18 Gifts For The Minimalist Who Values Thoughtful Gifts & Experiences

For Those Who Value Thoughtful Gifts & Experiences

The science is clear: experiences make us far happier than things. Experiential gifts are a wonderful way to give a gift that keeps on giving and are the perfect choice for our minimalist friends who reject the idea of owning more things and would prefer to instead experience something new. From art classes and museum memberships to experiential artwork and transformative books, here are 18 of our favorite gifts for minimalists this holiday season.

If you are looking for ethically made and fair trade gifts this holiday season, also check out our 2018 guides to Gifts That Give Back {For Women} and Gifts That Give Back {For Men}.


1. Embracing Self Care

While 2018 has been full of beautiful moments, it has also been a difficult year. From widely-experienced mental health issues to divisive politics and attacks on human rights, we could all use a little more self care over the holiday season.

Consider gifting the one you love a mindfulness and meditation classes through an organization such as MNDFL in New York City or The School of Life. Most major cities have unique meditation and mindfulness studios for classes and workshops.

See more self-care gift ideas here!

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, Direct Relief to support Hurricane Michael relief efforts, 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:

  • Kimothy Joy: Prints of quotes from well-known women leaders and feminists, including Madeleine Albright and Maya Angelou. 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.

  • Everlane’s 100% Human Collection: Gift the feminists in your life an ethically-made hoodie or french terry sweatshirt from Everlane’s 100% Human apparel line. Proceeds from all sales go directly to rights organizations, including Equality Now and the American Civil Liberties Union.

See more feminist gift ideas here!

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 MagazineDRIFT, 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 2019.

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 AngelesNew YorkChicago, and Denver offer memberships starting as low as $50, 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 city limits.

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

Give the minimalists in your life a gift that keeps on giving by enrolling them in the Book of the Month club. We also love the MyLitBox subscription for a community-driven, quarterly subscription service celebrating writers of color. Your loved one will receive four curated boxes through the year with 2-3 book-related goodies, as well as a title by a talented and inspirational writer. Past authors have included Roxane Gay, Celeste Ng, and Angie Thomas.

12. Give It A Go: Workshops And Classes

We all remember that hobby we said we’d try in 2018 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 with Alice Bulmer via Skype, throw pottery in San Francisco, 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 2019 include the Ghost and Haunted House Tours in New Orleans, the DC Metro Food TourUnseen Tours in London, and the Gay History of New York tour. 

Local food and brewery tours based on the culinary delights of your particular city are also fantastic gifts. 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: CAUSEBOX 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 Los Feliz Lodge in Los Angeles for a chic, sustainable, and self-accommodating bungalow near East Hollywood, Le Citizen Hotel in Paris, and Vegere for a luxurious and vegan spa day in Barcelona. Prefer to stay state-side? Check out these five underrated cities in the USA.

16. Natural, Minimalist Makeup 

For the on-the-go person who prefers experiences over time spent primping, minimalist makeup is the way to go. It can be challenging though, to find simple and neutral cosmetic products that highlight natural beauty rather than alter or change a person’s appearance. That’s why we love these minimalist makeup products that are both neutral in appearance and made with natural ingredients. Mainly, they’re perfect for the person who is too busy experiencing life to be standing in front of a mirror.

Check out One Over One’s natural, organic, and minimalist hybrid balm-gloss for the perfect stocking stuffer. We’re also loyal fans of everything by W3LL PEOPLE and Hush + Dotti for an effortless and makeup-free look.

17. Experiential Decor for the Thoughtful Home

A minimal home doesn’t have to be a bare or stagnate one. Consider gifting your loved one simple, experiential decor that compliments their thoughtful space while also cultivating a warm ambiance. Like a unique macramé wallhanging to warm up a room and serve as a conversation piece during gatherings: we especially love designs from Peanut Butter & Jelly Bean and Wild Feather. 

Scents also transport us through time and space, and Carlen Parfum’s Object D’Art Candles offer a balm that both transcends and enhances one’s environment. Fragranced with a natural blend of earth’s most delicate and rugged notes, the Rose Calcine Candle is the perfect gift for creating a sacred experience in the comfort of one’s home.

18. Artwork to Inspire Wandering

Consider gifting your loved one a captured experience for the holidays. While artwork, like decor, is a material gift, it can also be incredibly experiential and emotive. Custom artwork can inspire deep feelings that vary during different seasons of life. Art can also remind us of meaningful moments in our past and help us to return to beloved places. 

For the minimalist who believes in fluid experiences and ceaseless wandering, Sam Lee creates breathtaking illustrations of the mountains. Watercolor prints by Elicia Edijanto are multi-dimensional and inspired by earth’s natural elements.


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