We all have that one friend that it’s impossible to buy gifts for. If yours is a minimalist, I have put together a list of rules and gift ideas to help you get through this. As a minimalist myself, I know what items to recommend and the ones that you most definitely must stay away from.
Rules. What to buy or avoid buying when shopping for a minimalist
1. No home decor
There is nothing more annoying to us minimalists, than useless things that will take up space in our home. All the furniture and decor we have, went through a process of careful selection, so I wouldn’t want to receive something that doesn’t fit in. It’s a very dangerous area, don’t go there.
2. Choose recyclable packaging and stay away from disposable items
There’s a big chance that your minimalist person is also zero-waste (and possibly vegan) because these things go hand in hand. That means you should avoid plastic as much as possible, choose paper packaging and not buy something they will only use once and then throw away (for example, disposable makeup remover wipes).
3. Digital is always better
If there’s a version of that object that doesn’t take physical space, take it. In the case of a book, if the person has a Kindle, get the digital one. If it’s a DVD that’s also available online, get that one instead.
4. Money is ok
Everyone likes money, and it can come in many different forms. You can purchase a gift card, either from Amazon or from a brand that your minimalist likes. You could also pay for a month’s worth of membership they have or just give them the money. I really wouldn’t mind someone paying for my gym for a month or adding some money to my “house fund”.
5. Consumables can be a solution
Food, drink and personal care items can be a good solution because they get used. My best advice, in this case, is to get products that are vegan, gluten-free, environmentally friendly, fair trade, have recyclable packaging and are produced by ethical companies that don’t test on animals and treat their staff with dignity and decent pay. Easy, right?
6. Always put the usefulness of the product first
Never get something just because it’s cute or funny. I miss the times when my Mom got me socks for Christmas; I could really use some new socks right now.
7. Experiences, not things
When buying an item, you’ll still feel nervous about your choice. But if you know the person well, you know what they enjoy doing. I remember when my brother and his wife came to visit us last year, they gave us one of the best presents we ever got. We were preparing to run the London Marathon at the time, and they got us a post-marathon massage at a salon close to our home. They took the time to research the area, find a spa close by and buy what we needed. The also brought some goodies from the US, but the massage was better than anything else.
8. If you don’t know the person at all, don’t get them anything
It’s not only acceptable, but they would prefer it that way. They would be okay with not getting a gift even if you do know them. Alin and I stopped buying gifts for each other a while ago.
9. Focus on good quality products
We don’t like throwing things away, so try to find items that last a long time, ideally forever.
10. And if you still don’t know what to get them, make a donation to a charity
Most minimalists consider they have everything they need, so they will be thrilled to hear that you made a donation in their name.
Gift ideas for the minimalist in your life
Minimalists are still human, and they have needs and wants. If you know the person very well, you can find a useful gift that they will truly appreciate.
1. What area of their life do they want to improve?
If they want to get fit:
- PIIT28 (Pilates Intense Interval Training) is an online training programme that combines strength, flexibility and high-intensity training. Also contains a meal plan (click here for the vegan option). My review and results are in this blog post.
- Some basic home equipment (a mat, a few weights, a stability ball)
- A pack of classes or a month trial membership at the local gym
- An online membership – I can recommend Yogaia and Cody
If they want to get better with money, my e-book is a great starting point for beginner budgeters.
2. What do they enjoy doing?
If they’re a runner the possibilities are endless – compression socks, gadgets, gear, a medal hanger. However, try to find out what they need. I don’t want yet another running shirt in my wardrobe; I have plenty. If they participate in races, they probably have enough t-shirts. Long distance runners change their shoes often so consider a gift card for a sports goods store – that can cover shoes and gear. Here are my favourite running products.
If they’re into self-care, take a trip to Lush and get some soap bars or bath bombs. If you prefer online shopping, research the company you’ll buy from. You can also consider getting them a massage or spa experience.
If they like to read and don’t have an e-reader, get them a Kindle.
3. What do they need or will make their life easier?
Minimalists strive for simplicity in everything they do or have. If you ever heard your friend complaining about something that’s too complicated or time-consuming, help them find a solution with your gift.
I have two favourite products around the kitchen that make cooking and eating healthy easier: the Nutri Ninja and the Dualit Hand Mixer. Smoothies, batters, hummus, refried beans – they are all easy to make due to these two gadgets.
My bag contains a couple of things that I use daily – a planner and a reusable water bottle or thermos. A reusable cup or a thermos are great presents for minimalists because they help reduce waste. If your friend doesn’t have any yet, there’s your gift. A planner is helpful because it helps organize our thoughts and keep our to do lists in check.
Are you a minimalist? What would you like to get this Christmas? What do you hate to receive? Let me know in the comments section.
This post contains affiliate links. That means I’ll receive a small commission if you buy the product, without you paying more.