gift ideas for the minimalist in your life

Are you going to lynch me for actually writing a gift list? As I said before, my kind of minimalism isn’t about no shopping or no gifts. It’s about value, thought and not just buying crap to fill a stocking or an obligation.

As I rarely talk about things here I thought it would be fun to share some of the items I like and use often, and others that I think would make a great gifts. So hear it is, gifts for minimalists:


Minimalist running shoes. I bought these (trail style) on my trip to Vancouver (they were on my 30 day list). I was able to get in five Crossfit workouts during my trip and four of them were in these shoes. I immediately noticed a difference in my ability to lift weights correctly. I felt more balanced on my feet. Not only was I lifting with better technique but I felt if I shifted my weight incorrectly to the front of my feet. I’m slowly working up to running in them. The other nice thing about these shoes: they last. Unlike traditional running shoes that, depending on mileage, can last from six months to a year, these should last a long, long time.

Flip & Tumble Reusable Bag












Flip & Tumble Reusable Bag. I know, there are a lot of reusable bags out there. Every retailer seems to have one now. But these are different. Katy gave me this one as a gift a few years back and I wish I had a second. The biggest difference with this bag is that the long handle is actually comfortable over your shoulder. This is ideal if you are a mostly on foot or a transit user. Nothing sucks more than toting home groceries with handle in hand. This handle is also long enough that I can tie it nicely to the handle on our stroller. I’ve also used this as a last minute beach bag. When not toting groceries or acting as a casual snack and diaper bag, this thing folds up into a ball and waits patiently in my handbag for its next use.

The Plantominium












For the Minimalist Green Thumb: The Plantominium. Andrew emailed to alert me to this minimalist-ish small living solution for plants. It’s dubbed the high-rise condominium for plants. Green things die at my house so I won’t be buying one myself. Would love to hear from any gardeners/plant enthusiasts that live in small spaces – what do you think?

Metamorphic Gear Messenger Bag











Upcycled Messenger bag from Metamorphic Gear. This bag was designed by a good friend of mine. It has been amazing to hear of the idea years ago and get progress updates as it was sourced, developed and launched. Not only are these bags stylish and durable – they’re also made of 75% upcycled material including sails and truck tarps. It is designed and manufactured in the US and the company gives 5% of proceeds to charity. As their website says, everything old can be new again. I couldn’t agree more.



Chocolates. The really fancy ones. Last year Rayna sent me a box of Martine’s chocolates as a prize for a contest she ran. They were rich and luxurious and I savoured every bite. Gift someone you love, or yourself, with a small sampling of very fine chocolates. Yes, they will cost a bit more than that box you buy at the drugstore for a tenth of the amount. But you don’t race through chocolates like this. You don’t eat them while reading a book or watching a movie. You eat them slowly and with your full attention. You remember these chocolates.



One Less Gift – Holiday Exemption Gift Certificate. Posted this on Facebook a while back. Genius idea from Miss Minimalist. When you want to put an end to the exchanging of gifts: the One Less Gift – Holiday Exemption Gift Certificate. Lovely list of non-wrapped up ways to show you care included in the post here.

I’m heading out soon for our little getaway and I’m not bringing my laptop (but I am bringing my Kindle!). I’ll be back before the New Year with a post. For those celebrating, have a wonderful Christmas!

Wishing you health and happiness,



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  • the shoes and chocolate are my favorite ideas. the most practical and awesome! (ok and the bag, how can you live wihout a good carry all bag!?)

  • You are such an angel for mentioning those chocolates! I had such fun picking them out, and it makes me very happy that you enjoyed them so much!

    Merry Christmas, Rachel! Be well, and please give that adorable Henry a hug from me.

    XO, Rayna

  • I have the Flip and Tumble bag and love it! They come in great, vibrant colors, too. I have the Chico one as well, but the long carry strap on the Flip and Tumble is awesome.

  • I love the Minimus shoe! Best footwear I ever purchased. The chocolates look divine!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family and all the very best wishes for 2012!
    I enjoy reading your blog a lot- even without kids 😉
    Best wishes from wet and windy Wales
    Nathalie x

  • Great list! How long is the handle on the Flip & Tumble? I have one of their little ones, which is good for those quick/small purchases but not enough for a serious shopping trip, and a bunch of Envirosax bags, which I really like. The Envirosax come in so many fabulous prints and colors, and I love about them the fact that the handles and the bag are the same piece of fabric (the handles aren’t stitched to the bag, they are part of the same bolt of fabric), meaning they can carry really heavy loads (they are rated to 40#). But the handle on the Envirosax — well, it flips over my shoulder if I’m not wearing a bulky sweater, though it’s a bit tight. But I’d prefer them were they 6″ or so longer than they are.

    I recently ordered some bags and found (with which I have no affiliation) to have good prices, prompt service, and good shipping. They sell both Flip & Tumble and Envirosax. Compared to the heavy canvas totes so many places sell, I much prefer either of these — they are so tiny and light! And if you happen to spill something on them, they dry fast.

  • We are HUGE fans of the fancy chocolate gifts :) J and I give each other boxes of nice handmade chocolates for pretty much every occasion.

  • I like the idea of eatables as a gift. There is something great about giving a wonderful gift that doesn’t require a lot of waste packaging and cluttering up of the receiver’s home. It’s good if their homemade, but high-quality is great too. For me, gift giving is based around need as well as want. I bought my dad a new bicycle seat for Christmas this year. He really needed one and didn’t want to go to the expense of a new one when his old one still had some mileage in it. Ta-da, gift idea! Finding that thing that will be used and liked and helpful as well as wanted is important. I don’t think even the most staunch minimalist could object to that.

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