Millennials are a fickle bunch, I should know since it turns out that I’m one of them (born between 1977 and 2000 according to Millennial Marketing). Some of us are minimalists and don’t want much of anything, we prefer experiences and things that create memories. I think this has been driven in part by all the (let’s be honest here) consumer junk that has been getting around for the last decade or so (wow, I’m old enough to remember more than one decade now).
Some of us are travel addicts and need things that are easy to take with us. Some of us are tech nuts. Some of us are focused on living a purposeful and meaningful life with people, animals and things that bring joy to our lives. In fact, Millennial Marketing says that around 50% of millennials are more likely to choose a product or brand if it supports a cause, and 37% of millennials are more likely to select products or brands that align with their beliefs. That’s part of why my wife and I have moved to giving gifts with a cause, such as Kiva Gift Cards.
A product should also serve a function, millennials aren’t into things that are just novelties and don’t bring some sort of value to their lives. Every millennial is different, but if you apply these rules to your millennial, hopefully, you’ll find some ideas in here that fit their life. Remember to ask them though, they will usually be able to give you plenty of suggestions, and if they mention a specific brand or model, it’s best to go with it since they will typically have a reason for that one.
So, I’ve compiled a list of my top 10 Christmas gift ideas, as a millennial myself, that will give you some inspiration on what to get the millennial in your life.
1. Gift cards
We tend to think of gift cards as a last-ditch effort if all else fails. I think we prefer to give something tangible that doesn’t denote an exact dollar value and that shows we put thought into what recipients would like. However, the most useful gifts for your millennial can often be too expensive. So gift cards mean you can help them to fund something they need without having to fork out all that money yourself.
Of course, if all else fails then a gift card for iTunes, Google Play (check what kind of phone they use first), or another store/chain that they frequent like Catch, BCF, Rebel Sport, David Jones, SuperCheap Auto, or even eBay, will not go astray. This way you are enabling them to purchase music, movies, TV, books, applications, tech, tools, auto electrical needs or just about anything else they will find value in with your gift! This is also a great way to do it if you aren’t going to see them over the holiday period because you can send them a digital gift card instead of a physical one.
So many places offer gift cards now, including gift cards for experiences, my number two gift idea. On a side note, if you pick a gift card you can get through eBay, you can sometimes combine it with their discount promotions to get it for less than it’s redeemable value. You could also consider a Kiva Gift Card for them as well. This is a gift that can keep on giving for them as well as yourself.
Millennials love to explore, to travel, to adventure. Each of us likes to do it a bit differently, but it’s undeniable that the vast majority of us find more value in creating lifelong memories, especially with those we love than in physical gifts. Sometimes that means world travel, other times it can be as simple as a new experience with family. Be creative and check out websites like Viator, Klook and KKDay for ideas that are near your millennial that they might not have experienced before. Of course, be sure to pick something that’s going to be of interest to them. The Q1 SkyPoint Observation Deck or Climb, for example, might not be the right choice if your millennial is afraid of heights and not keen on conquering that fear. If you aren’t quite sure what to go with, you could try a gift card for an experience marketplace like RedBalloon.
3. Environmentally friendly everyday products
They might think you’re hinting at something if you get them body hygiene products, but millennials do generally tend to be interested in products that are good for them and good for the planet. Think outside the box a little bit. Hygiene products are useful, but what else might they appreciate? A biodegradable toothbrush for example. Reusable stainless steel straws? Reusable cups? Maybe even reusable fresh produce bags? We have bought all of these things over the last year and find them invaluable! Check out stores like BioMe for lots of great ideas!
4. Quality, versatile clothing
This one is so simple but often overlooked. When you travel a lot, or if you want to keep your clothing to a minimum, high-quality items that are suitable for a variety of occasions are necessary. It is perfect if each piece packs down really small as well. Christmas in Australia is in summer, so you are likely to get some great deals on winter gear, but remember, you are aiming for maximum versatility. For a man, perhaps a button-up shirt that is dressy enough to wear for formal occasions, but also casual enough to leave the top button undone and roll up the sleeves for everyday wear.
I find that brands like Gazman and Rodd & Gunn provide quality clothing that’s not too expensive. Generally, steer away from prominent logos and think of more solid colours. It doesn’t have to be costly, and you can often pick up great stuff from op-shops!
5. Board games
Board games might seem old school and out of fashion, but they are also an activity that millennials tend to prefer to do the traditional way instead of digitally (board games that is, not computer games). Don’t go for Monopoly though (unless they specifically ask for it), check out some of the newer and more unusual games. Do a little bit of research and ask them if there is something they would really like. Depending on how much space they have and how many people they are likely to be playing with you could go for smaller games like Jaipur, Splendor, Patchwork, Cards Against Humanity, or Bohnanza.
6. USB battery packs
Wait, what? Yep, batteries. Preferably a rechargeable one with a USB charge port on it so that it can charge a phone, tablet, camera, whatever it might be, on the go. They are sometimes called power banks, and as more and more things head wireless, this is a great gift. Phone batteries never seem to last long enough, in particular when they are being used as a camera during travel. This helps to solve that dilemma by bringing portable power wherever you go. As you are shopping, keep in mind that the higher the mAh number on the battery, the more charge it can provide. There are stacks to choose from in all colours, shapes and sizes on eBay, Amazon, and just about everywhere else including vending machines, if you are really stuck. I’ve had four different ones in different capacities, and my favourite so far has been the RavPower 20,000mah model. It’s small, charges quickly and provides a lot of power. Some other high capacity models are big or very slow to charge.
7. Smart home devices
Not sure why anyone would want an internet-connected speaker that listens to you and talks back? What about a TV that can turn on your lights? Millennials are increasingly spending their time in the digital scape and are rapidly taking on the smart-home and internet of things idea. In our house, we have a smart TV, smart lights (Philips Hue) and an intelligent temperature, humidity and air quality monitor (Elgato Eve). I find myself increasingly wanting to use smart assistants like Siri, Google, Alexa and so on because, to be honest, when they work well, they make things really easy. Think arriving home in the dark, getting out bags of groceries from the car and saying “Hey Siri, can you turn on the house lights for me?” Voila, on come the house lights. It’s still in early stages but there is huge potential, and this is something that tech-head millennials will especially love! Not to mention, this is bound to spark joy in their lives. Check out tools like the Google Home and Amazon Echo for ideas. The Sonos One is also a great looking smart speaker that supports both Google and Alexa assistants though it is a bit difficult to get in Australia at the moment.
8. Wireless Headphones
You might have noticed, millennials are often seen wandering their native habitats with headphones on or in their ears. Wireless headphones have been around for a while, but they’ve recently dropped in price and make listening to your favourite tunes while commuting to work or hitting the gym much more enjoyable. Can you say: “Yay, no more accidentally ripping the headphones out of your ears when the cable gets caught on something”? Just check what they use them for the most. Earbuds like the Powerbeats3 Wireless Headphones might be best if they are exercising with them on (I have a set of these, and they are great!). If they are just wearing them on a commute, then on-ear headphones could be better.
Drones are really cool, and a lot of millennials are experimenting with them, mainly as they document their travels, explorations and lives in general. The problem though is that they are so difficult to choose and can be quite expensive. They can be either too big, poor quality camera, too heavy to travel with, and of course, they can also be costly. The DJI Spark is a great consumer-level drone from DJI and provides an excellent balance. It’s small and lightweight making it a perfect travel drone. It’s also relatively cheap while being a very advanced piece of equipment for the price. This gift is bound to satisfy the travel addict and the tech nut.
10. Virtual reality
Virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality are taking off, and millennials are at the forefront of experimenting with it. A full-blown headset like the HTC Vive can be pricey though. A Google Cardboard compatible device can be as cheap as $6 and works with most current smartphones to create a virtual reality experience that your millennial will love. You might even want to get one for yourself!
I hope you got some inspiration from this list of ideas! If you have any other suggestions on gift ideas for millennials I’d love to hear them, and I’m sure others reading would too, let me know in the comments box below!
2 thoughts on “Top 10 Gift Ideas For Millennials This Christmas (Written by a Millennial)”
Good write up. I find there is a sheltered behavioral shift, wherein experiences -no matter how vapid – are played as hugely important. Self sustenance is low on the priority list. The reality is: since the beginning of time people have had to make their own experiences, and didn’t expect them to be the responsibility of others.
Somehow this has changed, and the success of life is based around what others provide to younger people.
In this American society, you need to learn to be independent and you need to be a contributor. If you don’t like it and don’t want it, then go live in China and drop your US citizenship.
Amazing that most of these proclaimed EXPERIENCES never include philanthropic time with volunteering. Originality in thinking is part of the creative and artistic process that was a part of the American Experience in public education – well before a Facebook, Twitter or college education happened.
Today, “creative thinking” is just another way to justify NOT taking responsibility for yourself and blaming others. A complete lack of getting to know yourself, being able to like yourself and lacking in finding a sense of humor in life are symptoms of this generational shift.
If you can do anything to help the Millennial, it would be to teach them how to be self-sustaining. Consider the experience of camping. Consider reading in preparation for experiences that include helping you ahead of time – like injections to vaccinate against HepA and HepB, before going to the places around the world that have chronic cases of this. Learn how to respect elders. Learn US History, Science, personal finance and Math, so they have the tools to function in the future as independents.
Misplaced compassion that is ‘out of context’ is too common today. Stop mis-using words like Gratitude and Love, and learn to appreciate life in the USA. Learn the value of the EXISTING freedoms they have in America today, as compared the 95% of the world’s population who live on less than $1 a day, and many subjected to NO freedom. Learn to THINK.
Just sayin…. 🙂
Hi AriGold, thanks for the thought out comment! As a millennial myself, I’d agree with a lot of your sentiments, however, I do think the situation is a bit different here in Australia than in the USA. I particularly liked your comments about camping, my wife and I love going camping, it’s such a cheap and easy way to experience the world. I actually think a number of the things you are referring to stem from other cultural movements and are not solely a generational thing, it’s just manifested more prominently in this generation as it has rallied behind various causes that these cultural movements are ingrained in.
Appreciate your thoughts!