Book a call

A minimalist gift guide: the gift of recreation.

minimalist living Dec 04, 2019

bet you never thought you’d see the words minimalist and gift guide so close together. A gift guide seems like the kind of thing that would be geared towards maximalists, right?

Well, here’s the catch, there’s only one gift listed in this guide.

Typically, we think about minimalism as it relates to our lives. Interestingly enough, it can also be applied to what we bring into the lives of others. By leveraging minimalism in our gift giving, we can keep clutter out of the homes of people we love and help them build lives they love. If that appeals to you, this gift guide will be all you need for holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays.

So what’s ONE gift that’s perfect for everyone? 


I love buying recreational gifts because it creates an opportunity to give unique personalized gifts. Recreation literally means to re-create. When we give the gift of recreation, we give our loved ones the ability to”re-create” themselves and their lives. That is powerful. What are the people in your life striving for, dreaming of, and interested in? How can you give a gift that allows them to explore and indulge in these things?

I also love recreational gifts because of their potential to create an opportunity for quality time. For example, rather than just buying someone a pair of boots for Christmas, I could choose to buy tickets for us to go to a comedy show together. In doing so, I’ve created an opportunity for us to bond over a shared love or activity.

A couple years ago, I stopped buying physical stuff (clothes, accessories, jewelry, etc) as gifts with the exception of books, music and video games. Most people are capable of buying what they need, when they need it. Rather than buying them stuff they might not use or need, consider buying the gift of recreation.

Check out some of my favorite recreational gifts below!

For my fiance:

Sly at the Palo Duro Canyon

This year, I took my fiance on a week long trip from Dallas to his hometown of Denver. He loves Denver the way Texans love Texas, so it was only fitting. On top of that, we made a plan to see major Texas cities and this trip gave us the opportunity to visit Amarillo and scratch it off the list. This was by far one of my favorite trips.

For my mother:

Mom’s German Chocolate Cupcakes. Photo by yours truly!

For Christmas 2017, my fiance and I bought my mother cake decorating classes and a gift card for baking utensils. My mother has always enjoyed baking and shared with me many times her desire to begin a baking business. I had no idea how that gift would materialize, but I wanted to give her something that could bring excitement or maybe even a new hobby into her life. It turned out to be so much more. After completing that class, she enrolled herself into two others and founded Scratch That, a home-based baking business specializing in cakes and cupcakes. This past Thanksgiving alone, she received 19 orders for cakes!

For my father:

In 2017, as a birthday gift, I planned a weekend trip to Austin to attend a Formula 1 race. Each day the races concluded with a concert. That weekend, we saw 2 of our favorite artists, Justin Timberlake and Stevie Wonder in concert.

Here’s a glimpse into how that went:

The feeling we were going for was excitement!

In 2018, I planned a trip to visit one of my best friends after going 2 years without seeing her. Many of my closest friends don’t live in the same state or even country as me. As a result, we don’t get to see each other very often. As I declutter my life, I realize how important it is to not allow life to get in the way. That is precisely why in Dec. 2018, I planned a girls’ weekend.

Ashley and I in Philly

We spent one day catching up, lounging around, and exploring the city. The following two days were spent at home with her husband an kids. It was a perfect weekend getaway.

As you can see, this isn’t your traditional gift guide. Rather than telling you what to buy, I’m offering an idea that you can leverage however you see fit. After all, you know what the people in your life need, want, and love better than me.

In case you’re stumped, here’s a list of experiences you could give:

For people who love travel:

  • Tickets to a winery
  • Tickets to a destination on ya’ll’s bucket list
  • Gift cards for travel
  • City tours of their current town
  • Tickets to a museum – see if the museum offers cool events like these


For people who love to cook/eat/drink:

  • Cookbooks
  • Cooking classes – consider a class that will allow them to specialize in something
  • Wine/liquor/beer pairing classes
  • Brunch or dinner with a twist like this


For the artsy/nerdy people in your life:

  • Books they’ve been dying to read
  • Tickets to poetry slams or art shows
  • Concerts for their favorite or underground artists
  • Opera or symphony tickets
  • Classes to learn to play an instrument or a new skill/hobby (think gardening, painting, photography)


For people who like to be out and about:

  • Admission to a play, comedy show, escape room, or sporting event
  • Activities like hot air ballooning, sky diving, zip lining, or go karts.
  • Curated tours – like these
  • Look for cultural experiences in your city like this one (my fiance and I love Korean spas)
  • Membership to a seat filling organization
  • Have some fun at an arcade, bowling or skating


For kids:

  • Classes that allow them to explore potential hobbies
  • Games for family game night
  • Books
  • Theme parks
  • Puzzles


Keep in mind that these gifts may even be free. See what your city has to offer at little to no cost!

Did I miss anything? What gift would you love to give?

Let me know in the comments down below.

I hope this guide will relieve the stress and help with holidays and birthdays.

Que-so Goodbye,


free. radical. original.

Loved this blog?

Share it with someone who will love it or save to read again in the future.


Are you ready to step into the life you desire?

Inside the Designed 'N Aligned program, high-achievers are learning how to break free from expectations and limiting beliefs so they can lose weight, save money, find their passions or launch a business. 

In the next 6 months, you could do the same. Click the link below to learn more about the Designed 'N Aligned program.

Show me the way!