With so much focus on living intentionally and minimalism these days, it can be overwhelming when you want to get something for the important people in your life. You want to recognize someone special with a special item, and also keep in mind that he or she may not want anything. Here, I offer some suggestions when shopping for this kind of person in your life. Since giving gifts is a very personal experience, I will outline some basic guidelines to follow when shopping for your minimalist loved one, rather than a list of exactly what you should get him or her.
First, let’s discuss what exactly being a “minimalist” means. As defined by Webster’s Dictionary, minimalism is “a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity.” Someone that describes him or herself as a minimalist may be someone who specifically follows a very simple lifestyle, keeping their possessions to a minimum. He or she may also prefer a more modern style of items they keep in their home. Another way to look at a minimalist is to consider that this person may “curate” what they choose to keep around them.
My sister, for example, only really keeps things around that fit her specific style. She’s great at “editing” her home to only have exactly what she wants. Even with a small child, she somehow manages to keep her home an oasis of simplicity and calm. Don’t get me wrong, there is certainly plenty of evidence that a child lives in her house, but there is also a sense of intention behind the set up.
Speaking of intention, you will find that this is the key word when shopping for your friend or loved ones. By focusing on the meaning behind the gift, you are starting out ahead of the curve. Of course, you want to give them something for some special occasion in their life. Maybe your friend is having a baby, getting married, or moving into a new house. All of these life events deserve some kind of recognition, you just have to decide what is worth giving your friend or family member that they will treasure and consider part of their lifestyle and aesthetic preferences, as well as the philosophy of simplifying life, not making it more complicated. So, I recommend keeping a few things in mind:
Focus on things they can use and that are good quality.
There is always the temptation to buy a bunch of smaller, less expensive items to make a gift appear more…well, more! Believe me, your friend would rather receive one high quality gift that she can reuse over and over again than five cheap items that barely survive one use.
Give items that can be passed along purposefully to another family member or friend.
This can mean that it’s a family heirloom, or just a really good book that your friend can re-gift after they’ve read it. In order to really make it special, I recommend providing specific instructions saying that you expect your friend to pass the item on when she’s finished with it. This will show that you not only wanted to give her something special, but you also recognize her commitment to living intentionally by not having lots of possessions.
Avoid giving custom-made gifts.
Dare to be different by giving classic gifts and not following current trends. Unless your loved one specifically says they want a monogrammed photo album, I would not waste your time and money on one.
Instead, try choosing a gift with a cause or a story that inspires. If your friend loves the rainforest, for example, choose a gift from a company that is supporting protection of rainforests.
Look for eco-friendly gifts.
In addition to living a simpler life and having a streamlined design style, people who practice minimalism tend to prefer items that were responsibly made or that are eco-friendly. Try giving your friend something they can grow, like an easy indoor plant in a lovely pot. Or a reusable item made of natural materials like wood, stone, clay, or metal.
Listen to your loved ones.
It’s easy to think we know people well enough to know what they want already, but listening goes a long way.
Browse your friend’s social media, such as Pinterest and Instagram (if they have it) to see what their favorite styles are. They may even have pinned certain products they’ve had their eye on.
If your friend doesn’t have social media, go old-school and consult with their other close friends and family members (the original “social media!”), especially if they live with them, as they will be privy to their day-to-day wants and needs.
Don’t hesitate to give them a gift card!
This is one thing that I really don’t think you can go wrong with, specifically because I know that minimalists or people who don’t like to have lots of “stuff” around them like to be able to intentionally purchase gifts on their own time. Gift cards are a guilt-free way for both you and your friend to get what you need out of the gift-giving and receiving experience. You get to acknowledge your friend’s special life event, and he or she gets to pick out their very own mug or candle or whatever they truly desire. Just be smart and make sure that the gift card is for a place they would actually find something they love. Even better – get them a DIGITAL gift card! This way, all they have to do is open an email to receive it (although, I would argue that a nice note that mentions how much you love them, along with instructions to open the email would be the best way to deliver this gift!).
Ultimately, it really is the thought that counts! If you truly choose your gift out of love for your friend or family member, it will show. Go with your gut, and trust that your intention is good enough. Ready to shop for the minimalist in your life? Check out the shop here!