Gift giving for minimalists

Ever since I decided to declutter and live a minimalistic life style, I’ve been thinking about how to keep the clutter from returning. One part of it is letting people around me know that “stuff” is not on my holiday wish list any longer.

I don’t need another shirt, more electronics, or the latest perfume. As a minimalist, you already own the fewest amount of items needed to serve a purpose and bring you joy.

Instead let’s give each other gifts that have meaning, bring joy, and add value to our lives (or at the very least, lets the recipient decide when and what to do with it).

This guide can be applied to birthdays, holidays, showers, or any other gift giving occasion. So, here is some advice on how to give meaningful gifts to a minimalist as well as gifts a minimalist can give while staying true to themselves. This is how you give meaningful gifts to others.




Listen Intentionally

It makes gift giving easy when you took some notes during the great conversations you had with family and friends. You know, the little hints and wishes they mention throughout the year. Write them down in a little notebook or make a note in your phone under their contact info about what they would enjoy. This has two main benefits: One, the person will realize that you really notice them; that you pay attention to the conversations you have. Two, since they probably already forgot about the thing they said they wanted back in February, it makes the gift more of a surprise.

My family mention little wishes all year long. I usually pick the one I believe will bring lasting joy, value, and meaning into their lives.

The same can go for my family, I am sure I have mentioned throughout the year that stuff is not important to me. If they would like to give me a gift anyway, make it something that I can decide what to do with it or something that people can do with me. A lot of people think that gift giving to a minimalist is very complicated, but it really isn’t:

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Gifts that are Intentional and Meaningful

Here are some ideas for gifts that most people will agree are meaningful. These are things that will add value to people’s lives without adding clutter.

Time: so, things that fall under this category would include family dinners, surprise parties, day trips, and any other type of activity you can do with people you love or care about. These are the things that the recipient will remember years later. What else could you give someone as valuable as great memories?

Personal Gifts: pictures, paintings (especially from your kids), things that are handmade or crafted. These mean so much more than some last second purchase because you took time out of your busy days to make something special for someone. It’s even better if it serves a purpose. e.g. creating a soap, knitting a scarf, or a coupon book made by your kids (e.g. a coupon for them to do laundry or dishes).

Selfcare Gifts: are great as well. These gifts include things like coupons for the nail/hair salon, massages, or a little day/weekend trip with your loved one or best friend.

– If you are not creative or don’t have the time to go on trips but you want to give something; you can consider money or gift-cards. The recipient can decide if they would like to save up the money for a trip or put it in the savings account for the children. Gift cards can be used for books or needed items that make the person happy; things they consider useful.

Selfless: Give to people that need it more. Let’s get some family members or friends together to help other people. You can go to your local soup kitchen, prepare gift bags for the homeless, put together care packages for the Troops, or just participate in the Angel Tree.


Avoid a “Stuff” Overload

Since we started the Minimalism lifestyle, we constantly have decluttering sessions, especially before the holidays. We throw out, donate, or sell items we don’t need anymore. My children even help go through their toys and closets to do the same. We also started a rule that for every new item we get, something else has to go. This especially helps with the toy and clothing clutter. (We implemented this rule because my children still love to get toys for their birthdays and Christmas and that is fine.)


Well, I hope I was able to give you some new ideas on how to give meaningful gifts this year. You should now be better at giving gifts that any minimalist would be thrilled to receive. In fact, these gifts will actually be perfect for anyone who truly appreciates the “thought” more than the “thing”. Just remember, it’s about “value”, not “cost”.

I would love to hear about your ideas and experiences about gift giving and how you handle it in your family. If you have any questions or need some advice, you can always contact me.


Happy giving,




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4 thoughts on “Gift giving for minimalists

    1. I am glad found some help in it. I feel so much better to stick to what is really important especially on the holidays. I would love to hear about how your holidays went this year and exchange some experience.

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