Last Updated on March 22, 2023
It’s challenging to find perfect gifts for people who already have everything they want. I’m talking about those who choose to live with very few possessions. To keep your gift out of their white elephant dumpster, here are a few tips on 2023’s best gift ideas for men and women who identify as minimalists.
Before we dive in, however, I’ve got a confession — I’m a minimalist myself, so it feels strange to be compiling a long list of things to give to people who don’t want a lot of stuff in their lives! But, irony aside, I’ve tried to focus on gifts that are likely to come across as thoughtful, useful, and on-target.
Men and women with the “less-is-more” lifestyle don’t always value things so much as experiences — high-quality consumables, subscriptions, travel, stylish but versatile clothing, and other choices that reflect their simpler lifestyle. Give them quality essentials and they’ll know you see them for who they are. Being ‘seen’ may just be the best gift of all!
So when shopping for a picky someone, consider one of these gift ideas for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, vacation travel, or other special occasions. Here’s my best advice for the best gifts for minimalists in 2023.
Table of Contents: Gifts for Minimalists
- Rules for Minimalist Gift Buying
- Clothing & Accessories
- Practical Stuff
- Minimalist Travel Essentials
- Books & Audiobooks
- Consumable Gifts
- Memberships, Gift Cards & Experiences
- Final Thoughts: Gifts for Minimalists
I was raised as a packrat but came to see that the more things I owned, the more those things owned me. In recent years, I’ve cut way back on retail therapy binges by remembering what works best when giving and receiving gifts:
1. If You’re Going to Buy A Minimalist Clothing, They’d Better Love it
The minimalists I know own fewer items of clothing than most of us, so they emphasize high-quality, versatile, durable, and stylish stuff. Pay close attention to what they choose to wear.
Instead of getting them a pair of novelty socks or a goofy tie they’ll never wear, consider buying garments that you know will match their minimalist lifestyle. If you have any doubts, consider purchasing an accessory like sandals or a belt instead.
2. If You’re Buying a Minimalist a Thing, They’d Better Need it
Don’t be shy about asking people what they need. Not only will you avoid getting something they already have or don’t need, but they’ll see that you care about their lifestyle.
Remember, minimalists are everyday people. They just prioritize making do with less. That doesn’t mean they don’t need specific items. This list is focused on practical stuff for those with fewer belongings.
3. Buy Minimalists Things They Can Eat & Drink
It’s simple: we all have to eat, and we cherish our most memorable meals. So when you give someone the gift of tasty food & drink, it’s a gentle nod that you understand their discerning lifestyle. From homemade to haute cuisine, the best is always appreciated.
Treat them to a great restaurant, a nice bottle of wine, or even beef jerky subscriptions. Gifts like these can cover a lot of bases, so ask your minimalist friends what kinds of food or drink tickles their fancy.
4. Minimalists Love Gift Cards, Memberships, and Experiences
When a loved one buys me a gift card, it probably doesn’t mean they’re taking the easy way out with a lazy gift. Instead, it lets me know that they understand me and my lifestyle. I can carefully choose something I need and will use, rather than setting aside the item they chose.
Minimalists also love memberships and experiences because, first and foremost, these are not ‘things.’ They don’t clutter a minimalist’s life. To avoid the risk of buying them an off-target item, consider giving them a membership or experience.
5. If a Gift Can Simplify A Minimalist’s Life, Look No Further
People with modest lifestyles don’t get there by accident. It’s usually the result of carefully calculated habits and time management. Overall, minimalists value their time and constantly look for ways to set aside more of it for meaningful purposes.
A gift that simplifies daily processes or habits is the ultimate “I get you” statement for those modest folk in your life.
Minimalists love simple, well-fitting clothing that’ll pair well with the rest of their wardrobe. Below, I’ve included some of my favorite clothing brands and accessories for those who want to add some simple style to their closet.
Wool&Prince (Men) or Wool& (Women) Clothing
Minimalist travelers pack fewer clothes and therefore need garb that’s odor-resistant. Wool&Prince checks all the boxes by offering premium wool clothes that are stylish, versatile, and sweeter smelling. Help your traveling friend stretch the time between their washer loads without offending others!
Sleek, simple, and ultra-comfortable Xero Shoes can make people think they’re wearing clouds, not shoes. And when you’re walking all day, navigating streets and concourses, that’s a blessing. Xero Shoes supportive design promotes a healthy and fluid walking motion that syncs with a simpler lifestyle.
We previously compiled this list of the best barefoot sandals for running, hiking, and travel. If the minimalist in your life is an open-toed sort, they’ll love one of these airy sandals. They’re lighter than regular shoes, have roomy toeboxes, and help keep your feet cool and blister-free.
Complex smartwatches aren’t for everyone, so consider giving your minimalist traveler a tried-and-true analog watch as a simpler alternative. Seniors especially love these since they grew up talking about “o’clocks” and writing in cursive. Weird! That aside, check out this minimalist watch from Fossil.
Minimalist Wallet for Men
A bulky, inefficient wallet is an overstuffed lump in your pocket that cramps your style and hurts your posture. The traveler in your life will thank you for this slim wallet from The Ridge that will allow him to keep all his cards, cash, and ID in a smaller and elegant package. Simplicity rules!
Minimalist Wallet for Women
Minimalist women don’t want purses like my Grandma’s with its load of gum, bobby pins, bandaids, a bible, and other contents of the black hole. This much simpler and organized budget buy holds the essentials and not a speck more. Now, isn’t that a metaphor for the life we all aspire to? I think so.
Darn Tough Wool Socks
It’s inevitable — we all buy socks as gifts at some point, but why not choose those rated for a lifetime of use? No more big toes sticking out, no thin spots on the heels, and no sagging elastic uppers. Darn Tough makes socks with lifetime warranties that also stay odor-free far longer than most. Boom, gifted.
“Practical” is always welcomed by minimalists for every occasion from birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Father’s/Mother’s Day, and major holidays. Practical items make everyone’s lives a little easier, which is always a good thing.
AirPods Pro 2
A tangle of cords? Nobody wants that. Give the gift of untangled audio bliss with Apple Airpods Pro headphones. And while you’re at it, why not get extra credit by pairing these with an annual Spotify subscription? Give a great pair of gifts like these and no one will blame you if you bask in the gratitude.
Journaling can be rewarding, especially for minimalists. They can organize their thoughts on paper, which may be what led them to a simpler lifestyle in the first place. Encourage the habit with the old-school gift of a high-quality journal. They’ll feel duty-bound to write only nice things about you.
Life’s too short for cheap, messy, and unreliable pens, especially when journaling. Choose something silky-smooth and versatile for your less-is-more friend. Fisher Space Pens write upside down, underwater, and through butter. A joy to use, and rumored to promote a zen state of mind. What’s not to like?
Titanium Aurora Water Bottle
Single-use plastic containers suck. Long-lived water bottles like the Titanium Aurora are part of the solution. They come in a rainbow of colors as well as double-wall insulated models for hot or cold liquids. There’s even a sake bottle model. Practical, lightweight, and perfectly suited to minimalism.
Handmade All Natural Candles
Men, women, and children — a flickering candle can captivate and calm us by shifting our focus to living in the moment. That’s a fairly good definition of minimalism. Relax, and listen to the whispering flame. And then there’s the clean aroma of melting beeswax, my personal favorite. Inhale deeply.
Plants are quiet and soothing companions that don’t demand our attention the way pets do. Plants enrich our living spaces, and tending them is a metaphor for simple living. (Disclaimer: I am, however, not a pacifist when it comes to the dandelions in my front yard. Those I tend to in a very different way.)
Bare essential travelers are obsessed with shedding as much as possible, especially when traveling. Here are several minuscule gifts for the nimble traveler in your life:
Traveling with too much stuff means paying exorbitant gate fees or having to check your bags at the airport. Minimalists often opt for a single carry-on to avoid nasty fees as well as the freedom to leave the terminal immediately, while everyone else waits at the luggage carousel. Check these out:
Packable Day Pack
Talk about minimal! This tiny packable daypack compresses down to fit inside your coat pocket. And since it’s waterproof, packable, and practical, it’s a very thoughtful present for a shrewd and unpretentious traveler. Many folks use such bags on their trip home, for packing souvenirs and gifts.
A friend dropped his passport while getting into a cab in Chile. He eventually found it (shredded) and now has this RFID-blocking full-grain leather holder to avoid a repeat. For savvy travelers constantly on the go, this passport holder is a convenient, must-have safeguard as they race hither and yon.
PackTowl Travel Towel
A lightweight and versatile microfiber towel can trim a lot of bulk from a travel bag. Bulky cotton towels don’t work for one-bag travel, so frequent fliers almost never pack them. Instead, they grab compact, cushy and very functional towels like this one to dry off. Someone you know will love this.
Wallet Kickstand Thingie
This is a useful and lightweight accessory for digital nomads. It’s a wallet-sized kickstand/easel thingie that lets you prop up your phone or tablet next to your laptop. It also works well for taking on-the-go zoom calls or watching movies, MMA bouts, or YouTube cat videos on cramped airplane tray tables.
Mini Toiletries Kit
Single-use plastics are a planetary cancer. Don’t trust your personal care items to resealable sandwich bags — this mini-toiletries kit from Sea-to-Summit is reusable and will keep those disposable bags out of the landfill. This is sturdy, transparent, and TSA-approved, so it’s very carry-on friendly.
Books make great gifts for minimalists. They are the gift of knowledge and can also allow people to escape their mundane surroundings by teleporting their imagination to a zillion different places without ever leaving their chairs.
Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Just because someone has dedicated their life to living with less doesn’t mean they’ve perfected the craft. In my experience, minimalism is a life-long learning process that requires periodic refreshers. This book reminds us how to declutter and keep things pointed in the right direction over the years.
Everyone’s guilty of staring at their phones and getting stuck in zombie doomscrolling and consumerism. This book by Cal Newport explores practical ways to declutter and gain control of your digital life, which can be a key element in regaining control of your personal time and purpose.
The Joy of Less
If you know someone just starting out as a minimalist, or simply wanting to hone the craft, The Joy of Less offers excellent insights into the positive aspects of simplifying. Author Francine Jay explains how choosing to have less actually gives you more: More time, more insight, and more freedom.
Essential: Essays by the Minimalists
Don’t want to read an entire book on minimalism? Here’s a collection of the best essays from TheMinimalists.com, and it’s a masterclass on simplicty and core values. It’s full of practical everyday techniques from successful 30- and 40-somethings who have gotten off the hamster wheel and back to basics.
No one wants to overthink their lives, but it’s a hard habit to break. Don’t obsess and complicate things — read this and rediscover your deeply-held values that are currently buried under mental chatter. Author Nick Trenton shares practical tips for achieving more focus and less noise in your head.
This book focuses on tiny changes that produce remarkable results. Author James Clear asks (and answers) the key questions: What sparks good habits? What drags us down into bad ones? This book taught me that rock-solid habits give me more time going forward by making small but effective changes now.
Walden, or Life in the Woods
When pondering minimalism, Henry David Thoreau often springs to mind. But all too often, his 1854 classic book about escaping to the simplicity of nature is ‘more revered than read,’ so why not give the gift of his full insights? Let your deep thinker friends read the whole thing and decide for themselves.
We all crave good food, drink, and other consumables that can bring a little joy to our day. Here are some of the best options to consider if you’re searching for a gift that won’t gather dust or get tossed in a closet shortly after you give it.
Bean Box Coffee Subscription
Very few are immune to the seductive aroma of coffee. I know I can’t live without it. A premium coffee subscription can deliver that sweet nectar every month. Give them the gift of focus, and check out this service from Bean Box. (Fun fact: the Finns drink three times more coffee than Americans.)
Love the idea of a morning jolt of focus but don’t want the jitters that can come from the caffeine in coffee? Try Mud WTR. It’s made from organic herbs, spices, and mushrooms as a healthy alternative for people sensitive to caffeine. It’s also appealing to people trying to broaden their horizons.
Daily Harvest Healthy Food Box
Minimalists who live clean and simple lives will assuredly appreciate clean and simple food sent straight to their doorstep. Give them the gift of healthy and delicious convenience with a Daily Harvest gift box that’s full of easy-to-prepare smoothies, bowls, bakes, flatbreads, and more.
Everyone has room for chocolate in their lives. If someone you love enjoys it, grab this organic fair-trade chocolate sampler. It’s delightfully delicious. Plus, chocolate can always be rationalized as being rich in antioxidants, etc., etc. As if anyone needed yet another reason to love chocolate!
Pass up that pair of hilarious Michael Scott socks from The Office in favor of a top-shelf bottle of wine that’s delivered monthly. It’s even more special when shared with a friend over chocolate and cheese. Yet more proof that high-quality consumables are the kind of experiences that minimalists treasure.
Dr. Bronner’s Sampler Pack
I gift Dr. Bronners because a little bit goes a long way. That fits the lifestyle of many minimalist travelers committed to packing the bare minimum. It’s an iconic, practical, and versatile soap that makes a statement. Plus, reading the entire label will help you pass the time while waiting for your flight.
JerkyGent Beef Jerky Subscription
A subscription for beef jerky is a gift that people can literally sink their teeth into. JerkyGent sources its beef from top artisanal jerky makers in the USA. It selects the best of the best based on your specifications and delivers it fresh to your friend’s door. Perfect with beer on a hot summer day.
Minimalists enjoy learning new skills as they rise to life’s challenges. Help them in their journey with a membership, course, or other learning experience that encourages them to enjoy the ride!
Everyone benefits from practical skills. Skillshare helps teach those skills with thousands of enticing mini-courses on topics ranging from freelancer skills for a side gig to professional audiobook narrating. It’s a thoughtful gift to help your friends get their self-development balls rolling.
Amazon Prime Membership
Love them or hate them, Amazon is focused on providing near-instant gratification. In that regard, minimalists are like all of us, eager the get their (simpler) things delivered ASAP, without shipping fees. Other perks include Prime Video and Music, making it a multi-faceted and practical gift.
Nothing resets and defrags my brain during lengthy plane or train trips like a good audiobook. With a membership from Audible, the minimalist in your life can be soothed or uplifted no matter where they are. In fact, one of my recent audiobook purchases was ‘Essays by the Minimalists,’ reviewed below.
Spotify Gift Card
Spotify supports a simpler lifestyle by playing the music people love, when and wherever they want it. If your minimalist friends don’t have this service, they’re missing the boat. No ads, no interruptions, and the world’s largest catalog of streaming music and podcasts as they travel the globe.
REI Gift Card
For outdoor junkies, a gift card from REI guarantees they’ll find something for their passion in life. (And for indoor people, REI may be the catalyst to adopt a simpler lifestyle in nature. Win/win.) REI also has a large selection of rugged, minimalist travel items, including backpacks and comfy shoes.
National Parks Pass
What simpler way is there to practice a simpler outdoor lifestyle than with a National Parks Pass? Parlay your sleeping bag purchase into a week in Rocky Mountain National Park or one of 63 other US parks. When it comes to memorable experiences, nothing tops the majesty of these national treasures.
Minimalists are ordinary people trying to balance the answers to two fundamental questions: Do I own my possessions? Or do they own me? By living simpler lives, minimalists emphasize their inner values rather than the sum of their shiny toys.
When you give a thoughtful gift that reflects their inner values, minimalists know that you truly ‘get them,’ and that makes them happy. And that’s the whole point of gift-giving.
Has this list of ‘the best gift ideas for minimalists in 2023’ been useful? I hope so. There’s a lot here from my wishlists, so maybe a few of these will also tickle the fancy of those special men and women in your life who choose to live modest lives unburdened by mountains of ‘stuff.’
What gifts are you thinking of giving for Christmas, birthdays, weddings, or other special occasions? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for stopping by!