Gift Guide for Tiny + Off-Grid Living
We all have that person on our holiday list - the person who not only has what they need but also lives in a tiny house and practices minimalism so they don't really need any additional 'stuff', no matter how sentimental, unique, or well-intended. If you know us personally, we may be that person for you! This gift guide is meant to inspire gift giving in a new (but actually super old school) way - a thoughtful, practical, personal, and valuable way to impact the lives of those you love this holiday season.
Disclaimer: Some of these are affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase from one of these links, we make a (meager) commission. This is of no extra cost to you but has a sweet impact on our build budget!
Home Essentials They May not have (or know that they need!)
Living in a small space means there's a fine line between necessary and not. Does it serve more than one purpose? Will it be used often? Does it nurture us or foster enjoyment? All of these questions help determine whether an item is essential for our small space. These items - some we have, some we've seen in others' homes and wish we had - are all deemed essential for daily and long-term enjoyment.
We have a favorite brewery we frequent and instead of buying lots of glass and cans at the grocery, we can get our favorite brews in our reusable container to enjoy at home. It's a close competition for our favorite brand, so here's our top three picks:
We use them for drinking, bulk storage, food preservation, Kombucha making, and anything we need to keep in the fridge or away from pets!
We own one of these and it may be the best purchase we've ever made. The water is impeccable and the Berkey system can reliably filter out major contaminants most other systems cannot. This includes Flouride, Chromium 6, various viruses, heavy metals, and much more.
For the love of cast iron
You may want to check first, as cast iron is a must for our lifestyle, but you may find your loved ones are lacking a crucial piece or two. They aren't cheap, but they last forever! Added bonus: the recpient will surly think of (and thank) you for years to come whenever they use their pots & pans.
Many tiny dwellers have standard-sized cast iron skillets but the mini is perfect for a single person meal (or treat)!
Analog Hobbies + games
Step away from the screen and into a new, analog hobby. See what your hands can make and what your loved ones can enjoy with some human-powered arts & crafts and games.
This pattern is labeled for beginners and is the perfect foray into knitting beyond the (safe) scarf zone. The best part? Needles included!
The best vintage film we've ever had came from Labeauratoire, created & curated by Lance Rothstein in St. Petersburg, FL. He traveled the globe and sourced a huge variety of vintage, unique, and international film. All expired, always a fun experience to see what comes out.
Don't have a camera? Scour your local thrift shops for an inexpensive point-and-shoot or search on Craigslist for an entry-level vintage camera like a Canon AE-1 or a Leica M6.
Beginner's Woodcarving ToolS
You could gift beautiful wooden spoons and bowls or you could empower your loved ones to make their own! This kit contains what your recipient will need to get started. For an easy how-to, check out this book: The Artful Wooden Spoon.
If you're like us, you're curious about how you can keep summer & fall farmer's market finds for enjoyment in the coming winter months: canning! This set will get you started with pickled okra, apple butter, and peach jam in no time!
Human-Powered & Resource Efficient
For those of us living in energy-constrained conditions, finding options for human or earth-powered appliances is a touchdown! The less we use, the more we can enjoy.
Even if you're off-grid, having a solar tech charger means you can charge your phone anywhere, anytime, without any load on your existing system.
If there's wanderlust in their heart
Some tiny dwellers travel, some stay put. Wanderlust can be global or it can be the other side of town - give your loved ones the ability to seek, explore, and capture their adventure. They'll be happy to share what they find with you along the way.
Never get caught on the road without a map! GPS isn't always available on back-country, middle of nowhere roads.
An old 35mm camera from a thrift store
Try Goodwill, Salvation Army, or your local thrift shops for an old camera - even the point-and-shoot kind make for unique travel companions!
We intend to see the grand ole USA from the roadside and document it along the way.
Memberships + Moolah that live long after the holidays
Most of us don't get into the tiny lifestyle because we're rolling in the dough - and that typically isn't a priority! No one can say no to a little help around the holidays and some memberships that provide consumables or digital products keep giving all year long.
Especially fitting if their build is still in progress!
Many of us tiny home travelers live for the splendor of national parks. It's a small investment but it means no cash needed to enter these gorgeous protected lands.
With the most location nationwide, a Shell gas card is sure to keep any mobile tiny dwellers rolling!
Listening to audiobooks on long road trips is a great way to break up the monotony of repeated favorite albums.
You can't go wrong with an Amazon card. We buy most of our home goods, some of our building supplies, and many of our gifts on Amazon - and we get points back when we do!
Things we cherish but cannot keep
Strapped for space or tight on cash, giving from your heart to theirs (or to their stomachs) is a warm way to personalize a present for anyone on your list.
A living, fragrant wreath
Handmade or store-bought, a living wreath breathes life into any space. Make up your own design or try this dreamy DIY by Design Love Fest.
home-cooked meal they can freeze & reheat
Off-grid power systems can't always support crock pots or large batch meals without abundant fire stoking. Cook a delicious meal and package it for canning or freezing so they can enjoying for weeks to come. Need inspiration? This Crock Pot Honey Garlic Chicken + Veggies from Damn Delicious and Vegan Black Bean & Butternut Squash Burritos from Oh She Glows sound amazing.
one-dozen homemade cookies
Your favorite recipe (or your mom's) will be a delicious gift anyone can enjoy. A new favorite from our neighbor back in St Pete: Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Write them a poem or story
You don't have to be a writer to share a sweet rhyme or favorite tale with a friend. Not the wordy type? Offer to photograph them or play them a few of their favorite songs.
Plan a picnic for the new year
As the weather warms, we'll all be headed outside for new year enjoyment. Plan a picnic and mark it on the calendar to look forward to this gift all winter long!
In contrast to guessing what they may need or want, you can simply ask
Try asking deeper questions when deciding if - and what - to give during your holiday celebrations. Consider queries like:
Have you been working on a special project or trying something new lately?
If you don't feel comfortable asking, trying checking out their social media shares and Instagram likes (you know - swipe the notifications screen to the right and you'll reveal a list of what your followers are liking). This may give you insight into what they're drawn to lately.
Have you been wanting to try anything lately, like a class or a hobby?
This type of information can be garnered from everyday conversation. Acting on what you hear, like signing that person up for the Fermentation 101 workshop they've been eying or buying that obscure handmade accessory from a profile they're obsessed with is what takes thoughtful to the next level.