10 Gifts for Minimalists (& People You’ve No Idea What to Get)

<p>There are a whole lot of people who are really annoying like me, come holidays. For those of you unfortunate souls who are stuck buying gifts for the Minimalist in your life, or the parent who says "Ohhh, I don't need anything!" Then have I got a list for you.</p>

A lot of people in my family are gifters. Even though I say I don’t need gifts for birthdays and holidays, they really want to get me something. I feel a little guilty because I know that the act of giving a gift is very meaningful to a lot of people. It’s meaningful to me, too. I love to give presents. I love to pick presents out. But for me, I don’t want anything to bring home. I don’t want any Bath and Body Works. I don’t want any Yankee candles. I don’t want any pajamas. I’m really sorry, y’all.

But it got me thinking: There are a whole lot of people who are really annoying like me, come holidays.

For those of you unfortunate souls who are stuck buying gifts for the Minimalist in your life, or the parent who says “Ohhh, I don’t need anything!” Then have I got a list for you.

(PS, some of the following are affiliate links, which adds nothing to your price, but does sling me a few cents, which goes right back into maintaining this blog.)

01. Adopt a sloth

Or an elephant. Or a tiger. Or a narwhal. Y’all, you can adopt almost ANY animal from the World Wildlife Fund The basic package is only $55, and not only do you get a super cute sloth/seahorse/rhino/wombat to wrap up for your difficult friend or family member (or to donate to a child in need), but you’re also donating to the protection and conservation of that species. Super brilliant!

Gifts for minimalists and hard to buy for people
Gifts for minimalists and hard to buy for people

02. Genetic testing

Who’s really your daddy?

I am utterly fascinated by the fact that I am probably related to the Royal Family. One day, I may be a duchess, too. #bigdreams This one’s pricier at $199 from 23andMe.com, but what a cool experience it would be to see where your DNA really comes from.

I, for one, am deeply suspect of the ratio of Portuguese my family claims.


Gifts for minimalists and hard to buy for people
Gifts for minimalists and hard to buy for people


03. Renew their subscription

You know how stoked I’d be if someone tossed me a year of CoSchedule? Thrilled would not even cover it. I know renewing someone’s Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited, Audible, Netflix, subscription isn’t very festive, but you could always buy them a beer to go with it.

And put a bow on the glass.

04. Name something after them

We’re not talking stars, here. Stars are so Big Bang.

I’m a confessed math dork — put a paradox in front of me and I won’t be able to solve it, but I’ll be fascinated for hours — so I was immediately sold on the prospect of Naming a Math Theorem After Someone (me) for £15.00. Not your cup of British tea? How about Naming a Rose (this one takes commitment; it’s £795)? Or for the real high rollers, you can Name a Whole Species ($2,500 – $10,000).

After seeing these prices, you may actually want to stick with naming a math theorem or the standard star, which will only run you $19.95-$39.95).


Gifts for minimalists and hard to buy for people
Gifts for minimalists and hard to buy for people


05. Food + alcohol

Even minimalists have to eat. It’s not glamorous, but wine, beer, whiskey, chocolate, and French truffles are rarely turned down.

I like these:

06. Buy something for their pet

I may live a life of simplicity, but do you think my cat suffers in the toy department? No, ma’am. That is one spoiled cat. She eats the finest cat food and sleeps under the covers and gets whatever she wants. And that’s just how it is.

Let’s have a moment of honesty here: My cats actively enjoy drinking from toilets. I actively dislike it. To keep them from doing it, I had to up my water bowl game. Cats (and dogs) don’t like drinking from still water. Swamp vs. stream — which would you go for? I got them a “cat fountain” to take care of that, and it’s been a real lifesaver for me, and I won’t go into why.

Pioneer Pet Raindrop Oval Stainless Steel Fountain (cat size) – $37

Pioneer Pet Big Max Stainless Steel Fountain (dog size) – $54

Catit Design Senses Fountain with Water Softening Cartridge, 3L – $25

This is the one my demons use: 

Gifts for minimalists and hard to buy for people
Gifts for minimalists and hard to buy for people

07. Upgrade their things

Underwear is always a solid choice. If it’s nice underwear, anyway. I don’t know about the ladies in your life, but I hate bra shopping and firmly believe that I’m being robbed every time I have to buy one. Which means my bras are in service probably longer than they should be.

Do I drool over those at Third Love?

Yes, I do. Do I buy them? Only when they are on sale.

Other things your Minimalist may need upgrading but has put off out of minimalism:

  • Macbook RAM (Is this just me?)
  • Car maintenance
  • Bicycle maintenance
  • Tech they love
  • Running shoes (these wear out fast!)
  • Coats/jackets
  • Cookware
  • Haircut/color/treatment
  • Camera (recording memories is awesome)

08. An experience

These are my favorite to give my mom, who is not a Minimalist, but who does her best to drive me mad like one during the holidays. I adopted a tiger for her two years ago. Last year, she got a Kindle. This year, she’s probably getting another tiger. Or one of the following:

  • Massage
  • Manicure + pedicure
  • Tickets to a Braves game
  • Tickets to a concert (if only Fleetwood Mac would come back around next year)
  • Airfare to visit me in DC (please give your loved one airfare to visit you instead)
  • Financial advice
  • Life organization services

09. Support their dreams

What does your person love? Help them do more of it.

  • Do they travel around the world? How about a donation of your frequent flyer miles?
  • Do they volunteer at the animal shelter? Help a senior dog at their shelter find a home.
  • Do they watch a lot of Netflix? See #3
  • Do they want a weekend away from the kids? You know how to babysit, right?

10. Re-gift (sort of)

Two days ago, I looked at my closet and realized that 12 of the 15 items I had hanging there I’d bought used. I love the idea of buying clothing used because not only do you get way more for your money, but you can also suddenly afford designer clothing and cashmere sweaters. It’s amazing.

My favorite site for this is ThredUp ($10 for you + $10 for me if you use that link) which is an online gently-used clothing thrift store. They don’t have gift cards, but you could always offer to pay for whatever they put in their cart up to a certain amount. There is also Swap (consignment), and WebThriftStore, which does more than clothes.

There are many other local places you can buy something for your Minimalist, too. Check antique markets, flea markets, yard sales (if weather permits in your area), and thrift stores.

Bonus: Donate to their favorite charity

It’s the season of giving, and if your loved one doesn’t want or need anything given to them, then why not give it to someone else, instead?

CharityNavigator.com ranks charities by how (well) they spend the money they receive. If you don’t have time or desire to search through that, then consider donating directly to your local animal shelter, food bank, children’s services, park preservation society, or whatever else you and your Minimalist hold dear.

Go Gift your Un-gift-able friends and family!

Whatever you give (or don’t give) your Minimalist this year, do at least give everyone you meet a warm smile for the holiday season. It’s a stressful time, and for many, a lonely time. Sometimes the best gift of all is simply being noticed.

If you enjoyed this post, consider signing up for my mailing list and/or giving me a shout in the comments to tell me which gift suggestion you liked best.

I want to hear from you!

What would you give the Minimalist in your life?

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