This year has been a doozy, and even though we don’t know what’s in store for 2021, most of us are looking forward to leaving 2020 in the dust. Our winter holiday celebrations, however, might look a little different this year than they did at the end of 2019.
This holiday season will be full of Zoom happy hours instead of in-person parties with lots of guests, home-cooked dinners instead of swanky nights out, and plenty of phone calls and video chats with out-of-town (and even in-town) family and friends.
It’ll be a big change, but we can handle it! And the best part is that these challenges give us the opportunity to rethink how we handle our holiday gift lists. This year, opt for gifts that make the recipients’ lives cozier, easier and all-around better — at home!
Ready for some ideas and inspiration? Keep reading!
5 best holiday gifts for 2020
1. A Wi-Fi upgrade
Unwrapping a new Wi-Fi router might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you envision Christmas morning. But think about it: We’re all spending more time at home than we have in the past, and the internet is how most of us are staying in touch with family and friends (and holding on to what little sanity we have left).
Have you had a video call go fuzzy recently? Realized that you’re inexplicably using a robot voice to tell your parents about your latest DIY project? Dropped a phone call simply because you walked into a different part of your house?
These technology slip-ups might seem like they’re part of everyday life right now, but guess what? They don’t have to be!
A new router can make all the difference. If the person you’re buying for has complained about their house being full of internet dead spots or generally weak internet, consider springing for a mesh Wi-Fi system. These systems can get pricey, but their benefits are well worth the cost.
Router technology has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years, and new models are designed to provide a strong signal and reliable coverage for virtually any house design or size. The primary advantage of a mesh system is its ability to provide a consistent internet connection for an entire house without needing an additional router or any signal boosters.
The recipient of your gift will be thrilled — and with their new, reliable router, the next Zoom happy hour they host will be hiccup-free!
2. A video-enabled smart home hub
Video calls are now the next best thing to visiting family and friends in person. Nothing will ever replace a hug or simply being able to sit next to a loved one, but a FaceTime chat or Skype call can work wonders to help you feel connected.
Unfortunately, these video calls can sometimes be hard to coordinate, especially if your family or friend group is split on Android versus Apple, or if everyone has different levels of technical savvy. If this sounds familiar to you, consider gifting your loved ones (and maybe even yourself) with a video smart home hub.
The Amazon Echo Show line of video hubs as well as the Google Nest Hub Max give you the ability to chat with family and friends without worrying about whether someone’s phone or tablet is charged or whether they’re logged into Skype.
And if your gift recipient isn’t convinced that they want their house to be all that smart, that’s OK! The nice thing about video smart home hubs is they can do as little or as much as you want them to.
3. Smart lightbulbs
Speaking of smart home technology, smart lightbulbs are one of the best ways to dip your toes in without too much of a financial commitment — and that’s part of what makes them great gifts this year!
We know lightbulbs don’t sound like the most exciting gift. For most people, they’re probably on par with receiving something as utilitarian as batteries or paper towels. But smart home technology has made them something special.
Smart lightbulbs pair with a smartphone app to give your gift recipient the ability to turn lights on and off or dim them remotely, and some product lines even offer color-changing options. With more time spent at home, particularly as we get into the short days of winter, customizable lighting options can be an instant mood booster. They’re also a great way to add much-needed visual warmth to a room.
4. Noise-canceling headphones
Even though staying home and social distancing is our new (hopefully temporary) norm, your house probably isn’t empty — and it’s likely that your loved ones are in the same boat. Whether it’s school-age kids who are now learning virtually, or adult kids or other family members (or a multigenerational mix) who are all quarantining together, none of us are strangers to noise at this point.
If your friends and family members are working from home (and honestly, even if they aren’t), noise-canceling headphones are a fantastic gift. Self-care is far more than just a buzzword, and a little peace and quiet can work wonders in helping someone you care about feel better — and be able to get some work done!
Traditionally, the best noise-canceling technology comes in over-the-ear headphones, but earbud-style headphones now offer robust noise-canceling features, too. It’s more a matter of personal preference than anything. The price range of headphones varies significantly as well, which makes this gift more budget-friendly. You can spend as much or as little as you’re comfortable with.
5. Luxe blankets, slippers or loungewear
Lastly, this is the one holiday season where you won’t go wrong with gifting luxurious loungewear and home accessories to friends and loved ones.
Warm pajamas, robes and athleisure outfits are far more useful these days than fancy party clothes and beautiful yet impractical shoes, and nothing makes a home cozier than a soft throw blanket or a set of cushy pillows.
Since most of us will likely be gifting from afar this year, put some extra thought into combining gifts to create an experience for the recipient. For example, pair a plush blanket with a candle in a soothing scent and your loved one’s favorite beverage to give them everything they need for a comfy, relaxing evening with the latest bestseller.
If the holidays and gift giving are typically sources of stress, let this year be different. We’ve all had to get comfortable with staying a little closer to home, so start there when you’re planning gifts for friends and family members.
What makes life at home better, easier and more comfortable? Look to technology and the classics: soft, cozy things that make you want to stay on the couch all day!
Life in 2020 has not been easy by any stretch of the imagination, but all of us at Cinch Home Services are excited about the upcoming holiday season and the opportunity to focus on making our lives at home cozier. Use our gift ideas as inspiration for your own shopping list, and sign up for our newsletter to see what else inspires us throughout the season!