Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Minimalist Gift Idea: Personalized Thumb-Drives

We’ve said it before, but the holidays can be a vexing time for the minimalist. We want to perpetuate the spirit of giving, but don’t want to give a bunch of stuff that will likely go unused or straight to the closet, donation center or landfill. If you’re looking for a simple gift that is thoughtful, thrifty and useful, consider thumb-drives.

We’re not just suggesting that you give blank thumb-drives that, while useful, lack any personal touch. When giving out the drives, load them with pics, music mixes, letters, artwork, videos, etc; we suggest that these things be as personal as possible (and on universally recognized digital formats). The gift might lack some of the initial jolt of excitement of some gifts, but if you’re digital content is made with care, people will love your gifts. It’s amazing how far a little time and thought–e.g. a heartfelt letter–goes toward creating a memorable and appreciated gift.

After the gift has been given and (hopefully) appreciated, your recipient has a useful thumb-drive. We found a ten pack of 8 gig thumb-drives for $54. You can get cheaper ones, but spending a few extra bucks for more memory will increase the probability of the drives being used in the future by the gift recipient.

If you have gift ideas that are minimalist-friendly, please email us or let us know in our comments section.

  • Chris

    This year, I’m giving people things like a gift card to their local cinema or theater, unless they’ve asked for or need something specific. I’m working on giving them experiences rather than things.

    • Philip

      Chris you are spot on! Love your point of view and I think I will steal it form you!

    • DianaBGKY

      I.have been doing something like that for years. Movie theaters, restaurants, or a combinaton of th two etc. My favorite used to be a restaurant that offered both dine-in or delivery and a gift card to Hollywood video. It gave choices but also an experience. Something for an individual, couple,.or family.

  • Tim Domenico

    I come from an affluent family and one year I realized that all my siblings already had everything they wanted. So instead of gift giving I bought 20 blankets and on Christmas Eve drove around Downtown Denver and handed them out to homeless people. The only problem is I couldn’t find 20 homeless people because unknown to me Catholic Charities had opened a brand new many hundred bed homeless shelter.

    • David Friedlander

      great idea. but yes, a little planning would have made it even better.

    • Emma Busk

      Here (Scandinavia) many of the charity organizations (for example Red Cross and Unicef) have a “gift shop” where you can buy all sorts of things – like chickens, goats, clean water, school books, bicycles etc. Instead of buying more things for people who already have too many things and don’t appreciate your gifts anyway, the gift is given to someone who needs it. Your mom/brother/cousin/friend etc receives a card with a description of the gift and information on where it was sent. I wrote a post on the subject at my small space blog over at Swedish Elle Decoration.
      Link (translated with google) here:

    • elizabeth

      What an excellent problem to have! I’m glad Denver was also thinking of their homeless. You’ll all receive the gift of a warm feeling for thinking of your fellow man (and woman and child), literally and figuratively.

  • Deborah Nash

    Our family decided (with 14 close relatives) that presents had become too expensive and not what Christmas was about. So we each give one donation to a charity on behalf of one other member of our family…then surprise them on the day with the choice. A sort of Secret Santa for charity!