Sustainable Minimalist Gift Giving Guide

Even as a Minimalist I do appreciate and understand the practice of gift-giving. Because it is an expressive way of showing gratitude and love. I also know that this is a big part of someone’s unique background like cultural holidays.

That’s why I don’t deny gifts, presents, and other people’s lifestyle that includes shopping. I also do not reject maximalism or other preferences.

Watch Gift Giving for Minimalists | Sustainable Products & Non-material Gifts for more!

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Minimalist gift-giving guide

I rarely shop but when I want to show gratitude to my friends, family, and loved-ones especially when I travel to new places, I try to focus on these three rules.

  • Useful, versatile, and utilitarian: My golden rule is to go for basics or consumables. Some basics include minimal socks, t-shirt, and simple stationary goods like notebooks. Consumables or things that can be used up includes spices, tea, soap, essential oils, and supplements.

  • Choose sustainable goods: I try my best to go for ethically sourced and eco-friendly products. I also try to align with my low-waste goals by buying plastic-free packaged goods from local stores and craft markets.

  • Be mindful of the receiver: This way, I can be mindful of their needs and preferences. I simply ask if they need anything or have a preference when it comes to color, style, or design.

What to buy

*This post may contain affiliate link. I only recommend products I believe will add value to you.

Soap or hygiene products

Soap fits the criteria of being useful, compostable, and utilitarian. I prefer high quality sustainably sourced materials or palm-free soap. Other everyday object gift ideas include facial products, moisturizer, essential oil, hair serum, face mask, and body wash.

My recommendations

Tea, herbal salves, and spices

If gift-giving gets tricky, I think it is best to stick with consumables. I love buying locally made products like organic tea and herbal salves from the farmer’s market or craft fairs. I try to give something that I have tried and tested so that I can tell how the quality is. 

My recommendations

Handmade things

I enjoy making my own gifts like giving away herb bundles made with herbs from my community garden. I like how this can be burned, used up quickly, and leaves no trace. Other options include handmade cards, homemade food like jam, baked goods, and DIY household things like bath bombs, candles, and massage oils.

My recommendations

Healthy snacks or holistic supplements

I also have the option to get consumables like vitamins and supplements. In this case, I suggest considering the receiver’s dietary needs. So check if they have a restrictive diet or any allergies.

My recommendations

Everyday basics

Another option can be basic items that can be worn every day. I suggest going for this option only if you know their style, preference, and fit. It's best to go with socks and other accessories. Be sure to choose ethical brands if sustainability matters to you.

My recommendations

  • Linen Fox - women (sweatshop free, ethically sourced, linen, handmade)

  • Gaia Conceptions - women (sweatshop free, handmade, ethically sourced, cotton, hemp, linen)

  • Organic Basics - women, men (eco-conscious, organic, cotton)

  • Muji - women, men (has some natural materials like cotton and linen)

What are non-material alternatives for gift giving?

As a Minimalist, I value experiences and non-physical nourishment. That's why I often choose to show gratitude by giving non-material gifts.

This includes taking them out for good food, going out to the movies, or sending museum tickets. In my culture, Korean people also give cash which I think is a safe way to give gifts.

Digital goods

Other non-material gift options

  • Movies

  • Museum

  • Entrance fees for tours

  • Travel tickets

  • Spa

Sustainable gift wrapping tips

  1. Keep packaging materials to reuse in the future

  2. Use natural materials like jute twine and recycle kraft paper

  3. Skip plastic bubble wraps and use paper stuffings instead

My recommendations

Jute twine

Plastic-free scissors

Recycled kraft paper

Washi tape