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A Minimalist’s Guide to Gift-Giving

There are some things without which Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas – Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas is You, Elf and, of course, presents!

Gifts are such as an intrinsic part of the holiday season and, for many, the most stressful and financially burdensome part. According to a Gallup poll, adults are expected to spend over $900 per person on presents this season, with total holiday spending exceeding $1 trillion. And after all that time, stress and money, most of your presents don’t have a happy ending. Around $90 billion worth of unwanted items will be sent back, generating five million pounds of trash every year.

This year, instead of that drugstore perfume or itchy sweater, think like a minimalist and give the gift of holiday cheer and meaningful memories. Here are some ideas that will please both the minimalists and maximalists in your life.


More so than material presents, experiences create memories that last a lifetime. Gifting experiences, especially ones that you and your loved ones can do together, are more meaningful for everyone. And, best of all, the possibilities are endless:

  • – Tickets to shows, concerts, festivals, plays, musicals and wine tours
  • – Passes to yoga classes, time on the golf course, an escape room, archery classes or scuba diving lessons
  • – Spa packages, a massage, manicure or pedicure
  • – Once in a lifetime experiences like a holiday, hot-air balloon ride or skydiving
  • – Memberships or one-time tickets to museums and art galleries

Digital Gifts

Digital gifts are so versatile and are perfect for any last-minute stragglers. You can find something for everyone on your list:

  • – Subscription to streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Crave or Spotify
  • – For the readers in your life, a subscription to Audible and Kindle unlimited or individual audio and ebooks. You can also get      them a subscription to their favourite magazine or online publication
  • – Make a payment to their favourite YouTuber or podcaster’s Patreon, so they can get access to exclusive content
  • – Practical subscriptions to services like Dropbox, Adobe products, fitness apps, or password managers

Edible Gifts

While not entirely minimalist, edible gifts can easily be tailored to everyone’s preferences and save you some money if you take the homemade route. 

  • – Gourmet coffee or hot chocolate
  • – Wine
  • – Homemade cookies, pies or cakes
  • – Artisanal sauces, jellies and jams
  • – Chocolate and candy
  • – Gift baskets from their favourite bakery

Charitable Gifts

One of the most thoughtful ways to celebrate the season of giving is giving in your loved one’s name. There are endless possibilities and so many worthy causes to support. You can start by researching organizations that support causes your loved one cares about – such as environmental organizations, animal welfare or refugee assistance – and make a one-time or monthly donation in their name. 

Workshops and Learning

This is perfect for those on your list who are looking to learn a new skill or someone looking for a totally unique experience. 

  • – Workshops or classes that are quirky or just for fun, such as cake decorating, pottery or ukulele lessons 
  • – Individual classes or subscriptions to educational platforms like Skillshare, udemy and Masterclass

Rida Ahmed