Minimalist Gift Guide

hailey gardiner minimalist gift guide

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The holiday season is officially here! Amidst all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, I wanted to bring you a post to encourage simplicity and minimalism, especially if that is something you value.

I pride myself in being a very thoughtful gift-giver. I love carefully selecting gifts for my family members and friends, and trying to think outside the box while shopping!

As someone who doesn’t love excess and clutter, I try to follow a general guideline when choosing gifts. If you’re a minimalist like me, I hope you’ll appreciate some of these simple gift ideas that may prove useful Christmas season!

Gifts of Experience

When Christmas (or any other occasion that warrants gifts) comes around, I immediately try to think of gifts of experience that would be meaningful to those I’m shopping for. I keep a running list in my phone of gift ideas for family members throughout the year and it helps take the pressure off a little bit when it comes time to make decisions!

Research has shown that gifts of experience provide more lasting satisfaction and memories than anything else! Here are some experience ideas I’ve been gifted and have given to others:

  • A trip to the aquarium or local zoo
  • Massage
  • Mani pedi
  • Lunch or dinner date
  • Tickets to a local theater production
  • Concert tickets
  • Goat yoga or good ol’ regular yoga pass
  • Cooking class
  • Pottery class – this has been one of my favorite gifts I’ve received to date!
  • Afternoon tea
  • Tickets to a sports game
  • Tickets to a comedy show 
  • Overnight stay somewhere
  • A planned trip (local or abroad)
  • Pass to a local museum
  • Painting class
  • Tickets to a workshop
  • Online course
  • A chocolate tasting
  • Car wash passes

You’ll know best what kind of experiences the ones you love may value the most. The sky is the limit!


Books are the gift that keep on giving! Here are some favorites that would make great gifts:

For the Romantic:

I have recommended The Match by Sarah Adams to so many people and every single person who’s read it has absolutely loved it!

Carving for Miss Coventry is also a recent regency era favorite. I’ve included lots more recommendations in my clean romance novels post HERE!

For the Minimalist:

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. This book has changed my life and how I approach everything I do. I literally finished it and turned right back to the first page to read it again because it is so rich with wisdom. “Do less, but better” has become my life motto!

For Everyone:

After reading The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan two years ago, I have maintained a daily practice of writing down three things I’m grateful for every day. Her stories and experiences are truly inspiring. Read my full book review HERE.

Both my husband and I love Grit by Angela Duckworth and have tried to implement her principles into both our work and family life. Being gritty is something I truly strive for! Full review HERE.

Wintering by Katherine May is an insightful and timely read, perfect for the coldest part of the year. She reminds us of the necessary good that winter brings and helps us to embrace the “winters” of our lives with courage.

Meaningful Gifts

Depending on the person you’re shopping for, sometimes an item of clothing, a candle, or a gift card are exactly what that person wants and will value.

But there are others who are more sentimental whose gifts may require some more time and effort.

My Grandpa used to make everyone a calendar full of family photos every Christmas. After his passing, I wanted to continue his tradition and created beautiful Artifact Uprising calendars for members of my family so they can see photos of Grandpa every day and be reminded of him!

My son loves to look at family pictures on my phone, so this year I made him a photo book that we can take with us to church or on the road so that he can flip through and name all of our loved ones. If you don’t want to do an entire book, a simple framed photo of a special moment shared would also make a wonderful gift. You can use my link HERE to get $20 off your first Artifact Uprising order.

Christmas ornaments can also be beautiful reminders of happy memories, and are taken out and used year after year. Framebridge creates beautiful framed photo ornaments that anyone would love to hang on their Christmas tree!

I recently discovered Storyworth and am so excited to help my loved ones capture our family stories! Storyworth streamlines the process by sending weekly email prompts and then compiling the stories into a book after one year. Such a sweet gift idea for parents or grandparents.

Last year, we found someone who digitized our old family home video cassette tapes so they could be preserved and shared with everyone. We loved reminiscing on the happy moments from our childhood we’d forgotten about!

When I was young, I loved to write stories or poems, create art, or bake homemade treats as gifts, and now that I’m older, I still enjoy all of those things! I also write and record songs to give as gifts too. There is nothing sweeter than the homespun, the handmade, the personal. Anything that comes from the heart is certain to be treasured and valued!

I hope you found this guide helpful and that you find joy in seeking out meaningful gifts as an expression of love for others this Christmas!