It’s so strange to think about, but the 2020 holiday season is now upon us. With all the strangeness and negativity this year has brought, it’s hard to consider what “cheer” will look like for so many. I doubt that gift ideas are on anyone’s mind right now. I totally get that. Life is happening for so many of us in such a real way. 

Even though this year has been a bit of a dumpster fire, no one has canceled our fourth quarter holidays. The last big holidays of the year may be the emotional turnaround many of us have needed since March. While I hope malls and stores won’t be packed like years past (because social distancing), I do think this year will provide an opportunity to think differently about giving this year. 

THE GIFT OF CONNECTION

So many of us haven’t been able to actually see and spend time with our loved ones for several months. Social distancing guidelines have us rethinking our gathering plans due to health concerns. They also have us operating out of an abundance of caution. That’s likely not something that will change drastically in the coming holiday months. Consider simple but heartfelt gift ideas this year. For example, think about new ways to connect with those you haven’t seen in a while. Programs like Zoom, Skype, Facetime, etc are a great way to link up with people virtually. We use many of those every day for business reasons. It can be a different experience when you use them for conversations with loved ones.

Consider ideas like setting up a computer, phone or webcam in a key place during the holiday dinner or gathering time in your house. Screen mirror the device to the TV for easier viewing on a larger screen. This way, you can have dinner in YOUR home, and your aunts, grandparents and friends can do the same in theirs. Everyone can socialize and interact safely with no risk of infection.

Smart home assistant devices like Google Home or Amazon Echo now allow people to make phone calls. They eliminate the need to gather around a phone or pass one around (with germy hands) to have family conversations. These gift ideas are the next best thing to being able to physically be with your family members.  

THINK THOUGHTFULLY

I’ll never try to convince you that people won’t always want the latest iPhone or newest gaming console. Capitalism and consumerism will always exist. After all, “holidays” and “presents” are practically synonymous in this country. With so many people out of work or low in spirit, gift ideas should take on a new meaning. This year’s focus should be on extremely thoughtful giving. 

Think about giving loved ones items that truly tap into what they might need right now. Do you have a grandparent in a nursing home? Going for long periods of time without seeing their families can take a serious toll on them. Think about gift ideas like a digital photo frame that you can update from afar. We’re all used to taking a quick selfie and texting it right away, but our older relatives may or may not be technologically savvy. With a gift like this one, your relative gets the familiar comfort of a traditional frame, but you can send them a new photo of their grandson, the family pet, a vacation photo or new engagement every single day! They won’t have to miss out on family events anymore.

There’s no one definition of “thoughtful” this holiday season. The key is letting your loved ones know that you know them very well, and that you’re keen on what would tend to their emotional well-being. If you have a cold-natured loved one, there are a host of cozy blankets that can be customized with personal photos on them. Trust me: it will bring a smile to YOUR face knowing they’ll associate being wrapped up in warmth with a visual memory of people that really care about them. Do you have a friend that’s all about binging movies and TV? They will absolutely love a digital download of a favorite movie, or a box set of a season of a favorite show. The possibilities are endless, as long as you take the time to really put thought into the gift ideas for the people you cherish this holiday.

SELF-CARE BOOST

This entire year has taken a toll on the global society. Mental wellness has been a priority for us all (or at least they should be). With everything going on, various emotions can make it hard to “can” some days. This holiday, consider gift ideas that cater to boosting self-care for friends and family.

For the days when people simply can’t be motivated to cook or think about preparing meals, Postmates, meal delivery or other subscription services can be really great stocking stuffers. They’re convenient and are handy for days when life and/or home circumstances are too much to deal with. You can lend a virtual hand at any time with a gift idea such as this.

The pandemic and isolated living have activated anxiety, depression and insomnia in many people. If your loved one deals with any of these, consider weighted blankets as a gift. They’re scientifically proven to help ground the body and reduce the production of cortisol, the primary stress hormone. Other great gift ideas include adult coloring books, anxiety journals, or soothing teas with a tea kettle. Candles, aromatherapy diffusers and lavender-based bath soaps are known to help with insomnia. What better gift of comfort could you give than nights of relaxing rest this holiday? 

No one knows what we will be experiencing in the days and months ending the year 2020. Now more than ever, there is a need to care for and consider each other like never before. It is my goal for the upcoming holiday season, and I know your loved ones would appreciate that you considered their heart with yours. No matter what you decide to do with and for friends and family this holiday, take time this year to let them know just how much they mean to you.

 

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