities like hiking or canyoning, or tickets to a concert of their favorite artist.

Now I realize a lot of these ideas are pretty expensive and not everyone can afford them. But there are also a lot of budget-friendly experiences you can organize yourself, such as a scavenger hunt, a sightseeing tour in your hometown, or an amazing candlelight dinner you cooked yourself.

3. Subscription Services

Subscription services are a great gift for someone who already has everything. There are so many to choose from, so you can really customize it to the gifted person.

Booklover? Get them a kindle unlimited subscription. Music enthusiast? Spotify or Apple Music is your way to go. More of a listener? Audible has amazing audiobooks and podcasts. Or if they love and support a blogger, podcast, or a local company, get them a Patreon membership and support a small business or creator at the same time.

4. The Pro Version Of Their Favorite App

There are a lot of apps out there that are free to use, but full of advertisement or very limited in their functionality. If you know about a favorite app or even game of someone, why not gift them the Pro Version? It shows your loved ones how well you know them and also feels kind of like a treat.

This doesn’t only apply to apps, but to any kind of services that have a Pro Version.

5. A cooking box or meal service

Everybody has someone in their family who absolutely loves to cook. Or that somebody, who for the life of them can’t even prepare themselves a grilled cheese sandwich. Either way, we all gotta eat, right? A cooking service is an amazing gift and an incredible crowd pleaser. There are several meal subscription boxes out there, like HelloFresh, Marley Spoon, or Dinnerly. A lot of areas also have local suppliers or farmers who provide amazing fresh veggie and fruit boxes that change seasonally.

And who knows, you might even get invited to dinner one time, so it’s kind of also a gift to yourself.

6. A course or class

Knowledge is power. And with the new year coming, most people set themselves goals like learning how to sew or finally starting that marketing class to skyrocket their business. A class or course is the perfect gift for that someone in your life who always asks questions, wants to know everything, and never wants to stop learning. 

There are great learning platforms out there that have a course on almost every topic, like Skillshare or Udemy. But there are also many creators online who are experts in their specialized topics, like online marketing, stock investments, or photography. If you already know what that person is interested in, just research a little and gift them the perfect course to become an expert.

7. Video or photo slide show

This has to be one of my favorite gift ideas. It doesn’t get much more personal than a video someone has made for you or a photo slide show your loved one created with memories of all of your favorite moments. This is your time to be creative! You could record a video of your own, like a funny dance, a storytime about your view on how you met, or even sing them a song. Or collect your favorite photos and memories of you and create a video or photo slide show from those. Tears of joy are guaranteed. 

8. Consumables

You want to gift something that’s not going to collect dust on the shelves, but also don’t want to show up empty-handed? Consumables are your way to go. This could be anything from fancy chocolate truffles to exotic spices or that amazing Colombian coffee that reminds you of your last trip. 

Or if you are a great chef or love to bake, you could also make something of your own, like homemade cookies or jam made from berries out of your own garden. Either way, these gifts won’t take up space once they have been used. And let’s face it, chocolate or homemade cookies probably won’t even survive Christmas Day.

9. Coupons

Really? Coupons? Yes, coupons can be a great and thoughtful gift. And no, I am not talking about an Amazon Gift Card. Remember those times as a kid, when you didn’t have your own money but still wanted to have a gift for your mom? Something like “3 free hugs” or “1 kitchen tidy”. Let’s bring those back, grown-up style. 

Your dad has a huge garden but never has the time to take care of it? Gift him a coupon to take care of the lawn during the summertime or a gardener who will take care of it. Your sister really needs some time for self-care, but just can’t get around to that well-needed spa treatment because no one can take care of her three kids? Free babysitter it is! Not only are these coupons very appreciated and meaningful, but they also don’t cost a single penny.

10. Nothing!

Yes, that’s right. Just gift them nothing. Now I know this is a touchy subject and a lot of people seem to still have a huge problem with that. I still haven’t managed to convince my own family to fully embrace this. But I encourage you to suggest a gift-free Christmas for your family. With a little bit of persuasion, I’m sure your family will realize that nobody really needs any more stuff. Also, imagine the relief if they think about not having to do any Christmas shopping this year.

Because in the end, Christmas should really be about spending time with the ones you love and not about how many gifts are lying under the Christmas tree. 

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Mark November 28, 2020 - 10:22 pm

Definitely going to try one of those!!

Daniela November 30, 2020 - 7:42 pm

a lot of good and useful tips. I am one of those who doesn’t like gift free idea. I think time to think about someone is a way to show them love. You gave me a lot of good ideas for my x-mas shopping!


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