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16 Minimalist Gifts You Can Give This Christmas

Two turtle doves or some tickets for your favorite band.

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Tis the season for giving! Bulky gifts can be hard to avoid, especially when material goods are culturally ingrained.

Rosie Pig / Via

If you have cramped storage or know someone who's decluttered, you can opt to give or ask for experiences instead. Convincing others to reprogram and forgo stuff can be hard, but it's not impossible.

"Personally, I always emphasize to my friends and family that I prefer their presence to presents — and try to make the holiday season one of get-togethers instead of gift exchanges," says minimalist blogger Francine Jay in an email, the author of The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life.

Here are some ideas to get started:

1. Concert tickets.

Even if the show is a light-year away, you can relive the excitement of receiving it all over again as the date gets closer.

Parents especially forget to treat themselves after decades of raising kids. Surprise them with tickets and try to tag along if you can afford it. We totally get that Michael Bublé or Mamma Mia isn't your bag, but watching their faces be aglow with concert lighting and pure joy is worth every penny.


4. A tasting.

Beer, wine, and whiskey are all valid candidates for a tasty evening out. Better yet, host at home for added coziness. Keep score or just try and discover new favorites.

7. A nice little walk.

MTSOfan / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: mtsofan

When's the last time you really strolled distraction-free? It might feel foreign to leave the phone at home, but if you're worried about an emergency, think of the centuries that people went without them. (Or just promise you won't look at it. Promise?)

Prime peaceful time is after bad weather: Stop and and revel in some fresh petrichor, or the smell after a fresh rainfall, and enjoy the empty streets. Better yet, grab some leaves to press and dry with the kids.


8. A puzzle.

Brad Montgomery / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: bradmontgomery

Any one will do, even if it's a dusty box of a cheesy wolf montage you found at your local drug store. Grab some wine or sweet treats, a loved one or two, put on music or Serial and get crackin'.

9. Cook something for someone.

Disney / Via

Some people depend on robot cooking because time is a luxury, so treat them to something homemade. Make your ~*specialty*~ (spectacularly gooey grilled cheese with triple the slices counts).

You can also try something new with a willing partner. Unless disorder makes your eye twitch, the messier the kitchen, the more fun!

10. Tickets to pretty much anything else.

Sports, a weird opera, a high-school theater production for nostalgia — the possibilities are limitless. Go to a matinée and pair it with that nice walk you were already planning to discuss why we have to wait another year to see the second part of Mockingjay.


12. Tokens for an arcade.

You're never too old to play air hockey or remember the times when you didn't have a license.

13. Go cosmic bowling.

Relive the birthday parties of yore, but this time with beer.

14. Gift cards for fine dining.


Get creative! Find one restaurant per meal and give a whole day's worth for brunch, dinner, and dessert (which they can, of course, spread out). This can double as a wedding gift, too, especially when items from a registry have all gone.

15. A music or TV subscription.

Berliner Philharmoniker / Via

Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Rdio, and HBO GO are standards and reduce DVD clutter.

But if you want to branch out, try something like a year's subscription to the Berliner Philharmoniker, one of the best orchestras in the world. A lot of devices support the live streams on your TV, and you can invite others for a performance and pretend you're there. They also archive them for your merry perusal.

Jay's membership suggestions are endless: You can gift admission to a museum, zoo, botanical garden, or other cultural institution, too.

16. Give an animal in their name.

JCVD100 / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: jcvd100

Heifer International helps bring animals that can provide wool, milk, eggs, or more to those in need. You can gift anything from honeybees to goats, and if you want to spring for a big donation, a whole ark!