Minimalist Christmas Gift Ideas

Christmas got you down? I put together this list of minimalist Christmas gift ideas to help me - and you - ditch the frustration of clutter this year.
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Every Christmas I feel like I’ve got this. I enter the season with gift ideas for everyone, but as the weeks pass I get frustrated with costs, availability, lack of quality and just the all around junk that I’m considering buying. So I put together this list of minimalist Christmas gift ideas to help me – and you – ditch the clutter this year.

The Hardest Thing About Minimalist Gifting

…is walking into the room seemingly empty handed.

When my husband and I decided to focus more on minimalist gifts a couple years ago, the hardest part for me was wanting to give the kids something to open during gift time.

I took the water park pass for my nephews and wrapped it up in a shoebox. The three of them had to share in the opening, but once they found out what was inside the envelope, they had completely forgotten that they didn’t each get something to open.

If you really want to add something for kids to open, consider supplementing your minimalist gift with affordable, practical items.

An art coffee table book to go with museum passes. Goggles to go with a water park pass. New hair bows to go with a hair appointment.

Christmas got you down? I put together this list of minimalist Christmas gift ideas to help me - and you - ditch the frustration of clutter this year.

Don’t Make it a Burden

Don’t get caught up in minimalist Christmas gift/experience you are giving. Think it through. If you are gifting a sewing class to your niece, make sure she has the proper equipment and supplies to fully implement the class.

Consider the parents’ time required to transport children for gifts of experiences you give. I know you can’t cover all the obstacles that may come up, but try to cover your bases so that your gift is a blessing and not a burden.

As you think of potential obstacles – scheduling conflicts, cost of extra supplies, dress/uniform requirements, etc. – make yourself available to the parents to help out. Don’t say, “If something comes up holler.”

They won’t holler.

Make your help definite and clear. For example, “I’ll take Susie to her first piano lesson so we can go pick out a keyboard afterwards.” Or, “Take the kids to the museum any time with your family pass. But I will pick them up the first Saturday of every month to go to the museum.”

Minimalist Christmas Gift Ideas

1. Gifting Outside the Box

Instead of tangible items this Christmas, grab some seasonal passes or event tickets for the ones you love. Or even an online course like Kids Cook Real Food! Make the memories the gifts.

Kids Cook Real Food

2. Consumable Homemade Christmas Gifts

These gift ideas are still “stuff,” but they get used up quickly. A consumable gift is a minimalist Christmas gift because it isn’t going to sit in someone’s house creating clutter.

But if you are going to make your consumable minimalist Christmas gifts, be sure to start on them plenty of time ahead as some of them get better with age.

3. 13 Best Minimalist Gift Ideas

Have you ever thought of gifting someone a hair appointment or coffee date? Me either! Check out Mansi’s other great ideas for minimalist gifts.

4. Have a Simpler Christmas

Releasing your mother, aunt or grandma from expected traditions and expectations can be a great gift. Let your hostesses know that you don’t hold them to any expectation. Offer to help in specific ways. Offer to host.

Most importantly, don’t whine and question if the hostess chooses to switch up or leave out “traditions.” Embrace the new simplicity and help your children or others understand the stress that is received when we don’t hold loved ones to long standing traditions.

5. Natural Christmas Decor

Every year I’ve been married, I’ve enjoyed making my own garland, wreaths or table runners from fresh pine and cedar boughs. While I’ve got the mess in my garage, I make swags for my mother-in-law, as well. I put them up and take them down so she doesn’t have to worry about hauling around a ladder. Check out Kori’s tutorial for making your own garland.

The best part is you get to throw away this gift without any guilt!

6. Car Wash

This minimalist Christmas gift idea is contingent on the recipient having a car, of course!

My husband’s dad is so hard to buy gifts for, but he takes pride in his nice truck. So we help him take care of it with a car wash card loaded with 10 washes. Yes, it’s still a gift card, but a slightly more thoughtful gift card…Right?

For the people on your list who have everything already or are difficult to buy for, consider a loaded car wash card!

7. Food!

Everyone has a need for food. You can make it yourself (like this delicious bread) or buy it. Either way, food is the perfect minimalist Christmas gift because it doesn’t hang around for long. If I don’t have time to bake, nuts and cheese are my favorite go-to gifts.

If you know your host(ess) very well, grab them a their favorite bottle of wine or drink supplies. Fine chocolates always pair with anything! 😉

8. Christmas Caroling

Round up your family, friends and neighbors and share memories of caroling. It’s a fun way to enjoy quality time while blessing others. Sing away at nursing homes, hospitals and group homes. Serenade your neighbors or retirement developments.

9. Old Fashioned Christmas Gifts

This list of kitchen gifts can be considered clutter depending on your homemaker. In my mind, if a gift is practical, functional and quality, it is a minimalist Christmas gift.

Check out this list of ideas for your wife or mother. Unless this list will get you in trouble, of course! My husband knows he won’t get in trouble if he gets me something like a mixer or cutting boards. 😉

10. Service

Give the gift of your services. Offer to babysit, clean or organize for someone. If you have white winters, give coupons for shoveling sidewalks and mailboxes. Read Rachelle’s minimalist story and grab her free templates for coupons booklets! Have your kids fill them out or fill them out yourself.


Initially, you may feel awkward showing up to family Christmas with “nothing” or “just” envelopes, but the joy of the memories made will last a lot longer than any cheap, plastic toy. Consider minimalist Christmas gifts for your loved ones this year.

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