What to give a minimalist

When you think of people living a minimalist lifestyle you may think they live in houses with no furniture, bare walls and only 30 items in their wardrobe – and some might – but not us.

Living a minimalist life doesn’t have to mean we go without – through applying the principles of lagom we live with just enough – just what we need, no more, no less.

We don’t want so few things that we’re not comfortable in our home, but we also don’t want extra items in our home that don’t serve a purpose or bring a smile to our face when we look at them – regardless of who bought it/gave it, how much it cost or how long we’ve had it.

Don’t be offended if we thank you for your gift and then sell it or give it to charity the next week. We are always grateful for the thought of a gift and we don’t want to deny people the pleasure of gift giving, but if it’s not something we need, want or have a place for, we are likely to pass it on to someone else who can make use of it or enjoy it. 

This is why, for a number of years now, we’ve asked people not to buy us gifts; however, we know some people just can’t resist – so here’s our top tips for gift giving to a minimalist.

Contribute towards something big that they are saving for:

For our wedding we asked for contributions towards our honeymoon which, by the way, was the best holiday ever! We have photos up in the house which reminds us of the wonderful guests that contributed towards that awesome experience.

Give a gift voucher for their favourite store:

Some might think this a boring or easy choice, but often it means that they can spend a little extra on something they wouldn’t usually get.

For Christmas James’ son has bought us a voucher for the zero-waste store we shop at (we had to open it early as he thought it expired in January – turns out it was January 2022). Yes, we go there every week, but we normally just buy the essentials – with a gift voucher we can now buy something that we enjoy but that we wouldn’t normally buy or don’t necessarily need.

Give a donation to a charity they support:

If there is a charity or cause that they support, why not make a donation to it on their behalf – it doesn’t have to be a lot – but knowing that you have made a donation to something that they care for will be really appreciated and so many people will benefit from that gift.

Give consumables: 

You can’t go far wrong with buying something to eat or drink, especially if it can be shared with the gift giver! Candles or plastic free smellies are always nice too – for my (Amy’s) 40th birthday my brother and sister-in-law bought some lovely plastic free soaps and lip balm which can be enjoyed over time and my friend bought a beautiful organic candle in a glass jar which can definitely be re-purposed after.

Give an experience:

For us it is always better to do something than to have something and sharing an experience with friends and family is the best. Take us for dinner or invite is round to spend the day – we love that much more than a physical item.

For Christmas, instead of gifts, we ask that our family bring something for the Christmas table and we host a dinner for everyone. For my 40th birthday my colleagues chipped together and bought us a night away in an eco-hotel in Bournemouth. Whilst we haven’t been able to experience it yet, it is something wonderful to look forward to next year.

Give something they need:

Why not ask if there is something they specifically want or need. Yes, you lose the element of surprise, but at least you know it will be well received.

My Mum asked what I wanted for my 40th birthday and I asked for some new PJs as a pair I had finally gave up the ghost after uhum… a number of years! Not the most exciting 40th birthday gift some may argue but to me it was the best gift! It was something I wanted, had a place for and will get a lot of use from. I love them and look forward to getting into them after a long day at work. 

If you have any other ideas for minimalist gifts, please let us know in the comments below.

Want to know more about living lagom?

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