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Holiday Gift Guide #1: For Your Minimal Boyfriend

Who will scream if you bring one more functionless thing into the apartment

As someone who tends to, for no particular reason and with no foreseeable endpoint, collect small, cute things that are on clearance at Target, dating a minimalist is a good thing for me. But being with someone who takes great care when choosing the objects in his life can make gift giving a challenge. Lucky for you, I spent a bunch of time on Pinterest and Google and Amazon, and then picked my boyfriend’s brain to find some good minimalist gifts. Of course, I can’t give him anything from this list now—no element of surprise!—but I hope my loss is your gain.


Not only does the NomadKey Phone Charger serve an essential daily purpose, but it’s also built to take the abuse of being on a key ring. And it’s cute.

It’s unlikely that your minimalist hasn’t heard of Leo Babauta, who is dedicated to simplicity in all aspects of life. His monthly Zen Habits Sea Change Program helps subscribers focus on improving an aspect of their life with webinars, reminders, and an encouraging members forum.

This Japanese Wood Sheet Notepad is made from the discarded remnants of forest thinning, a process that is necessary to keep trees happy. Each notepad is cut from a single piece of wood, and best of all, it will biodegrade after you’ve crossed all the items off your grocery list. Beautiful and useful.

The beauty of food is that you can buy something decadent and not have anything left over to clutter up your place. A Knoshy Subscription delivers a monthly box of gourmet foods that are made by small-batch companies in the U.S. Make sure to subscribe by December 1st if you want a box by Christmas.

Why do all minimalists like coffee? Is this a phenomenon I’m imagining? Regardless, the Zoku Iced Coffee Maker makes cold coffee or tea without ice, in a container the same size as a normal to-go cup. (Plus it’s a gift that you can borrow for yourself sometimes.)

Minimalist doesn’t have to mean cheap. These 1000 Mile Boots are so well made that they’ll last… well, you get it. Not only are they practical, but they’re beautiful. He gets function, you get shoe porn.

A Sidney Hale Candle is really three gifts in one. First, 10% of their profits go to a dog rescue in Virginia, where the company is based. Second, you get fifty hours of scents like sea salt and bay rum or woodsmoke and amber. Finally, once the candle burns down, you get a cool tumbler glass that’s perfect for whiskey or flowers.

The Waves Micro Towel is tiny, lightweight, absorbent, and it comes in fun colors. We have one in the car at all times for the dog, but a set of them would be perfect for a quick trip to the pool or a spontaneous beach day.

In the last ten years, I’ve moved my book collection to apartments in four different states. The more boxes I haul, the more I think that an e-book reader is a superior option. The Kindle Paperwhite is a true e-book reader, not a tablet, so it’s for reading and nothing else. The best part? It holds thousands of books in under eight ounces.

My boyfriend currently carries the same leather wallet that he did when we met in high school, almost fifteen years ago. So of course the tagline for the Saddleback Leather Co., “They’ll fight over it after you’re dead,” is right up his alley. This Leather Briefcase will outlast his current laptop and look good doing it.

I don’t cook as often as I used to. I finally burned out due my penchant for overly complicated recipes with specialty ingredients, expensive equipment, and pages and pages of instructions. My boyfriend loves to cook, however, perhaps because he keeps it simple. In that spirit, why not a cookbook like The Minimalist Cooks Dinner by Mark Bittman?

Giving to charity in someone else’s name is always in line with the holiday spirit. If you give an animal from the Heifer International catalog, you can stuff his stocking with cute animal puns. Bees for my honey. Sheep because I love ewe. The possibilities are basically endless.

P.S. Gifts for your masculine-of-center partner, and all our gift guides so far.

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