In COVID and Christmas 2020, consider these 6 tips for gift giving during this special year

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The year of 2020 pummeled us all. It reminded us that, overnight, everything can change. Our health, our businesses and our plans are never guaranteed. Those who have positively impacted our lives this year have gone above and beyond to do so, remembering us amidst the chaos of the pandemic.

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That’s why showing gratitude is more important than ever in 2020. So, give thought to important relationships and be intentional about honoring them (if the relationship is a work connection, this could even plant a seed to be harvested in the future in the form of an introduction or a job opportunity).

While the past nine months have often felt dark, we have the opportunity to share the light of the holiday season.

This month, a gesture of appreciation may mean far more to someone than in years past – especially because many people both feel emotionally depleted and have scaled back their buying-for-self, from stuff to services.

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A September 2020 survey, for example, showed that half of respondents’ monthly spending decreased over the past 12 months for reasons ranging from “worrying about the current economic situation” to “loss/decrease in another source of household income.”

Here are six tips for gifting during these difficult times:

Customize your kindness

If you know that someone on your gift list has been hit hard financially by the pandemic, a gift card that could be used for necessities may be far more valuable to them than having something to unwrap.

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On the other hand, for those fortunate enough to have pocketbooks that are unscathed, a check or gift card may not be the best choice. Instead, choose a thoughtful gift tailored to their interests or life situation to make an emotional impact.

Don’t wait till it’s too late 

More people will be mailing gifts this year, as travel is still restricted, so shipping times may be delayed. Don’t wait until the last minute to send gifts out; do it now. (And even if your to-be recipients are local, you may face unique hurdles to crossing off your list last-minute, as most stores have reduced their allowed capacity, and there are shortages in some consumer goods, such as electronics.)

Don’t create compromising positions 

While spa days and steak dinners may be traditional go-to gift certificates, consider avoiding gifts that might require the recipient to jeopardize his or her own health and safety (or that they would be unable to use for several months due to health and safety concerns).

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If you’re baking for others, take precautions like frequent hand washing and wearing a mask.

Consider juicing up your generosity

If you are fortunate enough to have done well in 2020 despite all of its challenges, consider giving a bit more than you normally would.

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This year, a generous gift could make a bigger impact than ever before.

Kindness is free

If your budget is tight, a thoughtful, handwritten card or a handmade gift would be most appreciated without breaking the bank. One of the five love languages identified by Gary D. Chapman is “words of affirmation” – and the same goes for platonic love! Telling others how much you value them can be even more powerful than gift-giving.

Support small businesses 

Many mom-and-pop shops have been severely impacted by the pandemic, and stimulus money isn’t making ends meet.

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Buying beyond big box stores could literally put food on the table for a family or help save a small business owner’s dream.

No matter which gift-giving approach you take this holiday season, gratitude should be the bow on top.

Express to others that you appreciate them – and, in some cases, could not have gotten through 2020 without them. While many of us have lost so much this year, we still have so much for which we can be grateful and our relationships should top the list.

Leigh Ann Errico is a Georgetown University-certified leadership coach (and soon-to-be Georgetown University-certified health & wellness coach), Corentus-certified team coach, and the founder of LAErrico & Partners.

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