You want the holidays to be special but you also want to spread holiday cheer, not a virus. We’ve rounded up our best 2020 holiday gift-giving tips to help you shop safely, at a distance, and think outside the gift box.
Safe Shopping in Stores or Malls
Shop early and during off-hours, if possible. Chances are stores will be less crowded then and you’ll keep your sanity by avoiding coming into contact with potentially sick people and parking problems.
Use contactless credit cards, a special credit card that lets you tap on the payment terminal instead of handing your card to a clerk or touching a terminal that has been touched by hundreds of sets of hands.
Pack your hand sanitizer and mask and wipe down surfaces you’ll be touching or coming into contact within stores: products, counters, racks, and toilet seats, for examples.
Get on gift and sale alert lists to get notified of top deals and availability for items on your list.
Shop open-air markets to steer clear of stuffy interior stores.
A COVID biggie: contactless shopping. Not only do they let you stay safe, no-contact shopping is less stressful than shopping on foot.
Support local businesses. Amazon and Walmart.com are convenient and easy but small businesses benefit most from holiday sales. We all enjoy unique gifts. Entrepreneurs benefit from the business and you’ll enjoy the gift of giving to both a loved one and a local business.
Many shops may be curtailing their hours of operation so call ahead to ensure they are open. If not, inquire if they have a website so you can order and set up for pick-up or delivery.
Rather than standing in long lines on Black Friday, let your fingers do the shopping on Cyber Monday for the second most popular holiday shopping day of the year. Retailers may be offering their best deals.
You can also expect sale extensions that go on for days, weeks, or even a month or more this year. Early bird holiday sales are already going on.
Or, take a hybrid shopping approach with curbside pick-up. Major brick and mortar retailers are offering curbside pickup for general merchandise – not just grocery stores. Curbside shopping opportunities have exploded over the last few years, which is perfect for the 2020 pandemic conditions and limiting person-to-person exposure and wait times. Plus, it’s a great excuse to get out of the house.
Be more thoughtful of the type of gift you’re giving. Since people are staying home more and are more restricted in where and what they can do, think useful, home-oriented, and feel-good gifts geared toward making the home front feel comfortable, cozy, functional, and special. Here are some pick-me-up ideas: a basket of home-baked muffins or cookies, scented candles or bath salts, a house plant, a soft robe, toasty slippers, a gift box with hand lotions and sanitizers, an audiobook subscription, a portable laptop stand. Subscriptions for wines, snacks, and craft kits are great for year-round appreciation.
Consider the “whole package” when long-distance gift-giving. In other words, plan out the gift, the wrapping, the card, and how it’s going to be delivered.
Order online for one-stop shopping for those on your gift list. With a third-party handling your gifts, look into extra services to make gift-giving special and more personal.
For trending 2020 gift ideas, check out gifts curated by top retailers, brands, the media, and gift idea aggregators. Here are some of our favorites:
For the home:
For the kids:
For the Tejava lover in your life, consider a Tejava Variety pack or a one-year subscription.
Then there’s the gift card: light and small for tucking in a greeting card. They will appeal to just about anyone on your gift list. Sold everywhere, find them close to home, including your neighborhood convenience store. For a contactless option, give an electronic gift card, which reduces the chance of losing it or theft. Truly a genius gift-giving concept.
Finally, who says gifts need to be physical items? Think virtual. Consider thoughtful gifts that don’t come in a box or bag. Give virtual experiences like an online cooking class, virtual museum tour, tennis lessons, celebrity shout-outs, audiobooks. Check out more ideas at https://www.thespruce.com/best-virtual-gifts-5077896
Online shopping also eliminates the need for trips to the post office or other shippers like UPS and FedEx. Purchase and send your gifts directly to the people on your gift list. Many services also offer gift wrapping and personalized gift cards or notes. Be sure to allow extra time for shipping due to the holiday rush and staffing shortages. Check merchants’ websites for shipping details way in advance.
Other perks you’ll find with online shopping are time-saving, convenience, and economy features. Look for outlets that offer free shipping, tracking and delivery notification, and free returns.
Consider being your own post office and avoid the lines. Sign up to print your own postage and shipping labels with a Stamps.com account. Stamps.com is a USPS approved vendor where you can do your own shipping 24/7 on your schedule.
Protect Yourself against Scams
Scams and the cyber crooks who create them will be in full force (sad to say) as they ramp up trying to snare you in their schemes during the holidays.
They’ll be trapping bargain-hunting shoppers with bogus websites and fake social media posts that mimic products and offer outrageous deals, luring you into purchasing products that never arrive, compromise your personal and credit card information, and possibly expose you to identity theft.
Be on special alert for fake charities, deliveries that go “phishing” for your info or infect your computer with malware, and too-good-to-be-true travel deals. Use your intuition, common sense, and visit Yahoo!Life and other consumer watchdog sites for known scams and scam warning signs.