How To Give Gifts That Are Thoughtful & Meaningful – Not Materialistic

As someone who can ‘be quite hard to buy for’, I feel a little bit awkward when people try to buy presents for me.

I mean, I love gifts. Most people do. But I can’t help but feel sad when someone has spent money on something they think I will like or need, knowing I probably a) already have it or b) have thought about it before and haven’t felt it was worth the spend.

I’m quite good with my money. I don’t buy expensive clothing or beauty products, although I am super grateful that my job as a lifestyle blogger means I am kindly gifted often. The thing with me is that I like to spend on experiences: eating out, going for coffees, cocktail gatherings, cooking for friends, doing big food shops, booking weekend trips, holidays abroad.

I am so much happier doing that than buying a pair of premium shoes and a handbag to match.

Which brought me today to write this article: Gift Ideas For The Minimalist In Your Life.

Experiential gifts are perfect for loved ones who reject the notion of receiving material gifts. You might be reading this and are asking out loud “what on earth do I get someone that isn’t a luxury material gift?”. Well, from workshops and courses, to memberships, artwork and transformation type books, there’s no shortage of meaningful experiences to gift.

I’ll follow up on this article with another one around sustainable and ethical gifts. But for now, take a read below and be inspired at some of the more thoughtful and meaningful gift choices:

Book-Boxes & Magazine Subscriptions

For a gift that keeps on giving, subscriptions are fantastic options. So you can imagine that by enrolling the minimalists in your life to a reading subscription box, you’ll give a gift that encourages learning and an enjoyable hobby.

The best thing about giving the gift of books is that it can be tailored. A series of home interior books or magazines. Books about wellness. A different autobiography to get through each month. Look at literary subscription services, or book clubs around the area of the person you are gifting.

If magazines are more their thing, which I touched on above, subscribe them to a yearly subscription for your favorite conscious-magazine. If you’re friend is getting married, subscribe them to a wedding inspiration and ideas magazine, or even to an online wedding club which involves articles and ideas.

Whether they read on their lunch breaks or save time to pull up a chair at home and read, it’s a precious and enjoyable gift.

Keepsake Jewellery

There is buying costume jewellery, and then there is buying jewellery with meaning. Women adore jewellery – it makes them feel special and precious. However, receiving jewellery that is carefully thought through with a message behind it is one of the loveliest ways to gift a keepsake.

In the same way you would write something special on that treasured card or note, you can make it last forever by featuring carefully considering wording onto jewellery, otherwise known as Handwriting Jewellery. This is what led me to discover Inscripture, a beautiful jewellery retailer who design and create jewellery which contains actual writing on.

They do this by using a photograph that has been chosen by the customer, in which the team then extract the the actual writing and carefully engrave it to your chosen jewellery item. It creates the perfect keepsake piece of jewellery that has a special secret meaning to the gift receiver. I feel that gifting a Handwriting Necklace is possibly one of the sweetest gift ideas of all time.

Mindfulness & Meditation Classes

With both of these buzz words being huge for 2020, consider gifting a certificate for mindfulness and meditation classes through an organisation. Or, look at the local studios across cities and towns which run classes in yoga, meditation, angel and tarot reading, and lots of spiritual topics.

You could pay for their first class, or book them onto a course.

Give To Charity In Your Loved One’s Name

Giving to a charitable cause in honor of someone you care about is one of the most thoughtful ways to gift. You can again tailor this option for something that relates to them. It could be for a cancer charity, a mind charity, or organisations which are impact around women, violence, or natural disasters around the world.

If they are a pet lover, there are so many charities for animals, including adoption and endangered species too.

National Trust Membership

This is a favourite one of mine, because I often think about buying this for my partner who loves to go on walks all around the country. The gift of a National Trust membership means that car parking and entrance fees can be covered when venturing out to explore some of the most beautiful places in the UK.

There are hundreds of National Trust hidden treasures all around the UK, and by having a membership, it allows you to explore them at great lengths and really appreciate nature.

Thoughtful Flowers

Never underestimate the gift of flowers. Yes, in some sense, picking up a bunch from the petrol station as a last thought isn’t quite as cute. But a carefully selected bunch of blooms which reflect the colours and aromas of the person you are buying for? It’s genuinely a lovely gesture and ladies love to display pretty flowers in a vase at home.

If you’re a little stuck, turn to a dedicated flower and bouquet service website first that groups flowers per occasion, colour and price. That way, you’ll see already created bunches which have been selected for certain occasions and people. It will definitely help you out if you’re no pro!

Fitness Classes & Experiences

In a similar way to the meditation and wellness mentioned above, remember that hot yoga, zumba and spin are becoming classes of their own now. I mean, gyms and studios even offer street dance, adult ballet and barre core as key classes.

Take a look around your city to see if there’s a lovely local studio. For the yogis out there, it might be that they already attend regular classes, in which why not gift them something associated to the class, like a new mat?
Think outside the box too, as there are some really exciting new fitness experiences, like rock climbing, scuba diving courses, mountain bike excursions or martial arts classes.

Creative Workshops & Online Education Opportunities


I recently did this for my partner and booked him onto an adults photography course, to feed his interest in learning photography. He was probably never going to book on himself!

It could be anything from music lessons to an adults course in art. Or how about paying for an online course they can study from the comfort of their own home, and decide to start it whenever they like?

City Walking Tours

How much do you know about your city? Every city or town will have a few hidden secret places – or facts – that you and your friends/family are yet to discover.

Try booking on a local walking tour for you and the person you are gifting. You could book a day in the diary to embark on the walking tour, stopping off at some little cafes or pubs along the way that you used to go to when you were younger, and have a real reminisce.

An Eco-Friendly Getaway

Looking to surprise the minimalist in your life with an exciting holiday? Why not give the gift of an eco-friendly getaway?

Eco-friendly getaways are fast becoming popular, and are appreciated by many. You can plan it yourself or with the help of services online who specialise in this field. You can also check out conscious city guides for the best domestic and international travel destinations which have lots of eco-friendly arrangements.

Experiential Decor & Fragrances


Try not to clutter someones life with unneccarary things for the home, and instead consider gifting art or scent that is thoughtful and ha a captivating memory associated to it.

If your friend loves to bake, or has baked you something regularly, find a sketch of the item and have it framed to present as a gift that symbolises your friendship.

The same can be said for fragrance. Try not to buy a fancy perfume just for looking like you’re giving a nice expensive gift. Think about scents that mean something to the person. If they have children, will a nice baby powder scented candle or diffuser work well in their home? Or how about a scent that your friend used to have in younger years, to remind her of your time together back in ‘wilder’ days?

Have a think about art and fragrance, together with what works for the person.

Hopefully, some of the above with spark some joy in your mind and inspire you to give the gift of thoughtfulness!

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