A few years ago, I left my two-bedroom condo in Tampa, Florida and became temporarily nomadic as I started over in Asia. In order to downsize my life, I donated, sold, or gifted much of my stuff. I went through suitcases full of clothes in my friend Lisa’s dining room with four of my girlfriends gathered around. As I held up each item of clothing, I described its history and then tossed it to whoever shouted first. It was a great way to downsize and embrace my new, minimalist lifestyle. So, even though I don’t have much stuff now, I still enjoy receiving creative, useful gifts that don’t weigh me down. Choosing gifts for minimalists like me can be a challenge. But I’m here to offer some creative suggestions for those people in your life who live minimally, or travel frequently, and deserve something special for the holidays.
Everything on this list is something I own, used to own, or would love to unwrap on Christmas Eve and nothing is outrageously expensive (well, except the Samsung S9!).
So, avoid those crowds at the mall this year. Pour yourself a glass of fine wine, sit back, and shop online! There’s so much less stress!
Give the gift of language
As a new expat in France, I’ve been struggling to learn the language and then I found this French-language CD by Michael Thomas. The language course is available in 4 levels and 10 different languages. The beginner level is great for someone planning a trip who wants basic language skills in order to embrace the culture.
Check Michael Thomas Language CD Prices right here!
The Ultimate Cell Phone Camera
When my old Samsung tablet was stolen from my backpack just days before my recent trip to Paris, I freaked out a little. Then I made a spontaneous purchase of a new phone – a Samsung S9, and I absolutely love it! This camera is so amazing! (Check out some of the photos from Bruges!)
Check Samsung Cell Phone Prices right here.
I bought these headphones with an Amazon gift card I got for Christmas last year and I love them! They’re kind of like Bose but at a fraction of the price. They fold up for easy storage in a carryon bag or purse so they’re perfect for traveling!
Check Bluetooth Headphones prices right here!
Solar Powered Cell Phone Charger
I got this last year in a “White Elephant” Christmas gift exchange and highly recommend it! This portable cell phone charger can be recharged using solar power in a pinch, great for those times you’re traveling in a remote area with no electricity! It’s also equipped with a handy flashlight.
Check Solar Power Cell Phone Charger prices right here!
Microfiber Towel Set
My sister gave me this towel for Christmas a few years ago. Sadly, the last time I remember seeing it is in my hotel room in Bruges a few weeks ago and I really miss it! These towels pack small and dry fast and are perfect for travel.
Check Microfiber Towel Set prices and sizes right here!
Give the Gift of Books
Ebooks are the perfect gift for the minimalist in your life. Try Amazon’s Audible ebook club and get 53% off during Black Friday sales. Download 2 books for free and listen to Michelle Obama tell you her inspiring story in her new book “Becoming”.
Download 2 Free Audiobooks with an Audible Membership. Check details here!
When I downsized a few years ago, I parted with all of my books except this one. “The Alchemist” by Paulo Cohelo is a classic and still sits on the bookshelf in my tiny French apartment.
Check prices on The Alchemist on Amazon.
Foldable Backpack with pouch
I have two of these small, foldable backpacks and I use them regularly. The turquoise one came in handy recently when I was flying out of Nice and was forced to check my roller bag at the gate. Luckily, I had my foldable backpack handy. I slid my laptop and other valuables into the backpack and checked my roller bag without stress.
Check prices on backpacks right here!
Packable Down Jacket
These packable down jackets are perfect for winter travel! I bought one a few years ago and it saved my life during a cold night in the Sahara Desert! They’re also thin enough to wear as a warm layer under another jacket.
Packable Rain Jacket
This lightweight jacket is waterproof, windproof, hooded and packable. And it’s also a bit more stylish than many other packable rain jackets I’ve seen. It’s available in fun colors and not ridiculously expensive.
Packing cubes – the perfect packing tool! They’re lightweight and great for organizing your stuff. This set also comes with a laundry bag to organize dirty clothes while traveling. I’ve got the smaller size and need to stock up on the rest.
This is one thing I always need when I’m traveling but I hate to waste space packing a full sized hairdryer. This one is dual voltage, which is vital when traveling from the US to Europe. And it’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand!
Packable Travel Yoga Mat
Sometimes it’s difficult to exercise while traveling. When I was house sitting in England a few years ago, I bought a yoga mat and then donated it when I left since regular yoga mats are too hard to pack. Here’s a great option for the yogi-traveler on your shopping list!
Portable Bluetooth Speaker
I listen to music all the time. When I’m at home, I’ve got Spotify streaming on my laptop. When I’m out walking, I’ve got Spotify on my headphones. But the one musical gadget I don’t have is a Bluetooth speaker like this. I purchased a cheaper version at Target last summer and it lasted about a week.
Check prices on Bluetooth Speakers right here!
Give an Experience!
What’s on your Bucket List? Stomping grapes in France or maybe a Hot Air Balloon Ride over a desert? Give a gift certificate to Tinggly.com and start planning an epic Bucket List experience! They offer over 600 unique experience in over 100 countries, so there’s something for everyone! It’s so much better than giving more “stuff”!
Give the Gift of Pet Sitting with Trusted Housesitters!
Two years ago, I discovered the wonderful world of house sitting through Trusted Housesitters. Since then, I’ve had the chance to explore Europe without breaking my travel budget. Recently, I spent a week in Paris taking care of two pugs and a few months before that there was a cat in Vienna. Gift the gift of a Trusted Housesitter’s membership and open up a whole new world of opportunity for the traveler in your life!
Give the Gift of Amazon Prime!
I have friends who do all their shopping on Amazon and swear by Amazon Prime. The Prime membership includes free shipping on all purchases, free music downloads, and movie streaming among other amazing benefits. It makes a wonderful gift and it’s really easy to wrap!
I often have trouble sleeping and can’t sleep well without a fan or some “white noise” in the background so I sleep with a fan running, even in the winter. But here’s a better way – a device with options for a humming fan and other soothing sounds!
Sleep Therapy Sound Machine prices right here!
For the avid reader on your shopping list, the latest version of Kindle is vastly improved. It’s thinner, lighter and waterproof so it’s great for traveling. It’s so much easier than packing heavy book while on the road!
Give the gift of Music
Being a music addict, I love to discover new artists. One of my Spotify playlists has almost 4700 followers now and I often get messages from new artists asking to be included on my playlist. So, this holiday season, give a Spotify gift card and help your loved one discover a great new world of music!
More information on the Spotify Gift Card right here!
The Ultimate Travel Gadget Gift
This adapter/charger is an all-in-one gadget that every traveler needs to charge multiple gadgets at the same time. It’s got 4 USB ports for all your devices and also adapts to the plugs of over 150 countries.
Give the Gift of Discovery!
Ancestry DNA is the most popular and trusted method of finding out what’s really hidden in your genes! I know I’m English, Norwegian, Swedish, and a splash of other European things. I sometimes wonder if there are any surprises waiting for me in Ancestry DNA testing results.
Give a versatile Sarong
When I traveled in Asia, the one thing I couldn’t resist buying is sarongs. I still use the ones I bought in Thailand and Bali a few years ago. They’re great for a beach cover-up in the summer or a scarf in the winter. And when I’m not wearing them, they decorate my apartment.
Tree of Life Jewelry
One of my favorite gifts from last Christmas is my Tree of Life necklace with chakra stones. I wear it on every hot date (haha!) and it also travels with me often. Even minimalists enjoy a bit of subtle bling!
Feed a Horse – Get a Tax Deduction!
Horsesense for Special Riders is a wonderful therapeutic riding program that is “dedicated to enriching the lives of individuals with special needs”. Based in La Crosse, Wisconsin, they rely heavily on donations and sponsorships to fund the programs. For a unique Christmas gift, why not make a donation and feed a horse!? Check their website for more information on their programs and various ways to donate.
(Full disclosure – my niece, Ashley, is the Program Manager at Horsesense!)
Now it’s time to crack open that bottle of wine and start your cyber-shopping! Avoid those crazy people at Wal Mart or the screaming children at Mall of America!
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