The Thoughtful Gift Guide: What We All Really Want (& Need) in 2020

The Thoughtful Gift Guide: What We All Really Want (& Need) in 2020

As much as the past few months have demonstrated how unnecessary most consumerist behavior is, gift giving is a big part of the holiday season, even in a pandemic, justifying the need for a little bit of shopping. For a number of reasons, the types of presents we exchange this year will be way different from previous years and might require a little more thoughtfulness. If you struggle with that sort of thing, I’ve compiled a list of thoughtful gift ideas to help you figure it out.


Face Coverings

Right now, there’s no such thing as having too many face masks. We all have to wear them when we venture out, and best practices dictate that face coverings should be cleaned after use each time. For reusable masks, washing them every day is not the most effective strategy for time and energy efficiency, and so it makes sense to keep multiples on hand. Think of them as socks or underwear that come labeled with individual days of the week. You can wash them at the end of every week to ensure that there’s a clean batch to wear when Monday rolls around.

There’s an abundance of comfortable, breathable masks available to purchase. Support a small-business owner by purchasing hand-crafted face coverings on Etsy, purchase a multi-pack from your favorite fashion retailer, or try a site like Amazon. Vogue regularly updates its compilation of comfortable masks which you can look to for inspiration.


Comfy Loungewear

All the important stuff is happening indoors now from the comfort of beds, kitchen tables, sofas, and home offices. Working from home has presented the opportunity to 9-to-5 it in ultimate comfort, and the world has leaned heavily into this trend. Why suffer the discomfort of underwire and formal clothing when there’s the option of plush sweaters and elastic-waist pants? If you are aware of the recipient’s color or print preferences and clothing sizes, give the gift of a matching jogger set, elegant loungewear, and comfy slippers.


Tele-Therapy Gift Subscriptions

The demand for therapy has increased dramatically since March with so many people flung into so much uncertainty all at once. For some, coping mechanisms are needed to combat the daily anxiety of the pandemic, and for others, recent events have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. As much as everyone could benefit from regular therapy, it’s not a service that is accessible to everyone because of cost and the process needed to find a provider. Online therapy services like Talkspace streamline that process by matching customers with licensed professionals according to their needs, for fees that are revealed upfront. Currently, you can gift a single therapy session to someone you know who might benefit from it, or unlimited messaging therapy.


Self-Care Kits

If you’re going for more of a homemade feel, a curated parcel of small gifts is the way to go. It could be like a giant Christmas stocking of little bits and bobs sent with the intention of imparting a little joy and helping the recipient relax. Customize the self-care package to encompass the things they love most, like sheet masks, snacks, a useful tool, or a warm item of clothing. You could even curate the selection around a theme. A home spa day could include a candle, skin care products, nail polish, and soothing beverages. For a cozy night in, perhaps some hot chocolate or cider, a gift card for a movie rental, gourmet popcorn, and a cozy throw. The possibilities are endless when you use your imagination.


Their Favorite Foods

Gifts of favorite foods are especially thoughtful if the pandemic has prevented them from making trips home or to their favorite regular destination. For instance, someone with origins in Maryland might miss steamed blue crabs and Otterbein cookies, while another person from Louisiana might miss muffuletta sandwiches from NOLA. A lot of businesses offer store-to-door delivery during the pandemic, so if your special someone could use a little foodie love, that would make for a great gift. Sites like Goldbelly, Mouth, and La Tienda can help provide a little comfort to someone you know this season.

pandemic gifts
Goldbelly delivers comfort foods like Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen’s fried chicken and biscuit.

The sentiment about Christmas being more than just about gift-giving gets bandied around a lot, and I think that this year, that statement is both truthful and not, at the same time. The gifts we send and receive will soothe a little bit of the ache that we’re all feeling, and at the same time, we don’t necessarily need them to remind us how special the season is and how incredibly lucky we all are to be able to partake in it. I hope that every single one of you has a heartwarming and special holiday season, celebrated in whichever fashion you deem fitting.

Happy holidays!


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