A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.
Valentine’s gift ideas for minimalists… it seems like a contradiction in terms, doesn’t it? I know that my boyfriend would certainly sympathise with you when it comes to this topic!
How do I shop for someone who is trying to be intentional with clutter-free living and owning less stuff? Would they prefer not to receive anything at all? But surely I’ve got to get them something?!
If you find yourself stuck in this minefield, then don’t panic! Because I’m here to give you my top tips for Valentine’s gift ideas that are thoughtful, intentional… and that your partner will genuinely thank you for.
If you know anything about the 5 love languages (I recommend doing this test so that you and your partner understand each other’s primary ways of giving and receiving love!), then you’ll know that gift-giving is a pretty big deal to some people. So if you’re itching to show your love, then firstly it might be beneficial to think about how you can adapt to their preferences.
For example, quality time may be more meaningful in their eyes, or it might be that they swoon over acts of service (offering to do the dishes could mean the world to them!). Alternatively, they may crave physical touch or want to hear words of positive affirmation through a love letter.
In short, whilst we will explore many physical gift ideas in this list, don’t always assume that this is the only way you can show your affection. Remember that Valentine’s Day is now largely a marketing tool for big businesses. You shouldn’t reserve this special behaviour for just one day of the year!
If your minimalist gift recipient is conscious about what they’re choosing to bring into their life, then it’s time to get creative with your gifting!
The Gifts That Keep On Giving
These Valentine’s Day gifts are suggested with well-being and intentional living in mind. They are truly the gifts that keep on giving! Not only are they long-lasting so won’t need to be thrown away, but they will contribute towards your partner’s long-term happiness.
1. An electronic diffuser
Aromatherapy has both physical and mental health benefits, so my electronic diffuser is something I’m so happy I invested in! Rather than buying expensive reed diffusers which are fiddly to open and just end up in the bin, why not look into a more long-term piece for your loved one? For this reason, I’d advise opting for quality. Choose something which fits your space aesthetically and crucially will last.
I love NEOM’s range of smart control diffusers, which you can purchase in different sizes from small through to large. The White Company’s electronic diffuser is an elegant and classic option, which will never go out of style. Or, for a beautiful light-wood finish, you also can’t go wrong with Amazon Basics!
2. A house plant
Let’s ditch the fancy jewellery for the humble but mighty houseplant! Like aromatherapy, house plants have been proven to have numerous health benefits (for more info on these, check out my post on Minimalist Plant Bedroom Decor).
Whilst a fresh bouquet of flowers won’t last much longer than a week, a house plant is a wonderful way to bring nature indoors, encouraging rest and relaxation.
I’d recommend having a look at Happy Houseplants. They have a great selection of beautiful and easy-to-care-for plants, as well as good delivery options. They also offer 10% off your first order!
3. An e-reader
If your partner is a bookworm and wants to cut down on clutter (yep, sorry, this means less books!), then an e-reader is the perfect present which will honestly revolutionise their relationship to reading! I personally wouldn’t be without my Kindle. I can highlight passages I want to return to, make notes, and generally have a better overall reading experience.
To get the best product on the market, I would always recommend spending that little bit more on an Amazon Kindle. My pick of the bunch for overall classic design is the Kindle Paperwhite. However, the 16GB Kindle 2022 edition for £84.99 is great value, or if your partner cares about screen size and interactivity, then the Kindle Scribe is your best option.
4. An online subscription service
For those who wish they read more but just never seem to find the time, Blinkist provides concise books summaries that get across all the main points in just 10-15 minutes. There’s even audible versions so that they can listen on the go!
Has your partner ever wanted to do a course in photography? Learn more about video editing? Get into plant-based cooking? Whatever their passions, Skillshare offers a wide variety of video courses for those who love to learn new things and continually develop themselves.
Finally, Headspace is a wonderful app for meditation and mindfulness. If your partner needs to learn to relax and let go, then this is the subscription service for them!
5. Period pants
Okay… hear me out! I know this one may seem a little out there.
Sexy lingerie is probably top of your priority list, but have you ever considered gifting the more sustainable option? Yes, ModiBodi are my go-to brand for period-friendly underwear! It’s a bit of a running joke in my relationship that I once said period pants were number one on my wish list. But in all seriousness, once you shut the door on pads and tampons, these empowering pants are pretty life-changing!
Experiences Over Things
Experience gifts are another angle to consider this Valentine’s Day.
From holidays to day trips, experiences with your loved one can capture precious moments in time that money simply can’t buy. How about treating them to one of the ideas in this section?
6. Get tickets to see a show
We all love going to the cinema, but what about a live show? Look into theatre or gig tickets for a special evening that you’ll both remember. This is a particularly thoughtful gift for music lovers or aspiring thespians!
7. Book an adventure day
Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, or just want to push you and your partner to do something out of your comfort zone, an adventure day like zip-wiring or abseiling can be a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day! Build a stronger bond by getting through your fears together.
8. Surprise them with a minibreak
And no, it doesn’t have to be Paris! Although… Paris would be nice.
Search Canopy and Stars, Secret Escapes or Forest Holidays for some luxury and unique minibreak ideas. From glamping under the stars to a secret hideaway in a forest cabin, there are loads of romantic options to suit all budgets.
9. Pamper with a spa day or voucher
If your partner loves a little indulgence and sensual pleasure, then book them a spa day! You could also give them a voucher for a luxurious massage or a manicure.
10. Register for a course in something new
As he’s become a little obsessed with homemade latte art, I recently bought my partner a voucher for the two of us to go on a beginner’s barista course. We had such a fun time, learnt something new, and as an added bonus, met some new people in the process. He also now has no excuse not to bring me an amazing coffee in bed on Valentine’s morning!
Think outside the box and have a look at meaningful options near you.
Ethical and Zero Waste Small Gifts
Show your partner that you care by gifting ethical, cruelty-free and zero-waste products, which can be enjoyed without having to be kept forever! Get some inspiration from the below list, with these little gift ideas that won’t break the bank.
11. A selection of herbal teas
Who isn’t a tea lover? For something a little bit more special than your typical brew, take a look at some of these beautiful gift selections. Herbal teas are well-known for their healing properties and health benefits, so they make for a lovely present that promotes self-care and well-being.
12. Indulgent vegan chocolate
Minimalism means thinking about what we choose to consume… But that doesn’t mean giving up on chocolate! For your minimalist partner with a sweet tooth, check out these ethical options.
My boyfriend recently bought me these Booja Booja chocolates, and not only are they beautifully presented – they’re delicious too! For a playful touch, this vegan chocolate library is a fun gift for chocolate-loving readers. Finally, Hip just has the coolest branding, and makes me smile whenever I sneak some from the cupboard!
13. Cruelty-free and natural skin products
If your partner is a minimalist, chances are they care about what they put on their skin. So here are three of my top picks for ethical, cruelty-free and vegan skincare (more on the topic here!).
Try BYBI for a vibrant brand which uses natural superfoods (e.g. blueberries) as the basis of its ingredients, or Versed, which is another clean option. Vegan by Happy Skin is also worth checking out for a guilt-free and healthy skincare routine.
14. Ethical hair care
Like skincare, hair products are another way in which we can be more mindful, by reducing plastic packaging and using all-natural ingredients.
For a budget-friendly option that has no nasty chemicals, shop Faith in Nature products. Olaplex is a professional brand to try for salon-quality results. And if you don’t mind splashing out a bit more, Function of Beauty is a fantastic personalised option. You can create a special formula that’s unique to your partner’s hair, and their name will even appear on the bottle!
15. A wellness journal
Even as a minimalist, I will always have a weakness for nice stationery! These journals are beautiful and will also be an invaluable daily tool for self-reflection and manifestation. The 5 Minute Journal is the OG and a great one to get started with. I’ve also tried The Happiness Journal and The Self-Care Daily Journal – both beautiful designs and the ultimate act of self-care.
Thoughtful Romantic Gestures
Between work, kids, friends, and the general hustle and bustle of everyday life, when was the last time you looked up from your phone to have a genuinely present and meaningful conversation with your partner? The wildly simple gift of spending time in each other’s company and creating a special, memorable experience together can strengthen a relationship more than any physical offerings.
16. Have a steamy bath
If their love language is physical touch, then light some candles, run a hot bubble bath and pop the cork on a bottle of wine. You can create a romantic atmosphere with minimal cost (read: good lighting and rose petals go a long way!). Relax with your loved one as you both indulge in some much-needed self-care, and then let things get even steamier in the bedroom afterwards!
17. Cook a special meal
If food is the way to your partner’s heart, then consider donning your apron and cooking up a feast. I promise you that even if you’re not ready for Masterchef just yet, the effort will count for a lot! Whether it’s breakfast in bed or a romantic dinner, what better way to treat your partner than to spend this quality time together?
18. Cuddle up and watch a film
Whilst everyone else is sitting in overcrowded restaurants amongst awkward first dates, get comfy and snuggle up with a good film! It’s fun to have a film night, with lots of physical touch and affection thrown in for good measure.
19. Go on a long walk together
For a truly rejuvenating experience with your loved one, why not get lost in nature and go on a walk together? Take a picnic and shut the door on the busyness of modern life for a while. The added bonus is that it’s free!
20. Write a love letter
If you’re a romantic at heart, or you know it would mean a lot to your partner, then write them a love note. Personally, I’m a sucker for sweet sentimental messages, and this would go a long way to making my Valentine’s Day perfect!
One Final Idea…
21. Just ask them!
I know, you want to keep the element of surprise! But the most important thing in any relationship is open communication. And your minimalist partner will probably be grateful that you’ve respected their wishes by checking in.
For example, my boyfriend and I decided we wouldn’t do presents this Christmas, because we’d already spent money to go away together for the holiday season. Presence, we decided, was more important than presents. And because we’d had this conversation beforehand… it was completely okay! If anything, we worked harder to make the day special.
So don’t be afraid to have those difficult chats – from budgets to physical cards, you need to make sure you’re both on the same page. I should also mention that if you agree to no gifts, then you can’t be secretly upset when you don’t receive anything!
If gifts are important to you and you’re also a minimalist, you’re only human and feeling conflicted is okay. Work with your partner to make sure that whatever you decide, you’re celebrating consciously and intentionally. You can do things in a unique way that works for you as a couple – not the way society pressures you to feel you should do things.
Minimalist Gifting Doesn’t Have to Cause a Headache This Valentine’s Day!
I hope this blog post has been helpful, and that it saves you some time, stress and money this Valentine’s Day! Family and loved ones are everything, so however you choose to spend it, enjoy those precious moments. Tell them that you love them (every day, preferably!) and never take anything for granted.