Sustainable Gift Ideas for the Minimalist

November 17, 2020  •   2 min read


For the minimalist who enjoys experiences over material items, we’re sharing sustainable gift ideas that have been curated and hand-selected for their low-environmental impact, their non-tangible nature, and that help the world be a better place. Whether you choose to surprise them with a donation to the Jane Goodall Foundation, or a workshop where they can work with their hands, support sustainable gifting during the most indulgent time of year.  


1. Berg and Betts, Original Gold and Brown, $129 CAD

This Canadian-made watch brand is on a mission to provide eco-friendly products that are sophisticated, responsible, and affordable. Believing that style shouldn’t be sacrificed for sustainability, Berg + Betts crafts every watch strap out of surplus leather off cuts that would otherwise go to waste. Those small pieces of leather that fall to the floor when a shoe or purse maker cuts out their pattern are rescued and transformed into beautiful straps. Ethically manufactured, these watches are the perfect gift for the minimalist in your life.

2. Mlk and Hny, Salt Spoons, $30 USD

Handmade in Vancouver, these brass-hammered salt spoons are lovingly made and crafted for long-term use. The minimalist in your life will love the simplistic design. Consciously handcrafted by the designer herself, each piece is infused with her own love and care.

3. Coworking Space Membership, $250+ USD

Popping up in cities worldwide, a membership to a We Work space gives your minimalist friend a non-material gift they can benefit from. Freelancers and entrepreneurs will love the opportunity to network, be in beautiful, curated spaces, and have an area to focus and get work done.

4. Naadam, Ribbed Wool Cashmere Crewneck, $150 USD

This cashmere sweater is the only one your minimalist friend will need this winter. Ethically sourced directly from the herders, Naadam pays the nomadic herders 50% more than traditional traders. Made with 100% clean energy, Naadam creates programs for healthier goats and more sustainable grazing practices. Devoid of harsh chemicals and bleaches, this cashmere is both luxurious and high-quality, ensuring longevity and a conscious purchase.

5. Ila Collection, Wildflower Honey, $35 USD

The sleek packaging of this wildflower honey is sure to impress the minimalist in your life. This raw, cold-processed honey from Ila comes from the Finger Lakes region of New York. Collected from fields of wildflowers, its flavour profile is as robust as the assortment of wild plants pollinated during its creation – locust trees, wild raspberry, wild rose, linden trees, sumac, knapweed, joe pye weed, bamboo clematis, goldenrod, and purple aster. The unique floral taste is the perfect accompaniment to their favourite dish.

6. Harlow Skin Co, Skin Gloss, $22 CAD

Cutting down on excessiveness is your minimalist friend’s MO, so gift them this 3 in 1 gloss. A hint of hydrating colour for dewy, fresh cheeks, lips + eyes, your minimalist friend will love the functionality and “less is more” approach. Harlow only uses natural ingredients in their products – cocoa seed butter will nourish dry lips and cheeks, while also acting as a barrier. Packaged in 100% paper, this tube can be recycled when done, for a truly zero-waste experience.

7. Embiria, Workshops in Your City, $25-150 CAD

For the minimalist who prefers experiences over material items, gift them a unique workshop either through Embiria (in Toronto), or a similar service in your city. Cultivating creativity, community and connection, services like Embiria offer workshops such as Cookie Decorating, Intro to Calligraphy and so much more! Your minimalist friend will love learning a new skill, meeting new people and working with their hands.

8. Jane Goodall Institute, A Donation, $35-750 USD

The environmental minimalist will be overjoyed to receive a donation in their name to the Jane Goodall Institute. Your donation will go towards restoring critical habitats to save chimpanzees from extinction, improving health for women and education for girls, cultivating local livelihoods in harmony in nature, and helping young people become the informed generation of conservation leaders the world so urgently needs. This non-material gift will put a smile on any naturalist’s face.

9. Plan a Forest Bathing Day, Free

For those on a budget and who want to give their minimalist friend a special gift, planning a day of intention and nature is a wonderful gesture. Surprise your friend who values experiences over material items with a day in a wooded area, where they can escape the bustle of city life and reconnect with nature. Fill them in on the benefits of forest bathing and earthing. The gift of time and reconnection is one they will treasure the most.

10. Reiki Session, $100-300 CAD

Help your friend get more in tune with their being by treating them to a reiki session. The minimalist in them will love the non-material gesture, while appreciating the offering of connecting mind, body and spirit. With an increasing number of people feeling more disconnected than ever, this gift serves as a beautiful reminder to reconnect, examine within, and help bring back healing energy to the areas in our lives where we need it the most. Seek out a reputable Reiki practitioner in your city and give the gift of energy healing.


11. OrbitKey, Cactus Leather Key Organizer, $39.90 USD

The minimalist in your life will love this sleek design and no-fuss key organizer. Made innovatively from cactus, mature leaves of the cacti are cut during the harvest every 6-8 months, then dried for 3 days and formulated into cactus leather. These organizers transform keys into a neat and silent stack, carrying 2-7 keys, car keys and fobs. Personalize the leather with a blind deboss monogram for a gift that’s practical and thoughtful.


12. Donation to their favourite social cause

For the minimalist who prefers thoughtful gifts over material ones, choose to make a donation in their name to their favourite social cause. Whether that’s centring animal rights, BLM, environmental concerns, political issues or women’s rights, a donation to a just cause will brighten their day. Please make sure to check that the charity you’re donating to is legitimate and that the money actually goes to helping those who need it, instead of “administrative costs”.


13. Plan an outdoor day, free

There’s a Norwegian concept – “friluftsliv”- that translates to “open-air living”.  Norwegians believe that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. While we wait for summer all year and spend winter in a huddle at home, consider planning an adventure for your minimalist friend, al fresco. Bundle up, traverse the snowy expanse, and take in the delight of nature. There’s Norway they won’t love this experiential gift!


14. Blackbird, Incense, $34 USD

The minimalist in your life will love this handmade incense for its unassuming aesthetic and sleek design. Packaged in reusable cylinders, this incense is handmade in Seattle with scents blended to evoke emotion and feeling. Blackbird works towards keeping their materials, packaging and processes as sustainable as possible, reusing materials for shipping and reducing waste where they can.


15. Steamery, Pilo Fabric Shaver, $50 USD

For the minimalist who values the concept of having less but better, Steamery has designed a range of tools to help take care of clothes, ensuring that they last longer. Their array of fabric and garment care accessories help prolong the lifespan of a beloved garment, keeping them in use and out of landfills for longer. Their products combine high tech with a minimalist Scandinavian aesthetic. The Fabric Shaver reduces pilling on sweaters, so when they start to look raggedy, they can be restored to their perfect condition, helping to lessen that pilo sweaters destined for landfill.


16. Bloomscape, Arch Propagation Kit, $35 USD

For the plant-loving minimalist who prefers living things over materials ones, this propagation kit from Bloomscape is the perfect gift. Each kit comes with a handcrafted concrete terrazzo stand and glass tube, a rooting hormone to help propagated roots take place, and step-by-step propagation instructions. Whether the minimalist in your life wants to grow their plant family or share cuttings with their human one, this kit makes it easy, even for beginners.


17. reMarkable, Paper Tablet, $449 USD

For the minimalist who hates clutter, this tablet is truly remarkable. Flawlessly mimicking the sensation of writing on paper with its texturized surface, this tablet is a digital notebook that is as close to paper as it gets, but without all the fallen trees. reMarkable easily converts handwritten notes into text, integrates with Google Drive, has 2 weeks of battery life, and is a place to store notes, PDFs, documents, e-books and more. This gift will be a hit with the minimalist in your life!


18. Plan a stunning picnic

For the minimalist who prefers adventures over material gifts, take them on a surprise picnic in a beautiful, new location. Plan everything from the delicious snacks and drinks, to the epic location – maybe you’ll choose an apple orchard, a spot by a bubbling creek, an undiscovered beach cove, or an open field. Keep everything a surprise, and whisk your minimalist friend away for a day spent al fresco.


19. Balmuda, The Lantern, $149 USD

This soft glow lantern from Balmuda will light up your minimalist friend this holiday season. With the ability to adjust the brightness or change colour temperature, this lantern can be bright enough to read by or subdued enough for a calm atmosphere. Illuminating your environment and easily transportable, this light-weight and water-resistant lantern is the perfect companion for outdoor dining or a peaceful evening stroll.


20. Water First, Donation

For the minimalist who’d prefer a donation made in their name to an impactful organization, consider supporting Water First. This organization helps to address the very real water challenges that exist in First Nation communities in Canada, as many are still under a boil water advisory. Through education, training, and meaningful collaboration, Water First is doing their part in delivering safe and clean drinking water to our Indigenous communities who are in desperate need.


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