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Giving Gifts in the Age of COVID-19

Most people would agree that 2020 has been a pretty rough year. Normally at this time, people would be planning big family gatherings and hitting the stores to get their holiday shopping done in earnest. That’s not a good idea this year, though; while hope is on the horizon, there’s still a lot of danger in our current situation. Does that mean that 2020’s final trick is that it gets to play the Grinch and steal Christmas? Of course not.

There are still a number of ways to shop and spread cheer while staying safe during the holiday season. Though some of these will depend on where you live and who you’re shopping for, here are several suggestions on both how to shop and what you can buy to make the holidays merry and bright even in 2020.

Shopping Local

With lockdowns and other restrictions affecting many parts of the country, small businesses have really taken a hit this year. That makes it a great time to buy gifts from local small businesses and independent artists in your area. Keep in mind that you still need to stay safe when supporting local businesses; before heading out to shop, see if the businesses you want to support offer online shopping or if they have storefronts at Amazon, Ebay or If looking to support local artists, see if they have an online gallery or if they have a shop at Etsy or a similar website. If you do go shopping in person, try to go early in the day when the shops are less likely to be busy to help you avoid crowds.

Online Gift Options

Another option that a lot of people are taking advantage of this year is expanded online sales offered by a variety of major retailers. In most cases, they even have gift wrapping available so that gifts can be purchased, wrapped and sent directly to a recipient without having to have quite as many points of contact between purchase and the recipient. Digital gift cards are also available, letting your recipient pick out their own gift and eliminating the physical contact aspect of giving a gift card completely. Most major retailers also support storefronts put up by smaller businesses, allowing you to choose to buy the same item from a smaller retailer that may be struggling while still enjoying the convenience of using the big retailer’s website.

Custom Gift Boxes

If you want a gift that really shows how much you care, you might consider gift boxes instead of simply buying a single item from a retail store. Companies such as Harry & David ( and Spoonful of Comfort ( offer a variety of care and holiday gift boxes with fruits, sweet treats, gifts and more. You can also choose something really unique like an Explosion Box from Sendacake ( to create a truly unique gift box that will leave your recipient with a great holiday memory even if you can’t physically be there together for the holidays.

Streaming Gifts

While everyone’s staying at home, streaming entertainment services have taken on a new importance. Fortunately, you can buy gift cards or gift subscriptions for the various online streaming services as a way to give the gift of entertainment to friends and family who are staying safe at home. The standard services like Netflix and Hulu have fairly recently been joined by Disney+, Peacock, HBO Max and more, and other services such as the streaming-television service SlingTV are also options. If all else fails, you can also opt for gift cards for a variety of digital