11 Gifts For The Minimalist Who Values Thoughtful Gestures & Experiences

Experiences make us far happier than material items. Here are our favorite thoughtful experiential gifts this year, perfect for minimalists.

Experiential gifts are perfect for our loved ones who reject the notion of receiving material gifts during the holidays. From workshops and museum memberships to immersive artwork and transformative books, there's no shortage of meaningful experiences to gift our minimalist friends. Here are 11 of our favorite ideas—feel free to share your suggestions for experiential gifts in the comments below!

If you are looking for ethically made and fair trade gifts, also check out our 2019 guides to Sustainably-Made Gifts For Women and Sustainably-Made Gifts For Men.

For a gift that keeps on giving, enroll the minimalists in your life in a reading subscription box. We love the Book of the Month club, as well as MyLitBox for a community-driven, quarterly subscription service celebrating writers of color. 

If magazines are more their thing, subscribe your loved one to a yearly subscription for your favorite conscious-magazine. Whether they read on their lunch break or savor their new literature on lazy weekends, these magazines celebrate life and embrace the slower moments. A few of our favorites include Darling MagazineDRIFTRuminate, and Cereal.

Consider gifting your minimalist a certificate for mindfulness and meditation classes through an organization such as MNDFL or The School of Life. Most major cities have unique meditation and mindfulness studios for classes and workshops, so look around for local options as well. 

Giving to a charitable or social cause in honor of someone you care about is one of the most thoughtful ways to celebrate the season of giving. There is no shortage of impactful organizations, a few of our favorites include iFundWomen, a crowdfunding platform dedicated to women entrepreneurs; Direct Relief to support Hurricane Dorian relief efforts; and the Sierra Club to defend wild places.

A perfect experiential gift for the minimalist in your life, The North American Reciprocal Museum Association offers a nationwide museum membership that works with over 1,000 institutions in the U.S., Bermuda, Canada, and Mexico. Members can earn free visits, museum coupons, and discounts on tours and lectures for weekends filled with art and culture. Visit the NARM website to find your loved one’s local affiliated organization.

Speaking of memberships, does your loved one live in a major metropolitan area? If so, a membership to the local botanical garden may be the perfect gift for them. Botanical gardens in Los AngelesNew YorkChicago, and Denver offer memberships starting as low as $50, which include unlimited annual visits, discounts, and free year-round parking. Your loved one can spend 2020 taking Sunday strolls, meditating amongst the flowers and trees, or sending you selfies with the flowers.

Both Core Power Yoga and YogaWorks offer gift cards, as well as nationwide memberships, but look around your city to see if there’s a lovely local studio. Classes aim to empower yogis long after rolling up the mat. If your minimalist already does yoga, gift them an exciting new fitness experience, like rock climbing punch cards, scuba diving courses, a mountain bike excursion, or martial arts classes.

Gift your minimalist friend a certificate for unique workshops and classes, whether online or in their city. They can learn to play the Ukelele with Alice Bulmer via Skype, throw pottery in San Francisco, or take private surf lessons in Santa Monica. 

And if your minimalist is longing to get back in the classroom (even if it’s a virtual one), support their endeavor by gifting a certificate to an online educational platform. Skillshare offers more than 20,000 classes to anyone, anywhere, based on design, business, tech, and more; edX is the only MOOC (massive online open courses) provider and has a range of online Master’s Degree programs, professional certificates, and “micro” Master’s programs; and Udemy teaches 24 million students around the world with language, art, social media, and business courses (to name a few).

For more online learning options, check out our favorite educational platforms here.

How much do you know about your city? Encourage the minimalist in your life to up their neighborhood knowledge with a local walking tour. Not only do walking tours support small businesses, but they allow participants the chance to get familiar with their stomping grounds. A few of our favorite tours include Ghost and Haunted House Tours in New Orleans, the D.C. Metro Food TourUnseen Tours in London (a social enterprise working with the homeless & ex-homeless population), and the Gay History of New York tour. Local food and brewery tours based on the culinary delights of your loved one’s particular city are also fantastic gifts. 

Looking to surprise the minimalist in your life with an exciting vacation? Give the gift of an eco-friendly getaway. You can plan it yourself or with the help of services like Responsible Travel. Check out our conscious city guides for our favorite domestic and international travel destinations.

A minimal home doesn’t have to be bare. Consider gifting your loved one simple, experiential decor that compliments their thoughtful space while also cultivating a warm ambiance. Like a unique macramé wall hanging to warm up a room and serve as a conversation piece during gatherings—we especially love designs from Peanut Butter & Jelly Bean and Wild Feather. 

Scents also transport us through time and space. P.F. Candle Co., a Los Angeles-based fragrance company, sells 100 percent domestically-grown soy wax candles that will surely enhance your minimalist’s environment.

Gift your minimalist a captured experience for the holidays. While artwork, like decor, is a material gift, it can also be incredibly experiential and emotive. Custom artwork can inspire deep feelings that vary during different seasons of life. Art can also remind us of meaningful moments in our past, inviting us to return to beloved places. 

For the minimalist who believes in fluid experiences and ceaseless wandering, Sam Lee creates breathtaking illustrations of the mountains. We also love the Immersive and hand-embroidered textiles from LRNCE, a Marrakesh-based lifestyle and interior decor brand.