A minimalist Christmas involves paring down extravagant, consumer-driven gift-giving, but it doesn’t mean forgoing presents altogether. The goal is to search for gifts that add value without adding unnecessary clutter. Here are forty-five minimalist Christmas gifts to consider.
At the top of any minimalists’ wish list, you’ll find experiences. Experiences might include movie nights, wine tastings, tickets to the theatre, or a sporting event.
Fun adventures like escape rooms, visiting museums, or exploring new parts of your city together.
You don’t have to purchase pricey tickets to these events. You can visit the local community college’s drama department rather than broadway. Or go to a local jazz club rather than buying expensive tickets to a concert.
The goal is to spend less money on physical gifts and more on activities and events that don’t fit in a box under the tree.
Digitize Old Family Films and Photographs
A few months ago, I found a bunch of old 8mm films in my parent’s basement. My husband purchased a film scanner and converted those film reels into digital movies the whole family can watch on TV.
My parents smiled and laughed as they watched and reminisced about old memories.
Film and movie scanners are expensive but well worth the cost. After digitizing the images, we listed the scanner on eBay and recouped 75% of the sales price!
Converting old images into newly digitized copies takes a lot of time and patience. You can pay for a digitizing service like Legacy Box if you want to skip the effort.
Digital Photo Frame
Years ago, I bought my eighty-five-year-old grandmother a digital picture frame and filled it with hundreds of photographs taken by my grandfather. It was the best gift I’ve ever given anyone!
When she couldn’t sleep, she’d watch the moving pictures and reminiscence about the photos as they appeared. Standard picture frames are yesterday’s news. Why display one photo when you can stream hundreds of them?
If you digitize photographs, find a way to enjoy them.
If you’re like me, you find that 99% of your family photos are missing one person. That’s right, the person behind the camera rarely makes their way in front of the lens.
A family photography session ensures everyone gets included. If you don’t have the money to hire a photographer, offer to take a few candid photos yourself.
You don’t need to create perfect pictures. Just make sure everyone is included!
Television Subscription Services
Do you have friends that love to sit down at the end of the day to binge-watch TV shows? Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Netflix make great holiday gifts, but you don’t have to stick with the big three.
Consider purchasing subscriptions to Disney+, Showtime, Discovery+, Paramount+, ESPN+, or Peacock.
Specialty Sports Subscription Services
Do you know a sports fan who loves to watch their favorite college games? My husband and I watch basketball using BTN+ because we love the Big Ten.
If you know a hardcore sports fan, find out which conference they watch and search for specialty channels. A FuboTV subscription also provides access to exclusive sports programming.
If you don’t know what to buy your friends and family, consider a subscription to Amazon Prime. With Prime, your family will receive free two-day shipping and discounts at Whole Foods stores.
Amazon Prime includes access to Prime Video and Amazon Music. With two million songs, millions of podcast episodes, and thousands of movies and television shows, your gift recipient will find plenty of ways to entertain themselves.
Do you know a music lover who is always searching for new tunes? With an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription, you’ll give the gift of 70 million songs and millions of podcast episodes.
Spotify memberships also provide ad-free music, offline playback, and more.
Do you know someone who loves to read but doesn’t have time to sit down with a good book? Send them a subscription to Audible, where they’ll find thousands of audiobooks, podcasts, originals, and more.
Imagine walking the dog, commuting to work, or working out while listening to a library of stories.
What goes well with unlimited music subscriptions and audiobooks? A new Bluetooth speaker to listen to all those tunes.
Bluetooth speakers provide entertainment while hanging out or performing daily chores. Do you know someone who enjoys listening to music or podcasts while cooking dinner or cleaning the house?
Bluetooth speakers make scrubbing, baking, preparing dinner, and other chores much more enjoyable.
While some people prefer blasting their tunes throughout the house, others want to listen without disturbing anyone. A set of noise-canceling headphones might be the perfect gift for those who wish to be respectful to their roommates or block out the noise around them.
Book Club Subscription
Do you know someone who loves to read and never goes anywhere without a book? If so, check out the Literati book club.
Each month, gift recipients receive a new book for three, six, or twelve months. They’ll also gain access to the Literati App, which is home to interactive book discussions.
Do you know someone who loves cooking, crafting, or bird watching? How about someone who enjoys reading about new technologies, fashions, or travel?
There is a magazine for just about every hobby, passion, or interest. So figure out what your friends love to do and send them a magazine to spark their passion.
House Cleaning Services
I don’t know about you, but I hate cleaning the house. Getting down on my hands and knees to scrub toilets, floors, and bathtubs is not my idea of a good time. If you don’t know what to buy, consider the gift of house cleaning services.
Do you want to provide the gift of house cleaning services week after week but can’t afford the cost on an ongoing basis? Think about home products that can make cleaning jobs more manageable.
Car Cleaning Services
Car detailing is another chore that isn’t particularly fun. If you don’t like digging the cheerios out of your backseats, the odds are pretty good that your friends and family don’t love it either. Car detailing services can make an old car look new.
Do you know people who have too much stuff and not enough space? If so, you might want to invest in organizing services.
Professional organizers can help declutter, reimagine a space, and create comfier, cozier rooms. If you love to declutter and organize, offer your services too.
Food Storage Containers
Many minimalists enjoy organizing after decluttering. Food storage containers help stack and seal items, so they stay fresh and visible. Avoiding food waste is a crucial component of minimalist living, and any items that cut down on food waste will be appreciated.
Stackable Cookware and Space-Saving Solutions
Stackable cookware is a space-saving solution for minimalists who like to keep a tidy kitchen. Some sets enable a home cook to stack every pot and pan on one shelf!
Quality Knife Set
You can only declutter and minimize so much from your life. Unless you plan to eat out every meal of your life, you’ll need a quality knife set to chop, slice, and dice.
Consider upgrading these kitchen essentials or purchasing a specialty knife sharpener to a home cook who needs one.
Food Service Plans
Do you know someone who is struggling to make dinner every night? Consider giving the gift of prepared meals. Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Daily Harvest, Green Chef, and other meal subscription services take the pressure off weeknight cooking.
Magic Kitchen is a meal delivery service for seniors and those with specific health conditions. You can purchase a gift certificate or select particular meals. I like Magic Kitchen because you don’t have to subscribe to a delivery service. If you want to give a gift, you can order one time.
Restaurant Gift Cards
Restaurant gift cards can also go a long way. Ordering take-out or calling for pizza is an easy out on hectic days. Find out which places deliver in your friends’ area and buy a gift card big enough to pay for a hearty meal.
My husband and I made a delicious crockpot turkey dinner this Thanksgiving. It may sound unusual, but it was the best turkey we’ve ever made!
Learn a New Language
Do you have a friend who wants to travel to a distant location and speak the language when she gets there? If so, consider the gift of language-learning software.
You can give the gift of twenty-five different languages with Rosetta Stone. Better yet, sign up yourself and learn alongside your friend.
The Gift of Family History
Help relatives explore their family history with a subscription to Ancestry.com. The gift recipient will gain access to billions of records from over 80 countries.
If you feel extra ambitious, you can pay for a subscription and research the information yourself. Then present the details to elderly parents and grandparents.
Help relatives understand how their DNA influences their health. If you know someone who wants to explore their ancestry and well-being, check out 23andMe. The gift of DNA testing provides 150+ personalized reports, including carrier status and genetic health risk.
Speaking of health and wellness, what could be better than buying a gym membership or paying for fitness classes for a loved one. Fitness memberships are one of those experiences you can share.
Try barre instruction, Zumba, or yoga at local facilities. You can help a relative get in better shape and create an accountability partner for yourself too.
Most minimalists are also environmentally-conscious. The reusable notebooks from Rocketbook allow gift recipients to stop wasting paper with a 32-page grid notebook. After writing, notes and journal entries can be digitized and transported into Google Drive.
A reusable calendar is another eco-friendly suggestion. With a set of dry-erase pens, the gift recipient can use the same board for years to come. We use different color pens in our house for each family member. That way, we can easily see which person has appointments or activities coming up.
To minimize our possessions, we often move towards a more digitized world. What do all of our computers, phones, kindles, and iPads need? Why charging cords, of course. Buy long, colorful charging cords and assign one to each family member.
Or better yet, keep a special place in your house for all those iPads, iPhones, and laptop computers. A charging station provides a place for all of your technology to rest for the night.
We didn’t have the right light for plants in our old house, but our new place has lots of windows and tons of greenery. Plants make incredible gifts. You can buy herb gardens for those who like to cook and simple potted plants for those who want to breathe a little easier.
Every year for the last ten years of her life, I bought my grandmother an Amaryllis. She loved to tend to those plants and called me every time they bloomed to tell me how beautiful they were.
If your friend doesn’t have a green thumb, consider buying flowers for a holiday or delivering flowers later in the year. Let them know that a surprise will come in the mail on a future date, so they don’t think you forgot their gift on Christmas Day.
Does your friend or family member want to learn a new skill? Would they enjoy learning to cook, sew, dance, sing, draw, or play the piano? No matter what they want to discover, there is most likely an online course or in-person class that can teach them.
Before signing them up for a new experience, evaluate your likes and dislikes and see if you can try out something new together. It will make the experience more enjoyable and memorable.
Try a Funky New Learning Experience
Do you know someone who would enjoy Romantic Map Making or Tarot Reading? If so, check out the list of online experiences at Uncommon Goods.
They have a long list of activities that can pair with physical gifts. For example, if you choose the Tarot card reading experience, you’ll receive a set of tarot cards before the class begins.
Does your family enjoy art exhibits, museums, water parks, or the zoo? Consider signing up for memberships to a place you love to frequent.
Many memberships pay for themselves after just two visits. If you think you’ll go somewhere at least two times, it’s probably worth paying for a membership.
Soap and Beauty Products
Minimalists love products they can use in their entirety. Bar soap is a perfect gift for those who want to cut down on plastic waste, and beauty products in glass jars can be reused or recycled.
If you know someone in need of pampering, consider gift certificates for pedicures, manicures, or facials.
Edible gifts are perfect for minimalists because they don’t stay around forever. Once you eat the present, it’s gone! Edible gifts include baked goods, honey, tea, coffee, chocolates, fruit, beer, wine, and nuts, to name a few.
Buy them or make them yourself; it doesn’t matter. Just try to find something your gift recipient will love.
If you aren’t sure what to buy, consider relaxing gifts. Relaxation gifts could include sound machines to help someone sleep at night or a quiet thirty-minute massage.
If you know someone who feels a little uptight or anxious, consider buying a subscription to meditation apps like Headspace. These little applications contain guided meditations that will help listeners rest and relax.
Bedding may seem like a strange choice, but everyone sleeps at night, and most of us want to do that with plushy pillows and comforters.
Minimalists may have a mattress on the floor, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be soft and comfy. Search for organic sheets, mattress toppers, weighted blankets, and squishy pillows that will help them get a good night’s rest.
Brain Games and Apps
Elevate is another app I love. It contains brain training games that help you think faster. Every day you play three short rounds.
It’s a fun game that allows you to compete against yourself and improve your scores. Elevate would be a fun game for those who like to challenge themselves.
Gift cards for places like Airbnb or hotels will always be appreciated. The recipient of your gift doesn’t need to go far to enjoy a night away from home, and you don’t need to pay for expensive airfare or a hotel in a distant location.
Sometimes it’s fun to go to a nearby hotel, order room service, and take a semi-staycation where the kids can swim in the pool or play in the arcade.
Add excitement to an otherwise ordinary activity with experience baskets. Create a movie night kit by wrapping popcorn, candy, and a comfy blanket inside a recyclable box.
Fill a box with seeds, trowels, and gardening gloves for a friend who likes to grow fruits and vegetables. Or provide hand warmers and a scarf for a special day at the ice skating rink.
Do you know someone who loves to sit around a warm fire at night telling stories? Do you have friends who light the fireplace when they bring home their Christmas tree? Firewood is a great gift for those who love to create a cozy atmosphere inside or outside the home.
The Gift of Time
If none of these gift-giving options appeal to you, consider giving the gift of time. Make time to bake cookies, watch a movie, take walks, or chat on the phone.
The holidays don’t need to include towers of boxes under the Christmas tree. The best gifts are often spending time with those we love.