15 Gifts For The Minimalist Who Values Thoughtful Gifts & Experiences

For Those Who Value Thoughtful Gifts & Experiences

The science is clear: experiences makes us far happier than things. Experiential gifts are a wonderful way to give a gift that keeps on giving and is the perfect choice for our minimalist friends who reject the idea of owning more things and would prefer to instead experience something new. From cooking classes to nationwide museum and yoga memberships, here are 15 of our favorite ideas for giving an experiential gift this holiday. 

If you are looking for ethically made and fair trade gifts this holiday season, also check out our 2017 guides to Gifts That Give Back {For Women} and Gifts That Give Back {For Men}.

1. Embracing Self Care

2017 weighed heavy in our hearts, between natural disasters affecting millions to attacks on human rights worldwide. We know that in order to be our best, most conscious selves, we need self-care for ourselves and our loved ones. Consider gifting classes for mindful meditation like MNDFL in New York City, or an aromatherapeutic experience with essential oils from Banyan Tree or Sunyata. Whether you create an oasis at home or venture out for a relaxing experience, it will be so worth it.

2. Give In Someone's Name

Giving to a nonprofit in honor of someone you care about is one of the most thoughtful ways to celebrate the season of giving. There is no shortage of impactful organizations for the cause of your (or your loved one’s) choice: iFundWomen is a crowdfunding platform dedicated to women entrepreneurs, Unidos por Puerto Rico for much-needed disaster relief, or the Sierra Club for the eco-friendly advocate in your life.

3. Gifts For The Fierce Feminist

Women are powerful, inspiring, informed, and most of all, deserving of the most thoughtful gifts around. For the feminist in your life (hi Mom!), here are some options to remind them just how magical they really are:

  • Back-Up Box: 5-7 items chosen to inspire, recharge, and relax. 10% of proceeds benefit humanitarian organizations, and items are chosen from women owned businesses.

  • Kimothy Joy: Prints from well-known women leaders and feminists, including Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton. Spice up your decor with these gorgeously designed quotes.

  • Feminist Icon Cross Stitch: Take on a new skill and celebrate daring, strong women with this book of lessons and tutorials.

4. Subscription To Conscious Living-Focused Magazines

With so many of us constantly on the move, it’s easy to forget that we need to slow down and enjoy a good article every now and then. Magazines can be the gifts that keep on giving - you’ll be pleasantly surprised when they show up at your door every few months. Whether you’re reading on your commute or keeping for your coffee table, these conscious-living magazines will remind you to savor these slow moments and sip (not gulp) the coffee: Darling Magazine, DRIFT, and Cereal.

5. Nationwide Museum Membership

We all have the one person in our life who is constantly moving, but don’t worry - we found the perfect gift for them. The North American Reciprocal Museum (NARM) Association offers a nationwide museum membership, that works with over 800 institutions in the US, Bermuda, Canada, and Mexico to provide members with reciprocal benefits! Score free visits, museum coupons, and discounts on tours and lectures for weekends filled with art and culture. Visit their website to find your local affiliated organization for a membership.

6. Ethical Fashion's Own Personal Stylist

Working women on the go don’t always have time to shop - and when we do, it’s hard to find the most ethical choices at our local malls and shops. Let us introduce you to Wearwell - a personal styling service that combines both your style and your desired impact. Consider it the Stitch Fix or Trunk Club of the ethical fashion world, and the gift everyone will be bragging about for all of 2018.

7. Botanical Garden Membership

If someone you love lives in a major metropolitan area and they are yearning to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, a membership to the local botanical garden might just be the perfect gift. Botanical gardens in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Denver offer memberships starting as low as $40, that provide unlimited annual visits, discounts, and free year-round parking. They can take a Sunday stroll, meditate amongst the flowers and trees, or find that perfect natural snapshot, all within their area.

8. Photobook For The Aspiring Photographer

Driven in part by our love of Pinterest and Instagram, we are taking photos now more than ever before. For the person in your life who cherishes lifelong memories through photographs, we love Artifact Uprising’s photobooks. Using recycled pages and reclaimed materials when possible, and made in the USA, their handcrafted photo albums will be a family heirloom for years to come. Their ultra-thick pages that lay completely flat and hand-stamped covers will stay intact, as it is passed down through generations.

9. The Wine Club That Gives Back

Still not sure what to get your boss that he’ll appreciate, or your mother-in-law who’s very specific with her wine preferences? Look no further than Winc, the wine club formerly known as Club W. Winc is more than just a company devoted to chardonnays and pinot noirs - they are committed to the grape-to-glass supply chain and sustainability. Their gift options range from seasonal choices, to the classic duo, to a red wine tasting for two - the possibilities are endless for the wine connoisseur in your life.

10. Yoga Membership

After gluttonous meals and stress from the holidays, some of us are in need of relaxation along with a dose of exercise - and we know just what you’re searching for. Both Core Power Yoga and YogaWorks provide gift cards and memberships nationwide to their classes, aiming to empower you long after you roll out your mat. Strengthen your body, inhale deep positive breathes, and relax your mind, just in time for the new year.

11. Book Of The Month

Reading a good book can be an enlightening experience all on its own. With services like CrateJoy’s Cozy Reader Club, you can enjoy the true bliss of cuddling up with a new novel. Or, bring Book of the Month to your closest gal pals and gather once a month to discuss your latest and greatest read. With Book of the Month, you can choose from their 5 carefully-selected books each month spanning a variety of genres, so you’ll always be growing your bookshelf.

12. Give It A Go: Workshops And Classes

We all remember that hobby we said we’d try in 2017 but never got around to. Well, not this time around! Gift you and a friend unique workshops and classes you’ll enjoy together - what’s better than quality time spent doing something engaging? Bonus points if you support a local business.

Channel your inner bartender for mixology classes like Apotheke’s Prohibition Era workshop, learn Ukelele via Skype, or get your wetsuit on for private surf lessons in Santa Monica.

13. Affordable Mini-Adventures: Walking Tours

We find ourselves living in areas for so long, yet we know little to nothing about their history or culture. Support your local small business and get to know your stomping grounds a little better with a walking tour - our favorites for 2017 include the Ghost and Haunted House Tours in New Orleans, the DC Metro Food Tour, Alternative London Tours, and local food or brewery tours based on the culinary delights of your particular city. More often than not, you’ll find that these are reasonably inexpensive, sometimes even free with a “give what you’d like” option.

14. Give Back Gift Boxes

Receiving a gift box in the mail can be one of life’s best little joys. For the person in your life who may be far away, or the one that’s always thinking of others, a gift box that gives back may be the perfect option this year. Here are just a few that might resonate with you: Haute Hope for all occasions, Vertue focused on green health and beauty, and Fair Trade Friday for, you guessed it, fair trade gifts. You can find more of our favorite subscription boxes here.

15. An Eco-Friendly Getaway

By now, you know we love being mindful of people and planet. Looking to surprise your partner with a romantic vacation? Or looking to gift an unforgettable experience to the traveler in your life? Consider splurging on an eco-friendly getaway. You can plan it yourself or through services like Responsible Travel.

Here are some places and spaces we love: Check out Mohonk Mountain House in New York for a sustainable spa experience, Sleep Green in Barcelona, and AndBeyond for a luxury safari tour. If you’re thinking about heading to Europe, read our top picks for hostels committed to environmental sustainability.