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My friends and family often complain about how difficult it is to buy me gifts.

I’m sure you have someone, or multiple someones, in your life who are either “greenies”, minimalist/s, or both.

They either want nothing at all, or only things that are plastic free, ethically made, locally made, and/or that supports a cause.

Those can be some hard criteria to meet! I’ve put together a bit of a guide on what to buy these sorts of people, as I’m one myself. I tend to find the following sorts of gifts a lot more meaningful than physical ones.

You could probably also use this list to help you buy for someone who you don’t know very well. How many times has someone who doesn’t know your likes and dislikes gifted you something that you didn’t like, and it’s just sat around until you sent it to landfill? At least this way if they don’t like it there’s very little to dispose of.

I shudder to think how many items have been gifted without thought just because there’s an obligation to give gifts. The sheer amount of unwanted stuff out there must be enormous! So please, please don’t contribute further to this, instead follow this list and gift meaningfully.


1. Movie tickets

2. A trip somewhere, be it a flight to another country or just a short road trip together. The Trip Guru allows you to give back to the community and environment, and cover a myriad of locations.

3. A picnic with their favourite foods in a nice spot.

4. An experience you know they’d like to have. This could be anything from skydiving, to a lap in a race car, to a horse ride on the beach, to a cruise. Use your imagination!

5. Cook them their favourite meal.

6. Seeds for the garden – I prefer vegetable seeds, but they might like flowers.



7. Do a chore or household maintenance task for them, e.g. paint the front stairs or detail their car.

8. Prepay a subscription service, like Netflix, or even pay their gym membership.

9. Massage/mani/pedi/hair voucher.

10. Arrange and/or pay for them to see an old friend who they haven’t seen in a long time due to distance. You could arrange to send them there or bring the friend to your giftee.

11. Pay for a learning experience such as a chocolate making class, or a short course in their field of interest, or a seminar.

12. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, offer to alter their clothes if they need it (who doesn’t?)

13. Offer to mind the children, if they have any, so that they can have a day to themselves.

14. A photo shoot starring them, their family, or a pet (or all 3).

15. A useful plant such as aloe vera, or herbs.

16. I recently asked for consumables such as a bamboo toothbrush, Australian made toothpaste, plastic free kitchen scrubber, and packaging free shampoo and conditioner bars.

17. Get a star named after them.

18. Find a cause that means a lot to them and make a donation, either in your own name or theirs.

19. Depending on the type of your relationship – money. I know a lot of people don’t like to gift money, but you don’t have to worry about if it will be useful to the receiver. Don’t know how much to give? The easy answer is, the value of what you were prepared to spend on them for a gift.

20. Create something! Paint a picture, write a song or a poem, draw a picture, make a quilt with a design that means a lot to them, write a short story, create a sculpture! Use your imagination.

21. If all else fails – ask them what they want or need. Chances are there’s something and you’ll be able to help them out.


Use this list for a birthday, Christmas, or any other gift-giving event. If you’re looking to reduce your impact around Christmas, have a read of my post on having an eco-friendly Christmas.

If you’re eco-friendly and/or a minimalist, let me know in the comments what you like to receive as gifts.

Image credit: Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

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Life: Homemade and Uncomplicated