Inside: Wondering what a minimalist family buys for Christmas? Here are the gifts we decided on in 2022 for our five kids – ages 13, 11, 9, almost 7 and almost 4. A mix of practical and asked for gifts, plus fun group gifts (courtesy of my not-quite-minimalist husband).

The second weekend of November rolled around. We’d put it off long enough: it was time to “go to the mattresses” over the gifts.

My not-as-minimalist husband who adores Christmas and I (the Christmas hater) sat down together on the couch, Amazon gift list up on the screen.

I steeled myself for an all out tug-of-war.

He pulled up his gift ideas list, and we steadily worked our way through them.

“Sure, that looks great!” (making sure to up the enthusiasm a notch for gift ideas I truly loved).

Or, “Mmmm, could we skip that one?” I tentatively suggested.

But something was different this year: no fighting.

Pretty much every other year, we’d duked it out over the gifts. This year, he loved what we agreed on, and was even o.k. with the vetoes.

For my part, I realized I could live with the occasional gift that I wasn’t entirely sold on.

Maybe there’s some kind of peace you make after doing this whole minimalist Christmas thing for seven years? Who knows.

20 Gifts We Bought Our Minimalist Kids for Christmas This Year

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We usually give one high quality, asked for individual gift per kid. This year, though, two kids wanted inexpensive, smaller gifts, so they are getting more than one.

The rest of our gifts are “everyone” gifts.

Honestly, our kids have turned minimalist. Their wish lists had only one, maybe two things on it.

And one child couldn’t come up with a single thing he wanted. Yes, really.

About a third of the gifts are my husband’s fun-loving, gift-giving self in action. We’ll see how it goes.

I’ll update this list next year with gift verdicts – was it worth the purchase or not?

See 2021’s Christmas gifts with verdicts HERE.

1. Leap Frog Computer

We’ll start with our almost 4-year-old.

She got THIS computer two years ago. I forget for what occasion? She wanted to “work like mommy.”

Sadly, the original was dropped one too many times (on tile, no less), and half the screen stopped working.

Even though we got rid of it, and I thought she would grow out of it, she’s asked for another one persistently all.year.long.

So this year, it’ll be under the tree.

2. Light-Up Wand

Her older siblings all have Harry Potter wands (the knock-offs are great, too).

While I would love to keep with the Harry Potter theme – I’ll love you forever, Harry! – it’s not really that exciting for a 4-year-old who doesn’t know Harry Potter from Adam.

So we went with THIS wand, instead. Hopefully it’s loved…because I really wanted that Harry Potter wand.

You Might Also Like: The Best Minimalist Toys for Hours of Happy Play

3. Echo Mic

My youngest loves loves LOVES to sing. At the top of her lungs in every room of the house.

We might regret this one, but the girl adores making up songs and belting them out with a passion.

THIS microphone seemed like the obvious choice to to complete her trio of small gifts.

4. Kirby and the Forgotten Land

Our almost 7-year-old loves mastering new video games. He tried a demo for Kirby and the Forgotten Land (for Nintendo Switch) and has been asking for the complete version ever since.

He also has hardly any gift requests. So when he asks for something, we know it needs to show up under the tree.

We prefer to buy digital versions because with the hard copy, you risk losing the tiny chip, and you can only have one chip in a device at a time. But that version was the on sale one: physical copy, it is!

5. Snowshoes

For whatever reason, my 9-year-old insists he wants snowshoes for Christmas. Not sure where he got this desire, but o.k.?

I hope THIS pair is all he ever dreamed they’d be! And that it actually snows sometime soon, so he can use them…

6. Bluetooth Headphones

My 11-year-old has been borrowing my headphones all the time the past few months. I’m not gonna lie, it’s driving me crazy to go searching when I need them.

I’m not sure an identical pair will be the most thrilling gift (although he does use them almost daily), so we also got him…

7. The Owl House King T-Shirt

Except for the youngest, my kids watched Owl House together this year and loved it so much.

His siblings assured us he’d love THIS t-shirt with King on it. Hopefully they’re right!

8. Pastel Ohuhu Markers

Ever since my oldest got THIS set for her birthday, she’s been asking for THIS pastel set to complete her collection.

She is very happy with the Ohuhu brand (compared to MUCH pricier Copics).

Related: Perfect Drawing Gifts for Sketch Artists – Ideas for Every Budget

9. Formidable Toys Foam Swords

Beyond Halloween, there’s not as much dress-up going on these days. But there is one thing most of our kids still enjoy, it’s play fighting.

We’ve seen out fair share of toy swords come through this house: most of them can’t handle being played with as, you know, swords. Have the people making these toys met real children?

THESE swords got rave reviews about how sturdy they are. We bought three in different colors to be shared across the siblings.

10. Kids Against Maturity Card Game

Last year, we overdid it just a bit with the board games. While in our heart of hearts, we love board games, the youngest is taking way too much time and energy to play as much as we have in the past.

So we decided to invest in a couple of card games this year, instead. They’re cheaper and (theoretically) faster to play.

Kids Against Maturity has Apples to Apples vibes, but claims to be far more appealing for kids. We’ll let you know if it’s true.

Related: 20 Best Games for Family Game Night (that both kids AND adults will enjoy)

11. Radlands Card Game

Developed by Magic the Gathering creator, THIS card game is a dueling game similar to two-player card game Duel, which we bought last year.

My husband did the research and claims it’ll be fun. He’s the fun one (I just keep people fed, clean and clothed around here), so I trust his judgment.

12. TV LED Backlights

Real talk: we watch a good amount of TV in this house. The kids learn SO so much from Youtube and various other forms of video.

Apparently LED backlights create “bias lighting”, which reduces eye strain and enhances image quality.

13. LED Light Strips

THESE LED light strips apparently go with the TV backlights and make the room more “fun”. And to go with the TV backlights, I think?

(Once again, can you tell who picked this gift?)

We’ll see how I feel about this one once they are actually up…

14. Bamboo Dice Tower

Once upon a time we played board games all the time. Before we got old, tired and toddlered.

Despite the lack of playing at the moment, we hope THIS sturdy dice tower will get a lot of use this year. Especially appealing for games like Yahtzee, Quixx and Wingspan, or really any game where you roll a dice.

15. Corn Hole Bean Bag Toss Set

This was the big group gift this year to help survive the long, long winter. We do love winter, but little kids cooped up inside is still challenging.

Last year, we bought THIS swing, and it gets used daily!

Hopefully, this corn hole set will also be a hit?

16. LCD Writing Tablet

We bought a similar little tablet a year or two ago for Christmas, but the pen holder broke off, making it a pain to use.

But when it was intact, the kids used it all.the.time. It was a great car toy especially! Compact, and easy to erase and reuse over and over again.

Hopefully, THIS one stays in one piece. The break was an unusual one (lots of force was involved), so I’m not that worried about it breaking again.

17. Detective’s Puzzle Book

My husband must have come across THIS puzzle book on Tiktok. I can only guess?

It’s full of riddles, puzzles, ciphers and more.

Since we already have THIS logic puzzle book (love!) and an NYT mini crossword puzzle book, it seemed like a good addition to our “puzzle” library.

18. Origami Paper

We’ve tried various origami books in the past, most of which were met with massive amounts of frustration. Trying to follow instructions in 2D in a book was extremely difficult.

I’m convinced origami is best learned through Youtube videos.

But alas, my husband is not as convinced. So he picked THIS origami book and paper for a Christmas gift.

If I had been paying closer attention, I would have bought THIS pack of only paper again. But I suppose we can still use Youtube videos when the book isn’t cutting it.

19. Temporary Tattoo Markers

Again, my husband, the giver of all things fun came up with this one.

THESE markers are #1 in the temporary tattoo category, so hopefully they’re a hit?

20. Sharpies

Ever since an art teacher suggested using Sharpies (we get the 24 pack), we’ve adored them.

I know, I know, trusting all the kids – even the 3-year-old – with sharpies: I’m definitely living on the wild side.

We typically replenish markers at Christmastime, and we are definitely running low on colored Sharpies (just when our middle kid decided to take up crafting again).

Related: 30+ Minimalist Stocking Stuffers (Practical, Clutter-Free Ideas)

Happy little boy with Christmas gift smiling

Are They the Most Minimalist Gifts in the World? Who Knows

Could we have done without a few of these gifts? Probably so.

Are these officially “minimalist” gifts? Maybe, maybe not. They might lack the minimalist stamp of approval in some circles. Oh well!

But I’ve realized after many years of conflict about gifts that compromise is key.

My husband loves giving fun gifts to his kids, and he does his best to honor my very minimalist, clutter-free nature.

Honestly, I’d prefer giving more experience gifts at this point, and maybe we will in the future. But we already buy things like subscription boxes and museum passes as part of everyday, homeschooling life.

So for better or for worse, this is what we went with.

Read Next: Practical Minimalist Gifts for Him (for Men Who Hate Clutter)

What are you getting your kids for Christmas this year? Share gift ideas in the comments!


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  1. Merry Christmas! Great coming across your website! I’m homeschooling mom of 3. And love using the Charlotte Mason teaching style (but slowly bending towards to more unschooling). And we are also minimalists! 😉 My girls (ages 3 & 5) have ONLY 4 Barbie-like dolls (each has a mommy doll and daughter doll), but this year I’m give them each have a Barbie-like dad and baby, as they’ve been desiring. They wanted a Barbie house too, but too many pieces!! So, I found a huge area rug that represents a lay-out of a doll house. Only 1 flat piece! Ha! (They saw it and they love it!). I also got them a tent that’s foldable to store . My son (she 8) I got him some lego sets he loves, and some other stem projects sets (that I’ll also count as “school “ 😉). Also, I got them each writing tablet Doodles. Anyways, so nice coming across your website!

    1. Author

      I love this! We started out Charlotte Mason, too, but drifted towards relaxed homeschooling, then unschooling. It seems like a common path. 🙂

      I love your gifts! We got a tablet doodle last Christmas, but the pen holder broke, so we got a replacement this Christmas (I think I forgot to include it here – thanks for the reminder!). And thanks so much for sharing your ideas here – hopefully it helps someone in the future with more minimalist gift ideas.

  2. I love the eclectic mix here, and the occasional “my husband thought this would be ‘fun’ so I guess…?” I think it shows you’re following your kids’ interests and not feeling like you “have to” get particular things, which strikes me as very minimalist 🙂

    I’m usually quite organized, but for some reason this year I’m just now deciphering the kids’ lists, waving my hands frantically over the laptop, and hoping it all turns out o.k. (we have everyone’s birthdays in Jan-Feb, so IF somehow I end up with too much, I can always save gifts!). One of my favorite unintentional traditions is that I get each kid a craft kit – embroidery, collage, sticker pictures – that usually takes them most of Christmas morning to work on, and I love that.

    I’m mostly overwhelmed right now with all the stuff we already have in our house and am thinking how to make it go away. We’ve lived here for five years, the longest we’ve lived anywhere with kids, and we are definitely due for a reboot!

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