Looking for the perfect holiday gifts… but gifts that work for a COVID-19 Christmas?
In the event of more restrictions and lockdowns where you live, it’s good to be prepared. These gift ideas work whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or any other December holiday.
Updated for 2021, you’ll find ideas for making it through another socially-distanced holiday and the winter months to come.
Gifts That Make Social Distancing Easier
How has COVID-19 changed what’s on our wish lists? In so many ways.Here are the major trends to keep in mind when choosing a gift in 2021:
- Nesting: Anything that makes us more comfy at home over the long haul will be invaluable.
- Home office equipment: Working from home may be here to stay. We’ve included gift ideas to make it more comfortable and efficient.
- Outdoor living: Winter is coming and we’re getting outdoors like never before. Gifts that make outdoor activities possible are right on-trend.
- Home fitness: Exercising at home is a necessity for some and a choice for others. Get our best gear ideas.
- Health: We’re all thinking about our health more seriously these days. Luckily, there are a ton of options for giving the gift of health.
- Pets: Did your loved ones finally get the pet they’ve always wanted? Pet life is a huge COVID-19 trend and there are many gifting possibilities.
- Hobbies: We may be out and about less often, but we’re getting creative at home more than ever before. You can get creative with hobby-related gifts, too.
- Home cooking & “dining out” at home: People are cooking more now and gifts for the home chef abound! But sometimes we also need a break from the kitchen…
- Libations: We may not be clinking glasses communally, but we still like to indulge and unwind over a special drink. Get gift ideas for the wine, beer or spirit lover here.
- Local: We all know that local businesses are at risk. So, choosing to buy local whenever possible is the right choice. When you do, you can also save yourself the stress of shipping time delays — which are a serious consideration in 2021.
- 100% online/digital gifts: Gifts don’t have to be physical or tangible to be meaningful. Here are some ideas for quality online giving.
- Giving back: Many of us have more than we can ever want or need. Giving to a charity this year will be more meaningful than ever.
From practical considerations to ethical concerns… we’re all giving a lot more thought to what we buy, when and where than ever before. That’s why we’ve included plenty of ideas in this COVID-19 gift guide.
Nesting Gift Ideas
Nesting is a huge COVID-19 trend. Our homes are more important than ever because many of us spend all day, every day right at home. And luckily, there are plenty of gift ideas for nesting.
Anything designed to make life at home more comfortable, beautiful and functional is sure to be appreciated.
Woolen throw blankets for the person who is always cold (we all know someone), cushions, natural candles, essential oil diffusers, bath robes, pyjamas, slippers and at-home spa supplies are small gifts that can help make anyone’s at-home time more luxurious.
This lemon, lavender, geranium, grapefruit and rose blended soy candle can be found at Sara’s Soap and Candles, a Canadian company. More about Sara and her products can be found here.
If you’re spending more, the ultimate COVID nesting gift may be an outdoor heat lamp or fire pit. When you can stay warm on the porch or in the backyard you can stay together — albeit socially distanced.
Home Office Gift Ideas
Let’s not forget the home office. While it might not be a cozy nesting place, the home office has become essential.
Standing desks, floor mats (to relieve pressure while standing) and ergonomic chairs make working at home healthier.
Consider also home office lighting, storage (like filing cabinets and shelves), desk accessories, scanners and printers.
Now that we’re meeting online more often, proper microphones and video cameras for online meetings make us look and feel a lot more pro, at home.
You can even give the gift of a Zoom subscription! What could be more appropriate?
Outdoor Gear and Sporting Gift Ideas
When we can’t gather inside because of COVID — we gather outside!
That’s why it’s more important than ever to have durable and long-lasting outdoor equipment for outdoor play in any season.
In our household, we’re taking a lot more fall hikes and walks through our neighbourhood. And because Canadian weather can be so, well, varied, we need plenty of outdoor gear.
Quality outdoor clothing is a perfect pandemic gift. Boots, coats, accessories and layers make getting outside in any weather more comfortable.
Running shoes and outdoor running gear are great choices, too. Running in ice and snow requires more advanced running gear, including serious layers and anti-slip attachments for shoes.
There are some wonderful Canadian outdoor gear brands and retailers. Look for local manufacturers and retailers, if you can.
The same goes for outdoor sports equipment. We definitely felt the need for more of this when parks and recreation centres closed.
Some of the most popular sports equipment can’t be used until spring, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be appreciated now. Bikes, scooters, skateboards and rollerblades are in huge demand.
Basketball nets, “ninja lines”, slacklines and trampolines are also a lot of fun. Get them now before they sell out in spring!
For winter outdoor fun, think hockey nets and sticks, toboggans, snowshoes, skis and skates.
At-Home Fitness Gifts
COVID-19 has emptied out the gyms and exercise studios…
Which is why home fitness equipment flew off the shelves in 2020 and 2021.
Yoga and exercise mats, resistance bands, free weights and kettlebells are great gifts for the at-home exerciser on your list.
If you’re splurging and have the space, ellipticals, rowers, treadmills and stationary bikes are hot holiday gift items. (Remember that Peloton ad we were all laughing at in 2019? Wouldn’t it be nice to obsess over something that ridiculous again?)
Of course, giving the gift of fitness doesn’t stop at equipment.
There are plenty of online exercise program memberships that bring novelty and fun to working out. Why not give a subscription? From calm and chill daily yoga to intense interval training, you’d be able to find online fitness program options for anyone!
And because we sometimes overdo it… consider Magnesium Chloride Balm (with or without added soothing lavender) for the fitness buff in your life. Rubbing a gel, spray, or concentrated liquid into sore muscles can help relieve post-workout tension. (Why not combine it with a foam roller for extra relief?)
Give the Gift of Natural Health
What better way to stay healthy than the natural way? COVID-19 has made us more health-conscious than ever.
Natural health subscription boxes or gift baskets from your local health store are great gift ideas. Pack them with organic foods, natural body care, beauty and household products.
Supplements can help build immunity and there are many wonderful, Canadian online supplements stores
But if you’re not sure which supplements to give, why not give the gift of personalized nutrition support? Many naturopathic doctors and nutritionists offer online consultations.
Some supplements are perfect for almost anyone. And while we’re biased, we know from research that almost everyone can use Natural Calm magnesium.
Most Canadians don’t get enough magnesium and without this essential mineral, our stress-coping capacities are limited. (And who doesn’t need help with stress right now?)
Natural Calm also helps with sleep, heart health, PMS, muscle tension, energy, gut health, and much more. It’s the universal supplement that’s an easy gift for any health nut (or not!) who is hard to buy for.
Pet-Related Gift Ideas
Pets have been adopted at record speeds during COVID-19.
Provided that your family is ready, a furry (or scaly) friend can be the ultimate addition to your family and a really fun gift! Of course, pets can be very expensive. And you have to be sure you can keep up when everyone goes back to work for good. So, this does take a big commitment and a lot of planning.
Consider a rescue pet if you can. Good rescue operations will help you make the right match.
Even getting on a breeder’s waitlist can mean an investment of hundreds of dollars. While you might have to wait past the holidays to welcome your pet, you can celebrate taking the first steps.
If your loved ones already have a pet, think about giving pet accessories, dog training (even better if it’s online) or even gift certificates to grooming or the vet. There are a lot of (sometimes unexpected) costs associated with pet ownership, so pet-related gifts can be truly welcome.
Gifts for at Home Hobbies (Indoors and Outdoors)
So many of us are discovering unknown hobbies and pastimes — it’s one of the unexpected upsides of social distancing.
Of course, the range of hobby-related gifts are endless. Here are a few ideas:
- For gardeners or would-be gardeners: Gardening is exploding — and even though winter is coming, now is a great time to get ready for spring when gardening equipment could once again sell out. Seeds, tools, a gardening journal, gardening equipment, and even indoor planters are wonderful choices.
- For creative types: Visit your local art shop or check out their online store. There will be many long winter days spent at home. Why not give the gift of immersion in creativity?
- For crafty folks: Knitting, sewing, jewelry making and other crafts were already trending, but even more so now!
- For budding engineers: Robotics kits promote STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and math) and the best ones can be used to create multiple projects. Parents will definitely appreciate that, especially if their kids are learning at home during COVID-19.
- For handy types: DIYers will always appreciate tool-related gifts… and with COVID-19, it can be easier to just get it done yourself. In this category we’d include anything for carpentry or home improvement.
Let’s not forget puzzles and board games. While not exactly hobbies, these fit in perfectly with old fashioned at-home family fun. A new game or puzzle can occupy the whole family on a cold day for hours on end, and can be adapted based on the age of your kids (and, let’s be real, their attention spans).
Gifts for Foodies
Or, should we say, gifts for everyone who eats?
We’re all cooking now more than ever. Some have embraced it with huge enthusiasm… while others are just trying to feed the family as best they can.
Whether those on your list are “foodies” or just people who eat, gifts for home cooking can be so appreciated right now.
Baking has been a huge COVID trend from the start. In April, you couldn’t buy a bread maker online for almost any price…
So, if you’re shopping for kitchen-related gifts, expect certain hot items to be totally sold out!
Personally, we’re less excited about single-use kitchen equipment (all of that clutter) and more excited about good, quality multi-purpose equipment.
Durable, well-made knife sets, pots, pans, blenders, pressure cookers and food processors can make all the difference.
Cookbooks are great, too. Of course, we can find endless recipes online, but there’s something about browsing a beautiful cookbook that can inspire us to roll up our sleeves and get back to it!
Online cooking classes or subscriptions to cooking magazines are great options for anyone who loves (or wants to love) cooking.
Of course, sometimes we just need a break from shopping, chopping and cooking.
That’s where gift certificates from local restaurants come in. Try to choose truly local restaurants to keep businesses in need afloat!
Prefer a food-related gift that’s socially responsible AND environmentally responsible? Local community shared agriculture operations deliver weekly food boxes of locally-grown produce. It’s a fun surprise each week to see what’s in the box, and if supporting local and organic farmers matters to you, this is an ideal gift.
Then, there are also meal kit delivery services for almost any dietary needs. You can give a single meal or an ongoing subscription. Meal kits take some of the pressure off of meal planning and shopping, which makes this idea another very thoughtful gift.
Have a coffee or tea lover on your list? There are subscription boxes for that, too. While we love supporting our local coffee and tea shops, during COVID-19 we can save money (and help save the planet) by brewing up at home more often.
Gifts for the Wine, Beer or Spirits Lover
In an ideal world, we’d all only ever unwind with a cup of Natural Calm:) But in reality, that’s not going to happen!
If someone on your list is an amateur sommelier, a craft beer lover, or a cocktail connoisseur, you might once have popped over to the LCBO (or your local equivalent) to pick them up a gift. But during COVID-19, we’ve seen long lines during peak times.
Instead, why not have a special bottle shipped? Or, if you’ve missed the shipping cut-off date for your gift and have more to spend, consider a subscription box.
There are also plenty of fun online mixology, online wine tasting and sommelier courses available, too. You can even get home brewing lessons!
Speaking of which…
100% Online Gift Ideas
You might have noticed a theme in this COVID-19 gift guide. Whatever your loved ones wish for, chances are, there’s an online option.
Today, you really don’t have to choose between the hazards of shopping in-person and the stress of uncertain delivery time. Many amazing gifts are 100% contactless and 100% digital. (Aka instant!)
We’ve already talked about gift certificates — especially to local businesses… But what about other contactless gift ideas?
Online learning was a growing trend before COVID-19, but the pandemic absolutely exploded demand for learning virtually.
Anything you want to learn today can be accessed online. Major online learning platforms include Masterclass, MindValley, Codecademy and Udemy. From writing to coding, there is a class to be found for anyone on your list.
Have a magazine reader or news junkie on your list?
Why not get them a subscription to a magazine or publication that’s behind a paywall? During COVID-19, we’ve all been reading a lot more online, but much of the best content can only be accessed with a subscription.
Shopping for kids?
There are plenty of digital subscription options for little people, too. And we’re not talking Xbox or Playstation here. Look for online platforms that make learning fun (hello gamification!) and encourage kids to explore their interests.
What about pure entertainment?
Now that so much of the music, TV and film we consume is subscription-based, the costs can add up. Chances are, someone on your gift list would love a subscription to a streaming service.
Many of these content platforms let you give a friend a month or more of a number of film or music streaming sites. Apple Music, Hulu, Disney+, and Spotify are all options for totally-hands free gifting this season. (Or for discriminating viewers, check out the Criterion Collection.)
Before we even get into Giving Back, one way to give back to your community is to shop locally. Now more than ever, Canadian businesses need your support to make it through these trying times. Here are a few to kick off your #shoplocal season:
Soft Focus is a Toronto-based brand that offers comfy, sustainable fashion options that anyone would love to add to their work-from-home artillery.
Rose City Goods is a Canadian retailer of ethically made self care essentials.
Massy Books is a Canadian, indigenous-owned bookstore which operates both in person in Vancouver, BC, and online. Online gift cards are available!
ByUs Box is a Toronto-based startup who create inclusivity toolkits to help parents to start to talk to their kids about racism and LGBT2SQ+ inclusivity. They have different boxes geared toward children of different ages, starting from babies! Their boxes are available for order online.
Mejuri is a great source for quality handmade jewellery. With partners from Toronto, ON to Seoul, Korea, Mejuri focuses on bringing these hand crafted pieces to you without the markups that other retailers include.
COVID-19 has made us more globally aware than ever before. We know that the pandemic has made life harder for many people around the world. In an unexpected way, it’s also made us more aware of our impact on the planet because we saw the skies clear and the wildlife emerge when commuting came to a standstill.
You and your family may decide that this year, you have more than enough. You may decide to give to charity instead of spending on gifts.
We’ve already adjusted in so many ways. Giving up our gifts is just one small thing.
If your donation is a gift on behalf of a friend or family member, you can let them choose the charity. Or, let everyone know that you’re making a major donation this year in lieu of gifts.
As you may know, at Natural Calm, we give proceeds to the not-for-profit we founded, Thrive for Good (formerly Organics 4 Orphans). Thrive is an expression of our passion for the planet and for the health of everyone on it. If those are your values, too, we would be incredibly grateful if you considered a gift to Thrive this year.
And that wraps our 2021 holiday gift guide: the COVID-19 edition
While we can’t wait to get back to big family dinners, cozy inside with those we love… we’re also grateful for what ‘hitting pause’ is teaching us.
This year, we’re definitely spending less on the usual and more than ever on gifts that help our loved ones stay active and healthy — physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
What about you? How is your giving changing this year?