How Gift Giving Will Be Different This Year
by Stacia Garland

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many changes, challenges, and adjustments. We have certainly had time to examine and evaluate our material possessions. While many of us sat at home during the lockdown staring at all our “stuff” and thinking to ourselves, where did all this stuff come from, some people used their time to organize their stuff, while many people purged and donated their stuff. And yet, others went online and ordered more stuff. Regardless of which choices you made during lockdown, this holiday season may have us thinking differently about gift giving.

Regardless of how we adults feel about clutter, kids will still want toys. In researching the hottest toys for Christmas 2020, I found there is not one particular “hot” toy this season, but rather quite an assortment of games and toys for all ages. Even a few caught my adult eye as I found myself thinking, “Oh, I want to play with that!” Such as the PLAYMOBIL Scooby-DOO! Mystery Machine, and the Crayola Ultimate Light Board.

As we anticipate the end of this unusual year and the beginning of a new year with fresh beginnings, the 2020 holiday season seems like a good occasion for clutter-free gift giving. Ideas for both children and adults may include:

  • Experiences – this could include anything involving a ticket, a pass. or a gift card.
  • Memberships – this could include museums and parks.
  • Time – this generally involves a service or classes (think of anything the person may want to learn or a talent they may want to expand upon).
  • Consumables may include baskets of food or flowers.
  • And, finally, my personal favorite, a donation to the person’s favorite charity.

A final consideration.  There are many people out of work, or still trying to catch up financially. Offering your emotional support or giving a gift card for necessities, or for an enjoyable distraction, maybe the most helpful. Ultimately, gift-giving is about thoughtfulness.  Think about what the recipient needs to make their life easier or more pleasant and, when appropriate, involve your children in those decisions. There are many opportunities this year for thinking outside of the gift-wrapped box. The holidays can be a very lonely time for many people. Reaching out to someone this holiday season with a card or a visit may mean a lot. Sometimes the most needed gifts do not come wrapped with a bow.