Just like the rest of this year, the holidays are lining up to be very different than in the past. Socially-distanced celebrations might be hard to get used to, but what we can rely on is the spirit of the season. Gift giving is always nice, and we’ve created a list of ideas that we think uniquely fit the new challenges and lifestyles that the pandemic has created. Another holiday favorite, volunteering, doesn’t have to take a back seat due to COVID-19 restriction. Virtual volunteering is alive and well and there are a lot of options to spread holiday cheer.

Giving Back / Volunteering

#VirtualVolunteering is trending on social media these days, showing that the idea of giving back during the holidays is just as alive as well as always. If you have a favorite charity or organization that you usually volunteer for, give them a call to find out how you can help. Even though in-person volunteering might not be an option, most organizations still need equipment, funds and resources to continue their work. Much of this can be done from home and is a great way to bring close family together.

Here’s something else you might now know: Volunteering is also good for both mental and physical health! Research has shown that people who volunteer can experience a boost in their mental health and physical health — good news at a time when more than a third of Americans are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression and are concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gifting in the Time of Coronavirus

While giving gifts is an idea that will never go out of style, this year is great for themed ideas, such as:

Self-care and wellness: Health – physical and mental – is especially important right now. Giving gifts that are fun and functional for helping people to keep their minds and bodies in balance and in a healthy state will be very appreciated.

Ideas include: Fancy loose-leaf teas, mindfulness cards, luxurious loungewear, themed journals, aromatherapy candles or essential oils, heated or weighted blankets, blue-light glasses, scented or heated pillows, or subscriptions to monthly shipments from companies that focus on self-care.

Fitness on-the-go: As gyms closed down, fitness turned to outdoors and online, making anything that you can use at home a great idea for families that want to keep in shape.

Ideas: Subscriptions to virtual training programs, exercise bands, weights, or bars, back rollers, yoga mats and grippy yoga socks, gift cards for workout wear, water bottles with fun or inspirational messaging, and invitations for distanced hikes with friends.

Work and play from home: The year 2020 is the year that people had to refocus on living life from home. The home took a starring role for work, play, cooking, crafting, school and life in general, making gifts that help with any of this on point this holiday season.

Ideas: Kits for growing herbs or succulents at home, electric tea kettles, anything for the desk to promote de-stressing such as zen gardens or stress balls, cooking apps, books, aprons or interesting ingredients, and crafting supplies for their newest hobby.

Outdoor adventures: Sure, we all have to socially-distance, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the great outdoors. In fact, it’s a relief and a pleasure for many to escape the confines of the home base and see what’s out there, which is probably why the concept of “friluftsliv” is trending these days. Gifts that help people explore and enjoy everything nature has to offer are always a great idea.

Ideas: Annual passes for national parks, maps, apps and field guides for traveling, travel coffee mugs, camp mugs or Yeti-type carafes, safety and emergency supply kits, sleeping bags, travel pillows and blankets, car games, fun hats or clothes, camp chairs and s’mores kits.