So, one of your friends is the Zen type. Deep breaths and herbal scents fill their lungs, and maybe they even refer to themselves as mindful, balanced, or a yogi. Zen can mean different things to different people, but there are many common elements and accepted Zen practices. Instead of picking out a gift at random, why not pick them something that enhances their Zen?
While playing an instrument is not inherent to being "Zen," some instruments are linked with meditation. Your Zen friend might prefer Tibetan singing bowls, like those used by Tibetan Buddhist monks, or they may prefer bells and wind chimes. Even if your friend doesn't actively use these things during their meditation practice, having them as part of their meditation room décor may instill a sense of calm and spiritual engagement.
Meditation doesn't require an altar, but most people who consider themselves Zen know that having a dedicated sacred space makes the practice of meditating just a bit easier. An altar doesn't need to be anything too complicated; most Zen spaces consist of a simple rug, some tranquil artwork, and a cushion or two. If your friend already has the basic meditation room décor, consider a Zen wall hanging or an indoor macramé planters.
Everyone loves a little bling every now and then, and your Zen friend is no different. The biggest difference is that meditative jewelry is usually made of more earthy materials: volcanic rock, precious crystals, leather, cotton, and silk. Some jewelry is itself intended for specific types of meditation: malas or prayer beads for mantras and focused meditation, diffuser jewelry for "mindful moments," and rosaries for a specific set of Catholic prayers.
Other great Zen jewelry ideas are pieces that display Zen related symbols such as Chakra jewelry, buddha jewelry, or Zen Circle jewelry pieces.
Strictly speaking, the only equipment you need to meditate is your own body. That being said, some people enjoy simplifying their meditation practice through the use of tools. If your friend practices unguided meditation, a simple timer and a CD of nature sounds will work well. If they prefer guided meditations, consider buying a premium meditation app subscription on their behalf. For either type of meditation, an essential oil diffuser and some calming scents (like lavender, chamomile, or sweet orange oil) can bring a little extra peace to their Zen space.
Meditation pillows and cushions also make a great Zen gift. They add to their meditation room décor and provide a comfy place for meditation. You can choose from a variety of styles and colors - you can even get meditation chairs.
Classes, Lessons, and Books
Your Zen friend probably doesn't have a need for any meditation lessons specifically, but enrolling in one yourself may help you understand why your Zen friend is so much calmer than the rest of your friends. There are many books about mindfulness, focus, and self-love, all of which can help a new meditation practice grow. Some groups even organize "meditation retreats" -- off-the-grid vacations that encourage mindfulness and spiritual awareness.
If your friend already knows all there is to know about meditation, taking a yoga class together may be a good way to bond and apply the breathing techniques learned through meditation. While the two activities aren't explicitly related, many people who enjoy one also enjoy the other.
No matter which Zen gift you decide to buy for your friend, rest assured knowing that most who consider themselves Zen are minimalists, thriving on experiences instead of things. Even if your friend already has the gift you picked they will be flattered that you took the time to find something they'd actually like. Besides, you can never have too many crystals.