10 Non-Materialistic Gift Ideas for Minimalists

When we think of a gift, we automatically think of going to a store, scanning the aisles for something our recipient might like, then usually opting to purchase them something impressive and expensive (depending on your relationship with the person).

Some people truly enjoy the gift selection process (which is wonderful!) but ultimately it costs us time, money, and oftentimes a lot of brain power to select a good gift.

10 Non-Materialistic Gift Ideas for Minimalists

If you’re lucky enough to have a family member or friend who’s a minimalist, though, then their birthday doesn’t warrant another long, expensive trip to your local department store. Minimalists prefer gifts that are practical or simple.

It’s no secret that our beloved minimalists are very anti-clutter, so the more versatile, functional, and compact the gift, the better. 

Otherwise, you could always just get them nothing... Well, not exactly “nothing” but something besides a physical object. In other words, a non-materialistic gift! When was it last that you considered purchasing a gift that doesn’t require a gift bag or wrapping?

Did you know that you could give a non-material gift?! Non-materialistic gift ideas are perfect for the cherished minimalist in our lives, or for any holiday where you’ve simply run out of gift ideas (it happens to the best of us).

1. A personal trainer

This one is, admittedly, on the more pricey side as it’ll likely cost you monthly or by the hour. However, the possible benefits are incredible for someone you know who’s been struggling to stay on their physical health routine.

Hire a trainer according to your budget, or make it exciting by signing them up for a Zumba class. Yoga is also a wonderful physical wellness practice for all people.

This is great for older people, like moms or dads, that you want to encourage to stay fit and healthy. It’s also a caring gift for anyone that you personally know struggles with their body image where it pertains to their size or shape.

No clutter and an emphasis on the importance of physical fitness—a win-win!

2. A day trip

“Trip” automatically sounds expensive, but the purpose of a day trip is to be a simple getaway opportunity to bond with others. There’s a fair mix of absolutely free activities and things that cost a little more, but they’re all equally fun, and all about you and your company.

Drive to a scenic destination and host a picnic, spend the day at an amusement park, or relax at your closest beach. 

Professionals could benefit from a day trip; take your office crew out to team-build and boost morale. Or take your best friend to an art exhibit and take funny (but appropriate) pictures with the displays.

Spend the day with your child(ren) exploring a side of your city you’ve never been to before—go to a new park and enjoy a meal at a new local restaurant. 

3. A long-distance trip

Now, this idea might actually be a bit more expensive because of the grander scale of it. The kind of trip we’re referring to here will normally take more than a day and involve more than one specific activity or destination.

If you’re looking to put that holiday bonus to good use, then instead of handing out physical gifts, spend a few days away from home with your family or friend group. “Trip” is such a broad term that it leaves plenty of room for the imagination.

Everything from a cruise to sightseeing a few cities over could be a trip. What’s important is to pick a destination that would be enjoyable for everyone and go!

Take your minimalist sister on a road trip to the Grand Canyon for her birthday. Or take the kids on a discovery trip to explore the historic wealth of Delaware, the country’s first state.

Needless to say, anyone would be more ecstatic to have a serene or action-packed vacation rather than a new bath set—which leads us seamlessly into our next gift idea.

4. A self care package

Not a physical one! More like a treat to some self-care activities. Pay for a package at a spa where your loved one can enjoy a sauna, a massage, acupuncture, a nice warm aromatherapy bath, or all of the above!

Enjoy it with them if you want to incorporate some bonding time into your gift. If you and/or your target is a spiritualist, consider booking a reiki massage or chakra balancing.

If your loved one is into cosmetics, think about paying for them to get their hair styled and/or a mani-pedi. A facial massage is a soothing destressor that leaves you glowing!

If they’re open to it, encourage them to try something new such as a new hair color or style, or possibly some additions they’ve never tried like eyelash extensions or acrylic nails. Turn it into a fun adventure by going in with them—get matching hair colors or quirky nail designs!

5. A language class/online course

Let’s get a little more technical. Learning a new language can take you a long way culturally, socially, and financially. Bilingual people have a whole new world of jobs and career opportunities open to them.

It can also give you a new level of understanding of a group of people that are different from you. You can socialize with more people, engage in more activities, and thrive in a new environment outside of yours.

Book your loved one a language course at the local community college or recreation center. Or, even better, hire them a private language tutor. There’s a vast array of online language programs that you can purchase for you minimalist friend.

If you generally know someone who’s been expressing interest in learning a new language, speed up their path to their goal by hooking them up with some expert language software.

6. A class to develop their hobby

Speaking of classes, all of us know someone who is ecstatic about something—why not book them a class to enhance their skill or knowledge! If they’re simply interested in a new hobby, sign them up for a beginner level course so they can dip their toe into their potential-passion.

Moderate and advanced level courses are available for people who are familiar with their passion and wish to sharpen their skills. Above all, you know for a fact that they’ll enjoy it!

If you want some ideas to try as a pair or group, create things (and make a mess) together in a woodworking, pottery, or jewelry-making class.

Make each other laugh in an acting class, or tune into your inner equestrian with a horseback riding class. Have fun, cherish each other’s company, and learn something new!

7. An indoor recreational activity

Get extreme—but not too extreme—with some indoor recreational activities. Go to a trampoline center and have a trick contest. Indoor rock climbing is a fun, yet physically and mentally demanding activity. If you’re really daredevils, how about an indoor skydiving session.

In recent years, rage rooms have become popular. Rage rooms are a crazy fun time and a good way to blow off steam. Though not physical, escape rooms are an entertaining way to flex your brain muscles. Hop on Groupon and see what amusing activities await near you!

8. Tickets for a sports game/concert

Dealing with a sports fan or music junkie? Then it’s likely that nothing would make them happier than tickets to see their favorite sports team or music icon in person. Get your music enthusiast a pair of concert tickets for them and the plus-one of their choice.

Your favorite football fan would be excited by a couple tickets to see their home team play. Gift them with an unforgettable experience complete with riotous memories of merrymaking and partying!

9. An I.O.U.

Handmake or print out a coupon book that your loved one can redeem to you, at any time, for perks of your choice. These coupons could be for something casual like “1 manicure by me” or “1 coffee, my treat”.

They can also be more personal favors like a massage or bath. The variety of the coupons should, of course, be appropriate to your relationship with the target.

However, depending on your relationship with them, you can make your DIY coupons as helpful or as spicy as you like!

10. A dessert 

Okay it’s technically a physical thing, but it’s a consumable! It won’t sit around long enough to be called clutter, and our favorite desserts simply make us very happy.

A sweet treat gives your beloved minimalist something to look forward to at the end of the day for a week to come (if it lasts that long!). Unless your target is dieting or has food restrictions, bake something warm and sweet for them to eat with a cup of wine and their favorite book before bed. 

The truth about materialistic gifts

When asked earlier, “Did you know that you could give a non-materialistic gift?”, most people, surprisingly, would answer no!

It’s not common that we think of a present and don’t picture a toy or game, appliance, clothing, trinket, jewelry, or a device of some kind.

However, if you’ve ever (appropriately) gifted a minimalist, it was probably something that didn’t have to sit around their home. 

Material gifts turn into, what they consider, clutter if minimalists hang onto them, especially things that they don’t need. And that’s nothing to be insensitive about. Most minimalists are looking to downsize their wardrobe, so clothes generally aren’t a great idea either.

A minimalist’s personal space is vital to how they operate their lives. A space filled with the minimal amount of unnecessary items allows them to stay organized and tidy. Consequently, they’re more creative, productive, and possess healthier habits!

When you’re considering a gift for a minimalist, you should be respectful of the boundaries of their lifestyle, as you would with anyone else.

Maximize the awesomeness of your minimalist gift by making it something that contributes to their health, wellness, knowledge, or adds to their wealth of experiences!

Non-materialistic gifts focus on improving a person, or even a relationship. Your simplistic loved one would benefit from these kinds of gifts a lot more, and so might you!

The recipient will be so in love with these non-materialistic gift ideas that you’ll be asking for them yourself! They’re honestly leagues better than a trinket or gadget, and they add some spice to the conventional gift-giving game.

Non-physical presents also show that you care about the recipient more than just the tradition of just passing something off to them.

Prep for your first minimalist Xmas; show how much you love your best friend’s lectures about how great minimalism is; or calm the “what-to-get-them” nerves by trying the ideas on this list!

Final Notes

Here, there are suggestions of ways to incorporate yourself in your loved one’s gift; the most valuable thing you can give your special someone is your time.

If they’re constantly bombarded with life’s responsibilities (i.e. kids, work a demanding job, school, family obligations, running a business, special obligations) then, perhaps, they could use these activities as some much-needed alone time to relax and fully decompress.

But if you know they’d enjoy your company, opt to enjoy their gift with them!

Your minimalist family member, friend, or colleague will absolutely appreciate these non-materialistic gift ideas. The list of non-physical ways you can contribute to their lives is inexhaustible.

Don’t panic come gifting time; show your minimalist some love (the right way) this holiday season or this birthday by gifting them an experience, knowledge, health—something that’ll contribute to their lives!

Photo of author

Connect: Social

Author

minimalistathome

Hey! I'm Cori, and I've been a minimalist for as long as I can remember. I started this blog to share my thoughts on minimalism, my life & how decluttering my home has benefitted me.

Read more from minimalistathome