80 Budget-friendly Christmas Gift Ideas for a Pandemic-weary Holiday 2020

With well over 225,000 people in the United States now having fallen victim to the novel coronavirus and its deadly COVID-19, the upcoming holiday season is far from being a cheerful one. Still, life goes on, as they say, and those of us that have been lucky enough to suffer minimal negative impact during this prolonged pandemic period are unquestionably obligated to try and bring joy and cheer into the lives of so many people who are left lonely, afraid, and depressed during the 2020 holiday season. To that end, let’s begin by looking for affordable Christmas gift ideas that we can explore for this year’s round of gifting.

Of course, money is tight all around, but you’d be surprised how many gifts you can find under $10, $30, or $50 if you look around. To save you some trouble, we’ve put together a longish list of possible Christmas gifts to consider buying for your loved ones, members of your immediate family, other relatives, close friends, and colleagues this year. Most of these gifts are also available online, which means you can buy them and have them shipped to a different address if you’re buying them for a long-distance friend or overseas family member, for instance. With that, let’s dive into this carefully curated list of budget-friendly Christmas gift ideas for Christmas 2020 – the COVID-19 Christmas.

#1 – Ice Roller for the Eyes and Face – Stress is one of the less-talked-about effects that impact the human mind during a pandemic situation, and this popular relaxant for the face and eyes is perfect at only $12. It will help relieve the tension, it’s great for the skin, and it goes a long way in alleviating overall stress. Of course, it’s not a magic wand, but anything that can help reduce stress is an absolute essential at this time.

#2 – Reusable and Portable Metal Drinking Straw – Is there anyone on your Christmas gift list that’s a germophobe? In today’s world, everyone should be exactly that. This portable metal straw telescopes down to a size where you can easily attach it to your keyring. The recipient can sterilize it themselves to ensure maximum safety when consuming beverages outside the safety of their home.

#3 – Kitchen utilities – Everyone has that old corkscrew wine bottle opener or potato masher that’s seen better days. If you know someone like that, it’s easy to find gifts for under $10. If your budget is slightly higher, you can consider a set of sharp knives, a fancy garlic press, or even some nice tea towels.

 

 

#4 – Set of Custom-printed Face Masks – Everyone needs face masks, right? Well, why not bring a little fun into the tedious exercise of mask-wearing and have custom prints put on them? Your friends and family will love them, and it will encourage them to stay safe when moving around outdoors. You can even send in a photo of yourself and they’ll add it to the mask to make it like you’re not even wearing one!

#5 – Heated Car Blanket – With a cold and snowy winter predicted for the Northern part of the United States, you can help bring on the heat with this heated car blanket that plugs into the cigarette lighter port. It’s convenient, portable, and affordable, and there’s a wide range of color options to make your gift more festive and Chrismas-y!

#6 – Mushroom Grow Kit – Nope, not those mushrooms! These are delicious organic mini-mushrooms that can be grown in about 10 days. It comes in a box that includes the spores and the soil, so all they have to do is spritz it with water every day. In 10 days, they will be ready to pick and make some delicious stroganoff or mushroom dip for Christmas dinner. Yum!

#7 – Themed Christmas Tree Ornament – There’s no such thing as having too many Christmas tree ornaments, so getting this as a gift is a great idea for anyone. Try a themed ornament like Harry Potter or another popular character that the receiver is especially fond of. If nothing strikes you as unique or personal, just play it safe and go with the classics – glass baubles, reindeer, etc.

#8 – Mini Personal Heater – This winter, get your grandma a personal heater to keep her warm through those snowy nights. Surprisingly affordable, these retail for about $25 and are highly portable and lightweight. It’s the perfect Christmas gift for someone who needs a personal space heating solution for that extra-toasty feeling.

#9 – Silk Pillowcase – Ah, the feeling of a luxurious hotel bed with rich linen sheets and silk pillowcases. Well, if you’re going to skip that luxury mini-holiday this year, you might as well splurge on a few silk pillowcases and spread the cheer around the family. Being silk, they’re about $30 for a standard-sized pillowcase but worth every penny. Research and anecdotal experience show that sleeping on silk preventing early wrinkling of facial skin, in addition to stopping your fair from crimping or frizzing.

#10 – A Cookbook – Why not? After all, the stay-at-home trend is leading all of us to become accomplished culinary specialists with our own brands of experimentation in the kitchen. A cookbook with some exotic cuisines might be a great idea to alleviate boredom and bring some excitement to the palate. It also makes the ideal gift for someone who’s home alone and cooking for themselves anyway.

#11 – LED Vanity Mirror – Perfect for the woman who wants to look perfect all the time. These cute little make-up must-haves come with a series of LED lights to give your face adequate lighting when touching up for the day or an evening out. They’re usually swivel-mounted on a pedestal and pretty useful to have at the dressing table.

#12 – Throw Pillow Case with Family Names – The perfect Christmas gift this year might not be that signed family photo you sent out last year. For your Christmas 2020 gifts, send something more functional that’s also personalized with the names of your family members.

#13 – Hats, Scarves, or Mittens – Winterwear makes great Christmas gifts. Well, except for those uggo sweaters your grandmother knits you every year. But getting cold-weather accessories makes for thoughtful gifting and it’s relatively inexpensive. It’s also perfect if you have no clue what else to get that person. You just can’t go wrong with a smart scarf or a jaunty hat.

#14 – Coffee infused with Wine – Sure, wine-not? For coffee lovers who also love a good glass of merlot, here’s a blend of the two. They come as beans and can be used in any standard coffee maker. It could be an acquired taste so only buy this for someone you know is a little adventurous with their palate, or else it’s just going to sit on a shelf somewhere.

#15 – Crossbody Leather Bag for Cell Phones, Cash, Passports, etc. – Not that too many people are traveling these days or even leaving the house except for essential purposes, but a crossbody bag can be yours (well, theirs) for about $20. That’s faux leather or synthetic, mind you; the real deal will probably cost you a lot more. But you can barely tell the difference unless you’re an expert on leather goods or after it wears off.

#16 – Travel Pillow – Can’t think of anything good? A travel pillow is a great gift for anyone, especially someone who loves to enjoy a sit-down nap once in a while, even when not traveling. You’ll see a lot of variants in this category starting at about $12 for the basic version.

#17 – City Map Drinking Glasses – Know someone living in a big city? These city-specific map glasses make a perfect holiday gift. Choose from 32 major U.S. cities or ask for a custom print if yours isn’t on the list. Cheers!

#18 – Charger Bracelet for iPhone – iPhones are notorious for their batteries running down just when you need that little extra juice. How about a snazzy bracelet that doubles up as a phone charger? It’s the perfect gift under $20 and it comes in a variety of colors, designs, and materials. There’s one for every type of person and it’s a super-useful utility to have with you at all times.

#19 – Reusable Starbucks Personalized Coffee Cup – Gift this to someone you love and they never have to worry if the cup they’re getting their coffee is 100% sterile. It comes with their name emblazoned on the side and they can wash and sterilize it themselves before they head out for their morning brew.

#20 – Automatic Pan Stirring Thingamajig – with a timer, too! – Whomever you gift this to, they’ll never ever have to say that they slaved over a hot stove all day. This awesome gadget just stands inside your pan, stirring it while you sip your pina colada watching TV, waiting for your dish to be ready. The best part is that you can set a timer that audibly alerts you when your cooking time is over.

#21 – Recycled Vinyl Record Coasters – Creative! Someone actually cuts out that center part of the record where they have the name of the tracks and repurposes them as coasters! You’ll still see the hole in the middle but it will be covered by a laminate so no leakage. Fantastic! You’re probably wondering why you didn’t think of it first.

#22 – Wallet – Ah, the classic wallet. That favored Christmas gift that nobody even thinks about anymore. Well, you can revive old traditions by doing a round of wallet-gifting this holiday season. Everybody loves a new wallet, and even more so if they find five bucks in it!

#23 – Coffee Table Books – Another classic gift idea for Christmas 2020. These fat tomes look impressive on any coffee table, giving guests the impression of sophistication and class. Or, you can buy a gag book like one of these: Sh*t My Kids Ruined: An A-Z Celebration of Kid-Destruction or Stuck Up!: 100 Objects Inserted and Ingested in Places They Shouldn’t Be, or even Cacas: The Encyclopedia of Poo. They’re all guaranteed to be picked up, read through, and become dog-eared in record time!

#24 – Giant Wine Glass – This massive wine glass can hold an entire bottle of wine. Perfect for that wine-loving grandma in every family who ‘enjoys a glass of wine every now and then’ but drinks on the sly and gets plastered at every holiday gathering – starting at 10 am! P.S. for her private collection only!

#25 – Sushi Making Kit – Do you know someone who loves sushi but doesn’t want to go to a restaurant for fear of COVID-19? Get them this beautifully made sushi kit for their kitchen. It’s got all the bits and bobs you need to make a delicious sushi meal for two.

#26 – Homemade Bread – A lot of people are making bread at home these days. If you’re one of them, you can gift a loaf or two to friends and family living nearby. Nobody can resist the taste and smell of freshly baked bread and it’s super-affordable for you. It works, any way you slice it.

#27 – iPhone Dock – Newer iPhones support wireless charging, so buying a wireless charging dock is a good idea for someone who is flashing about their new premium smartphone. The dock itself comes in a variety of brands, designs, and colors, and you can downgrade to a normal dock if you feel that a wireless charging unit is out of your price range.

#28 – Hot Dog Toaster (Pop-up Type) – A quick hot dog is often a favorite snack. Just put two frankfurters in the center slots and one cut hot dog roll on either side. Press the lever down, set the timer, and voila! Your hot dog is ready in minutes. Slather on the ketchup, mustard, mayo, relish, etc. for a delectable snack anytime hunger strikes.

#29 – A Gift Bag of Candy Treats – Because who doesn’t love candy, right? Just pick a few of their favorite candy brands and put them in a nice gift bag. Done for under $20 and will be appreciated long after the taste of sweetness has left their tongue!

#30 – Eyestrain-reducing Table Lamp – With much of the world’s workforce working from home, a nice, inexpensive WFH table lamp is sure to be a big hit. There are tons of options across various price points, but make sure you get one that’s non-intrusive, lightweight, portable, adjustable, and helps keep eye strain to a minimum when working in front of a screen for long hours.

#31 – Set of Post It Notes – For people who love to write sticky notes all the time to remind them of things that need to be done, a set of multicolored Post It pads might be the ideal Christmas gift. It’s also suitable for students because of all the note-taking and annotations they need to do in their textbooks. These sticky notes act as reference markers so they can find a particular piece of information quickly.

#32 – Six-pack of Craft Beer – You can do a mix-and-match of different types of craft beer. You’ll definitely be spoiled for choice on this one. There’s a ton of microbreweries selling their wares locally, so go for something local mixed with something exotic and maybe something truly weird. Put them together in a small crate, wrap them with love, and send them on their merry way this Christmas.

#33 – Magnetic Wristband – Handyman in the family? Gift him a cool workman’s wristband that magnetically holds whatever he needs, such as screws, nails, screw-heads, etc. The quality brands are relatively inexpensive at under $20 for a basic magnetic wristband, but you do get a few models with some bells and whistles for a little extra.

#34 – Vintage Football – Vintage sports gear is a classic gift idea that will never get old. A beautiful Wilson football from “back-when” will look perfect on the mantel or the coffee table and is a great conversation-starter. Get one of these for an old buddy overseas and it’s guaranteed to make him homesick but in a nice, nostalgic way.

#35 – Bottle of Wine – Combined with that Giant Wine Glass (#24), this would make a perfect gift basket for anyone who loves their wine. You can get a local wine for as little as $10 to $12, and they’re not all that bad unless the recipient is a wine connoisseur. But wasn’t it meant for that day-drinking grandma anyway?

#36 – Freezable Pint Glasses – Does someone you know love a cold beer every now and then but keeps complaining that the chillness goes away long before they finish? Then these freezable pint glasses might be the perfect Christmas gift for them. The glasses, once frozen, will then maintain the temperature of the beer for a much longer time than normal, and without diluting it in any way.

#37 – Emoji Mini-pancake Pan – Any household with kids or adults who love emoji will love this mini-pancake pan. The good ones are a little pricey at about $30 or so but they’re food-grade certified and will last a long time. That’s practically years and years of fun eating smiley faces, mehs, cheeky faces, and LOLs!

#38 – Bottle of Olive Oil – If you’re worried about someone’s heart health, a good brand of fine extra virgin olive oil makes a great Christmas gift. Olive oil has a lot of wonderful properties for health and cosmetic benefits. Every wonder why people in the Middle-east have perfect complexions? One of their secrets is years and years of using olive oil for practically everything. It doesn’t mean you’ll get great-looking skin overnight, but it’s a good start to a healthy life and definitely a better fat alternative for cooking.

#39 – Fruit-infusion Water Bottle – Health-conscious family members or friends will love this infusion bottle that you can buy for as little as $15 for a good brand. It comes with a central chamber attached to the lid where the fruit or material for infusion goes in. It then infuses its healthy goodness into the water without affecting the clarity or causing too many suspended particles. An all-day refresher that’s also very healthy.

#40 – Hot Sauce on a Keychain! – This to-go creation is an innovative solution for anyone who loves hot sauce on everything. Rather than ask for it each time, they simply pull out their keyring! It’s a cool idea for those who like it hot, and they can be washed, sterilized, and refilled when needed.

#41 – Silicon AirPod Case – The AirPod case is quite small, leaving it susceptible to dropping, scuffing, etc. A soft silicon AirPod protective case will keep it safe from all that, and it comes with a carabiner attached so you can snap it on to a keyring or a bag zipper.

#42 – Board Games – Getting someone a board game during the pandemic is a very thoughtful gift idea. It will keep them engaged for hours when they’re bored stiff at home, and it’s especially great if they’re a family, but it also works for couples living on their own. Some board game ideas are Scrabble, Monopoly, Sorry, Jenga, etc.

#43 – Embossed Leather Keyring – Classy yet affordable, an embossed leather keyring is a very personal and useful gift for Christmas. For someone who’s always losing their keys or leaving them on restaurant and cafe tables all over the city, you can even have their name and number embossed on the side of the leather attachment.

#44 – ‘Make Your Own Italian Cheese’ Kit – Yum, there’s nothing that compares with artisan cheese made fresh in your own kitchen. The kit only requires milk – everything else, including the culture and the rennet (100% vegetarian), are included. A standard kit makes about 10 batches of cheese of different varieties – whole milk ricotta, ricotta salada, mozzarella, burrata, bocconcini, and mascarpone.

#45 – Magazine Subscription – For those who aren’t into digital media, you can get a three-month subscription to the New Yorker or a specialty magazine. It shouldn’t cost you more than $10 to $15 and it will act as a monthly or fortnightly reminder of the gifter – aka YOU!

#46 – Personalized Long-distance Friendship Mug – Do you have a BFF across the country who you’re missing like crazy? Bring yourselves closer to each other with a pair of coffee mugs with maps of your respective states. Be together every morning as you sip on your favorite brand of brew miles apart from each other, but closer than ever.

#47 – Bar Kit – Let the receiver make their own exotic drinks with this fully-loaded cocktail-making kit. it’s surprisingly affordable at under $20 for a decent brand and it’s definitely a keeper. A full set should come with shakers, a double jigger, a bottle opener, a muddler, bottle pourers, a cocktail strainer, a bar spoon, and steel shot glasses.

#48 – Travel Guide to a Favorite Destination – Does someone you know keep talking about planning a trip to a dream location but hasn’t done anything about it yet? Stoke their desire and passion for travel with a guide book to that city or country. It will give them additional motivation to start saving up and eventually make the trip.

#49 – Skin Hydrating Kit – This winter regimen is perfect for anyone who regularly experiences dry, itchy, and painful skin during the colder months of the year. Make sure the kit comes with the standard cleanser-toner-moisturizer set, as well as eye get, lip balm, anti-aging gel, cream or lotion, and sunscreen.

#50 – Grill Spatula with Light – No grill master should be flipping burgers in the dark. Never again with this cool two-in-one grill spatula with an LED torchlight built into the handle. It’s completely washable and even dishwasher safe if you remove the torchlight. If you buy it as a set, it comes with a basting brush, tongs, and two sizes of spatulas/spatulae.

#51 – Travel Toiletry Kit – Frequent travelers know only too well the additional expense of not being allowed to carry full-sized liquid bottles on a plane, this set of mini-toiletries is the perfect Christmas gift. It comes with all the travel essentials for a hygienic experience: deodorant stick, Q-tips, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, loofah, toothbrush, toothpaste, and even a mini shaving razor and wax kit.

SPECIAL FEATURE – #52 – Friendship Lamps – This is NOT a budget gift but it IS one of the most affordable and long-lasting in its category. Save this for a favorite friend, family member, or a long-distance spouse. A pair of lamps are connected in different locations to their respective Wi-Fi networks. Once connected and set up, touching one lamp will trigger the other one to light up in a particular color! It’s an exciting way to stay connected and keep in touch with someone you love no matter how many miles separate you from them. Hundreds of families, siblings, friends, and close relatives have attested to the efficacy of the Friendship Lamp as an effective and instant communication tool.

#53 – 3-month Subscription to Pizza of the Month – Many local pizzerias around the country offer to have fresh pies sent to a local address of your choice on a monthly basis. It’s cost-effective and helps the receiver get a taste of delicious custom-made pizzas once a month for as long as the subscription lasts. There’s no tastier gift than this!

#54 – State-shaped Cutting and Serving Board (Bamboo) – State pride can be expressed anywhere, even in the kitchen! These state-shaped bamboo boards are ideal as wall hangings but also practical if you plan on using them as actual cutting and serving boards.

#55 – Lavender Sleep Mask/Eye Mask – Lavender is known to have a soothing effect on the brain and is extensively used in aromatherapy. This unique version utilizes the calming power of lavender and combines it with a sleeping mask to give the receiver a blissful night’s sleep – night after night.

#56 – Satin Sleep Set – Smooth satin pillowcase, eye mask, and scrunchie – what more could anyone want? This matching set of three items is a little bit pricy at about $40 but it’s well worth the money if you’re buying it for your girlfriend or your mom.

#57 – Bluetooth Beanie – This unique tech product allows you to hook up your beanie via Bluetooth to your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or PC. Play music or audio on the device and hear it in the beanie! A brilliant solution for those who go jogging or running and hate those intrusive earphones but love listening to their favorite tunes. It’s the perfect Christmas gift for the health and music buffs in your circle of friends and family.

#58 – Cordless Trimmer/Shaver for Men – A men’s trimming kit will help keep the receiver neat and trim at all times. A standard trimmer/shaver is rechargeable and, therefore, wireless, and it should come with several attachments for beard, mustache, and head trimming, and even a close shave.

#59 – Bagel and Cream Cheese DIY Kit – Help someone learn to make their own bagel and cheese breakfast. One kit can make a dozen bagels and enough cream cheese for all of them. The kit is available for about $25 but considering how many bagels you’re getting, it’s a steal.

#60 – Handmade Scented Soap Set – A set of scented handmade soaps cost as little as $10, and some retailers allow you to mix and match fragrances for the sets that you buy. The good ones are made with essential oils, which are generally quite expensive; however, since only a few drops are required for each cake of soap, the overall cost is much lower than if you buy our essence.

#61 – Custom Necklace with Location Coordinates – For a long-distance lover or spouse, you can consider a gold necklace with your location coordinates engraved on them. Don’t go cheap here because the color will fade away eventually. Make sure it’s solid gold and engraved neatly by a professional. You can also get a bracelet with your coordinates if your partner doesn’t fancy necklaces.

#62 – Pistachio Serving Dish – True to its name, this pistachio serving dish is not just for serving pistachios but it even looks like one. It’s two bowls that come together to form a giant pistachio! Your dad will go crazy over it and boast about it to his friends as he serves beer nuts or real pistachios to his more classy friends.

#63 – Shiatsu Massager for Back and Neck – For your older relatives, a Shiatsu massager might be the ideal gift for a cold winter. The better ones come with optional heat control, but the basic principle is the rotating balls that remove the kinks from tired muscles and gently relax them while the person sits or lies down. With so many people working from home but maybe lacking the ergonomic chairs they used to take for granted at the office, this could make the ideal gift for any age group.

#64 – Popcorn Popper – Netflix, Prime, Hulu, Disney, and other streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) operators have made the classic tub of popcorn a standard home snack. But most people still rely on heavy skillets or the microwave to satisfy their popcorn urges. A popcorn popper has the right thickness to ensure that the kernels pop properly and don’t burn, making it a perfect gift ahead of Christmas binge-watching.

#65 – Assortment of Pressed Teas – If the receiver is a tea lover, these pressed teas will be more than welcome. They come as pressed pellets of different shapes packed neatly in a wooden box and they don’t require a strainer when making the tea. A box costs about $17 online.

#66 – Tile Mate Car Key Locator – Another great gift for those who frequently leave their keys all over the place (see #43 – Embossed Leather Keyring) is this high-tech version that can help the key-loser (hey, no name-calling!) find their keys via Bluetooth that locates the Tile unit’s tracking chip.

#67 – Insulated Stemless Wine Glass – This stunningly-designed wine glass is triple-insulated and will keep the wine chilled long after it’s poured. You can also use it for hot drinks but it’s specifically made for wine. It comes in attractive yet subtle colors that shimmer in the candlelight.

#68 – Fuzzy Cat Socks – For those cold winter nights, a blanket is just not enough. Help your friend or family member snuggle up in a warm bed with these toasty cat socks that are cute and warm. A good pair costs about $10 so think about getting one for yourself as well. It will be super useful when the snow comes.

#69 – Weighted Blanket – If you haven’t heard of this one, it’s essentially a regular blanket with weights stitched into sections of the blanket. That means it will fall around you and keep you as snug as a… well you know the rest. Experts say that it also gives you a feeling of security and safety because it’s almost as if someone tucked you in, just like your parents might have done when you were little. That’s the same feeling you get from these blankets.

#70 – Christmas Tree Candle & Incense Holder – The stacked levels of the Christmas tree open up to reveal candles inside, and the top of the tree acts as an incense stick holder. It’s a great gift at under $30 and looks a lot more expensive, to be honest. If you know someone who loves candles and also burns incense sticks at home, this is an ideal Christmas gift idea.

#71 – Touch-protection Keychain – A unique gift that addresses the concerns of a fearful public. The design of this keychain allows you to press elevator buttons and even open doors in public places without having to touch them. A handy utility at under $20 and an absolute essential when you’re moving out of the house.

#72 – Mini-fridge Electric Cooler (and Warmer) – At $50, this is not a budget gift, but it does serve the very useful purpose of keeping stuff cold or hot in a personal workspace. It’s got just enough space for a can of soda, some yogurt, a couple of chocolate bars, and smaller edibles. It also makes for a great storage unit for personal beauty products that need to be kept in the fridge.

#73 – Hampton Water – This $20 bottle of rosé will be welcome in any home. Add this to a gift bag to make it even more special. It’s a popular wine that’s relatively inexpensive and well-recognized as a brand.

#74 – USB Cup Heater – On those cold days working from home, your coffee can cool off well before you’re done drinking it. To help someone avoid that cold-coffee feeling in the middle of what was supposed to be a hot brew, gift them a USB cup heater that they can plug into their laptop or PC. Works with any ceramic coffee cup but it’s better if you buy the set –> cup + warmer.

#75 – Houseplant with Planter – A pre-potted houseplant with an attractive planter is a great gift for anyone who loves tending to their garden. It’s also perfect for apartments and window-sill gardens. Some plants increase oxygen levels to quite a degree compared to others, so look for those. They’re also natural air-purifiers.

#76 – Laptop Sleeve – These come in a variety of sizes to suit each screen size, such as 8, 10, and 11-inch options for tablets/iPads, and 13, 15, and 17-inch versions for larger laptops. Make sure it has adequate foam protection or some kind of padding to absorb shock. some of them are just soft covers for storage so you might not want those for someone who moves around a lot with their hardware.

#77 – Magic Bullet – This $40 gift is a great time-saver for anyone who loves smoothies and juices after their morning run. Blenders are expensive, so this offers an affordable alternative that also makes a perfect Christmas gift. You should be aware that if you’re purchasing the product online, make sure it’s from a reputed e-tailer rather than an unknown name. There are plenty of rip-offs that get into the mainstream e-commerce supply chain.

#78 – Flavored Honey – If they love honey, they’ll be absolutely delighted with this flavored honey that comes in delectable variants like lavender. Even when ingested (it’s an edible flower), it has a soothing and calming effect and is often used to help chronic insomniacs get a good night’s sleep.

#79 – Wearable Blanket – Walking around in your blanket is not ideal unless it’s a wearable Sherpa blanket. Snuggly-warm and comes with a hoodie. It’s perfect for anyone who suffers yearly during the winter months and needs something more robust than a simple sweater or scarf to wear around the house or when out in the yard.

#80 – Handwarmer Mug – An ingenious product that allows the user to slip their hand into a crevice around the mug to keep it warm as they enjoy their hot chocolate or coffee. We’ve only seen a right-handed one but a quick online search or asking at your local department store should help you find a left-handed one, too.

We hope these Christmas gift ideas for 2020 give you soåme inspiration to keep that holiday tradition going despite the state of the economy and the nation. As we approach the most important holidays of the year, bring some good cheer to those who desperately need it. If you’re one of the fortunate ones, pay it forward!

Best Gift Ideas: 15 Long-distance Gifts for Friends and Family Overseas

Travel restrictions and the risk of being infected with COVID-19 have forced millions of people to postpone their travel plans this year. As a result, the ones you’re meant to be close to might still be far away and out of reach for now. Consider these long-distance gifts for friends and family members living overseas or in another part of the country. It might not be the same as getting to see them in person but, as the next best thing, they’ll help you stay connected to loved ones in this time of uncertainty.

The selection of gift ideas in this article have been categorized as follows:

  • Utility Gift Ideas – These are practical gifts of utilitarian value. Essentially, they’re the gifts that keep on giving, as the expression goes. They’ll prove to be of immense value to the receiver and, at the same time, give you the satisfaction of knowing that your gift will be used frequently, if not daily.
  • Fun Gift Ideas – Some gifts are for sheer fun. The thrill of gifting is enhanced when you see the look on someone’s face as they open a just-for-fun gift versus a utility gift. Sometimes, it’s the difference between an “Oh, that’s nice” and a “Wow, that’s amazing.”
  • Sensory Gift Ideas – These are gifts that can be touched, smelled, tasted, heard, or seen. Of course, the ‘seen’ part usually applies to any gift, but these will bring an additional sensory appeal to the thrill of receiving a present.

When Should You Send Long-distance Gifts to Friends and Family?

In one word, anytime. There’s no perfect time for gifting unless it specifically marks a festival, a birthday, an anniversary, or some other special occasion. In fact, a gift that’s not ‘attached’ to a special event or occasion is often enjoyed much more because it’s unexpected. It’s also prudent to set a fixed budget per gift. Money is tight for everyone these days, so setting a monthly schedule for gifting is a great idea if you have lots of friends and/or family members living far away from you.

With that, let’s look at some great gift ideas for long-distance family and friends.

Utility-based (Practical) Long-distance Gift Ideas for Your Loved Ones

Mini-fridge:

For someone living in a hot climate (psst, summer’s coming up in Australia), a mini-fridge is a perfect utility gift idea. It’ll keep their beers and sodas ice-chill wherever they go. It’s not self-powered, but it works off any AC or 12V DC power source, so you can hook it up to your car or boat battery, a wall plug, etc. A standard model should hold about 12 cans of 12 ounces each or about 8-10 500ml bottles.

Polarized Car Visor Extension:

This clip-on shield is made from polarized material, which gives you greater visibility when driving. Just clip it to your car visor and you’re good to go. It’s excellent for night-time driving because it provides glare protection against oncoming headlights and too-bright streetlights. If you have an older long-distance relative who still drives at night, this might be a good gift idea for them.

Battery-free Bidet Attachment for Any Toilet Seat:

bidet attachment for any toilet seat

Hygiene is of paramount importance during a pandemic, so why not help a relative or friend bring it right into their bathroom. This DIY attachment is easy to operate and doesn’t require batteries or electricity. Just fix it and attach the water hose to it, and it’s done.

Lint and Microfiber Catching Laundry Ball:

microfiber catcher laundry ball

This uniquely designed laundry ball catches microplastic and microfiber bits – that can’t be seen by the naked eye – and stops them from being sent to the ocean or the rivers along with your greywater. It’s great for the environment and will also keep your washing machine filters from clogging up quickly. Just throw it in with every wash.

Folding Reading Glasses in a Chain and Pendant Style:

folding reading glasses on a chain

Older family members who use reading glasses will find these extremely useful. All you need is their eye power for reading and you can order a pair of these online to be shipped to them directly. It’s convenient and stylish, and it will serve its purpose for a long time. It’s perfect for those times when they don’t have their regular reading glasses on them and they just need to quickly read something on a label or an envelope.

These utility-based gifts are practical and will be appreciated long after the thrill of receiving the gift is gone. They’re also very thoughtful and are sure to endear the person receiving them to you. There are tons of gifts in this category, and all they need to be able to do is answer ‘yes’ to these questions: Is it practical enough to use? Will it be used frequently? Does it solve a tangible problem?

Funny but Useful Long-distance Gifts for Relatives and Friends

Now for the fun part! These gift ideas listed here might not have strong utilitarian appeal, but they’re sure to put a smile on the face of the receiver. These are the kinds of gifts where you ask someone to take a photo of the receiver opening the gift, just so you can see and enjoy the look of surprise and joy on their face when they see what you sent them. Believe us, it’s priceless. By the way, just because it’s fun, it doesn’t have to lack any practical value. The gifts showcased here are really fun to receive but also offer some practical value, as you’ll see.

Imprint Toasters:

Darth Vader imprint toaster

This particular one burns an image of Darth Vader on it, but you can choose from a range of options. How about a two-slice Batman toaster? Well, Robin’s gotta eat, too, right? Or what about a selfie-toaster? These are not as easy to find, but all you need to do is find a website that offers this type of customization, such as burntimpressions(dot)com, send in a selfie (preferably you and the person you’re sending the toaster to), and have it tailor-made and shipped to your friend or relative.

Bluetooth Banana Phone for iOS and Android:

…because who doesn’t want to talk on a banana when discussing a serious business deal, right? This fun gift is good for several hours of laughter and giggles. Every time your friend uses it, they’re bound to get laughs from their colleagues at work or their family members. Just tell your friend not to use it at the local zoo. The monkeys might start talking into their own bananas. On the other hand, what a laugh riot would that be!

Vampire Garlic Mincer:

What do you get when you put a shape-shifting, blood-sucking bat and garlic together? Well, technically, you should be left with just the garlic and some vampire dust, but in this case, you get a Vampire Garlic Mincer! The irony of the combination will not be lost on anyone who grew up looking forward to Halloween as their annual opportunity to dress up like werewolves, ghouls, witches, and, of course, the Count himself. All you have to do is remove his head (of course), put the peeled garlic inside, put the head back, and grind away. You can ‘Count’ on this gift being a big hit with long-distance friends and relatives!

Smartphone Nightlight Converter:

Imagine being able to convert your harsh smartphone flashlight into a soothing night light. That’s exactly what this little gizmo does. Just clip it on to any smartphone with the lamp side right on top of the flashlight. Now, turn on your flashlight app and enjoy a good night’s sleep with a calming night light on.

Dad-belly Fanny Pack:

We’ve all heard of and seen six-pack and eight-pack abs, but we’re sure you’ve never heard of a dad-belly fanny one-pack! Now’s your chance to gift your long-distance friend a couple of laughs with this not-too-cool-looking fake belly fanny pack. Very realistic-looking and loads of fun wherever it’s worn.

Sensory Long-distance Gifts for BFFs and Close Family

A sensory gift is one that arouses one of your five senses. Any present arouses the sense of sight, obviously, but some of them go beyond and awaken your other senses. Candy, for example, can be eye-candy as well as mouth-watering, which tickles your tastebuds as well as your eyes. Perfume will make your nostrils flare up with passion, and the perfect playlist will have your BFFs ears perking up. Here are some other sensory gift ideas for you to think about.

A Beanbag:

Ha, you didn’t think it would be this simple, did you? Well, a beanbag is one of the best sensory gifts you can give someone who’s living far away, especially if you know they’ve been struggling to find inexpensive and comfortable furniture. This one addresses the sense of touch and is one of the best ways to let your body find a naturally comfortable position. You also get beanless chairs with memory foam for greater comfort. Guaranteed to have them nodding off thinking of you.

Bubble Lamp or Lava Lamp:

lava lamp - great idea for long-distance gifting

Lava lamps were all the rage many years ago, and they’re back in vogue! These are visually very soothing to watch, and the ambient lighting helps as well. They can also be used as night lamps. They’re quite inexpensive, too, so you can easily find one on any e-commerce site for about twenty bucks or less. Look out for fun variants as well, like bubbles, shiny fish-shaped floaters, etc.

Friendship Lamps:

Friendship Lamps for couples in a long distance relationship

The perfect gift for a long-distance friend or a family member you want to stay connected with. These high-tech lamps work through their respective Wi-Fi signals and connect with each other over the Internet. Touch one lamp and the other one lights up in a pre-selected color of your choosing. It doesn’t matter whether the other lamp is in the next room, across town, across the country, or the other side of the world. It takes a couple of minutes to set up these lamps and they’ll even remember previously used Wi-Fi signals, which lets you move them around between your home and your office. Whenever you think of the other person, just touch your lamp to light up their world – literally. It’s great for BFFs, siblings, grandparents/grandkids, parents/kids, or anyone that wants to stay emotionally connected and have an instant way to show they’re thinking of the other person.

Check out our Friendship Lamps – Discount Today!

Amazon Echo Dot:

The perfect low-cost, high-tech gift for someone who favors audio over visuals. They can be connected to speakers for better audio performance or just used as a search utility by Prime Music fans. It’s also a good way to get quick information without having to type out your query on a desktop, laptop, or smartphone. Just use the voice-triggered Alexa to get all the answers you need.

Aromatic Bath Salts:

Know anyone who’s constantly stressed? Aromatherapy is a widely used therapeutic method to calm the senses, reduce stress, and minimize the risk of stress-related ailments. And they’re not expensive, either. A 5-aroma bath salts gift set runs you about fifteen to twenty bucks for the good stuff. The olfactory triggers in the salts will help your long-distance grandma or older relative immediately relax or feel more invigorated, depending on which ones they use.

A Final Word on the Art of Gifting

Not many people give importance to the way a gift is given. For example, a wrapped gift is more appealing because it enhances the anticipation factor. And it looks prettier, too. Most e-commerce sites let you tag a purchase as a gift for a little bit extra, so why not go for it?

Another consideration is how much you spend on a gift, especially if you’re buying a round of long-distance gifts for everyone who lives away from you – friends in another city, state, or country, overseas family members, etc. A gift is not valued at the price you pay for it; it is valued by the effect it has on the receiver. That’s why a thoughtful gift, though it may be less expensive, is often more valuable than the ones you just throw money at. However, don’t buy cheap; buy affordable. For example, rather than getting your long-distance granddad a poor-quality fishing kit for $50, get him a relatively expensive cologne or shaving kit for the same amount (as long as you know he likes wearing cologne, of course.)

As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to buy gifts for long-distance relatives and friends. A handwritten letter is equally special, particularly with the older crowd. Nobody gets letters in the mail anymore, at least not the kind they appreciate. That’s why writing a letter to a friend or family member can be more valuable than spending money on material things. Just a few lines about what’s going on in your life and asking them about theirs goes a long way in strengthening the bond between friends or between family members.

As a final note, if you do spend a lot of money (or even a little) on long-distance gifts for everyone you know overseas, don’t expect anything in return. Worst case scenario, not even a thank you note or a texted acknowledgment. Gifts are given from the heart and never kept account of.

Gift Ideas for Christmas for Couples in a Long-distance Relationship or LDR

Do you have a best friend who is in a long-distance relationship? It’s still six months away but you’ve already started mulling over gift ideas for Christmas for your favorite long-distance relationship couple. The only problem is, you haven’t got a clue what to get them this year. How about these brilliant gift ideas for Christmas that will blow their minds and make your gift the most memorable one?

Everyone loves to get gifts that offer real value in terms of usability and convenience. Your budget is, of course, the deciding factor, but these items below are excellent gift ideas for the yuletide. Your fave LDR couple will absolutely love and cherish these for a long time.

  • A Cold Brew Coffee Set for Him and an Ice Cream Maker for Her

Cooking at home is one of the hallmark activities of the Age of the Novel Coronavirus and COVID-19. Millions of couples around the world are making things at home rather than going out, which hasn’t been possible for the past couple of months. But even now, people are hesitant to face the crowds at restaurants. So, why not give them a gourmet experience right in their homes. You might want to switch out the gifts and give him the ice cream maker and give her the cold brew coffee set, but that depends on who will like which gift more. We’ll leave that to you to decide.

  • A Matching Set of Luxury Passport Covers; Personalized, No Less!

If your favorite long-distance couple is split between two countries, they’re sure to have passports. Why not indulge them with a duo of stylish suede leather or textured leather passport covers. It won’t cost that much and it’s a truly functional gift that keeps on giving. You can even have their names imprinted on the covers to give it a more personal touch. Great gift ideas for Christmas for the frequently traveling long-distance couple.

  • A Year’s Subscription to Zoom Premium

Your long-distance couple friends are most likely using Zoom already, but you’ve probably heard the recent news that Zoom does not provide end-to-end encryption for free plans. The gift idea here is to upgrade them to a premium plan so they won’t have to worry about privacy anymore. The normal price is about $150 for a year but there’s an ongoing offer of $120 for the same Pro plan. We don’t know how long that discount will last so get it as an early Christmas gift for them.

  • Pizza Stones!

People love making their own pies at home, more so during the lockdown that the world’s countries are now contemplating once again to stop a possible second wave of COVID-19. Reports have been coming in that nearly half the states in the U.S. are experiencing a rise in detected infections. North Carolina’s governor might be rethinking the state’s plans to reopen businesses and schools. Around the world, nearly every country is seeing more COVID-19 positive cases after the first set of lockdowns were eased. In a tumultuous situation like this, why not give your long-distance couple friends something to celebrate at home? A quality pizza stone can replicate the beautiful golden crust that you normally only expect to see at a pizzeria. Make sure they’re made from a ceramic material called Cordierite – those can be used in an oven as well as on a regular grill to make delicious, professional-tasting pizzas. Yum!

  • Luxurious His and Her Monogrammed Bathrobes Made of 100% Egyptian Cotton

Doesn’t anyone use bathrobes any more? It used to be that you first luxuriated in an aroma salt bath for like two days and then sat around in your robe for 24 hours, just chillin’. Well, even in these times of shower, towel-off, and run off to do the 50 things on your schedule, a bathrobe makes a statement that you’re going to be a little laid back no matter what – even if it’s just for the 15 minutes you’ve stashed away for yourself in a day filled with hectic to-dos. Give your favorite long-distance couple the luxury of super-soft cotton bathrobes with their names – or just His and Hers – monogrammed on them. It’ll help them feel just a little less flustered and a little bit billionaire. Great gift ideas for Christmas at practically any time of the year.

  • A Date Night Bucket List

Long-distance couples are often hard-pressed for time with each other, so they most probably have a ‘date night’ planned every week or so where they virtually hang out with each other. Make their date night even more exciting with this bucket list that they write stuff on and put in a little canister. They can collaborate on the writing part but obviously one of them will get to keep the canister. Each date night, they can pull out one of the little sticks and do that activity. You can even fill out a few to save them the angst of starting to ideate from scratch. Some good ideas would be to watch the same movie in sync while being connected on zoom on their phones, go on a virtual picnic with VR headsets (there’s another great gift idea for Christmas!), go to different restaurants and meet virtually while dining alone, and so on.

  • Long-distance Touch Lamps, a.k.a. Relationship Lamps or Wi-Fi Touch Lights

Gifts for Christmas - Long-distance Touch Lamps | Friendship Lamps | Wi-Fi Touch Lights | Relationship Lamps
Long-distance Touch Lamps

This is essentially a pair of lamps that can be set up in different locations. Once the units are connected to Wi-Fi and a special Group ID, if one of them is touched, the other will light up in a specific color. It’s a great way to communicate your love for another person just to say “Hey, I’m thinking about you right now.” They’re relatively inexpensive, and Friend Lamps offers some of the best quality touch lamps on the market. It’s one of the best gift ideas for Christmas or any time of the year for long-distance couples. Check it out for yourself.

  • A Cork Globe for Globetrotters

While the touch lamps literally give your gift the personal touch, a cork globe might be ideal for couples that travel a lot. They can each keep a globe with the other’s location marked with a pushpin; hence, the cork. If they’re true globetrotters, they can track each other’s journeys across the world and have a fun time of it!

If you’ve noticed, these 8 gift ideas for Christmas aren’t necessarily seasonal, which means you can buy them and have them shipped to separate locations around the year. Nevertheless, Christmas is special for most couples, and more so if they’re struggling with the challenges of a long-distance relationship. So, why not give them early Christmas presents this year by being their very own Santa Claus?

21 Long Distance Relationship Gifts for Humor-loving Couples

When you’ve been in a long-distance relationship for a few months, you may find yourself becoming a little complacent about how you treat the other person. How do you keep that from happening? How do you keep things fresh and exciting? If you feel your remote romance cooling off, here are some long-distance relationship gifts that will make your overseas love laugh, cry, or cry laughing!

Make Your Man Laugh until He Cries with These Quirky Long-distance Relationship Gifts

#1 – Personalized Boxer Boxer Briefs

 

boxer briefs - personalized and naughty

A picture says a thousand words, so if you’re a fun-loving couple that’s just a little bit risqué, why not send a pair of these devilish drawers to the man in your life? Just be careful he doesn’t start taking his pants off wherever he goes, just to show off his “wears”. It’ll be on you!

#2 – Butt Face Combo Soap and Towel

 

Butt Face Towel and Soap 2pc Combo Set gift ideas

Does your better half on the other side of the proverbial pond often get confused about where he begins and where he ends? This clearly marked duo of soaps and a towel will set him straight. It makes for great hygiene and a couple of giggles while he’s soaping up or toweling off.

#3 – Hidden Hip Flask

 

We’re still on the topic of booze, are we? Sure, why not? This great idea works really well if you hide the hip flask in a very serious book, like Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. The book is fat enough to ensconce a nice little flask. If you’re shipping it overseas, though, make sure the flask empty! For the incorrigibly irreverent, why not use a B*bl*? Sorry to not spell it out – not really a keen fan of getting struck by lightning!

#4 – Literary Insult Chart

 

A literary insult chart? What’s that, you might ask? It’s simply a visually categorized collection of the most offensive obloquies from literary giants of the past; an encyclopedia of edgy zingers from just about everyone – from Churchillian chillers to Shakespearean scorchers, your guy will laugh his ass off with these titillating taunts and brutal burns! He’ll laugh so much he’ll start to cry, and then he’ll go and blast out a few of these blasphemous bombasts on his best buds over a beer.

#5 – Beer Belly Fanny Pack

 

beer belly fanny pack funny gift ideas hilarious gifts

Yup, it’s really a thing. These hilarious beer belly bum packs are a riot. Your man will be ROFL-ing when he gets this. Available in multiple skin tones and varying levels of hairiness and can hold at least a couple of cold ones – it’s as close to a true beer belly as you’ll ever want him to grow!

#6 – Tacos Can be Pun, Too!

 

taco custom t-shirt

If your man’s a foodie and loves tacos, he’s going to wear this tee every chance he gets. It might be a good idea to get it in a size that’s just a little tight for him – sure, why not rub it in while you’re at it. Ole!


For a truly touching long-distance relationship gift…

…why not consider a pair of Friendship Lamps?

Touch your Friendship Lamp and your lover’s lamp will light up no matter where in the world they are. Operates on Wi-Fi connectivity.

Check out our special offer!


#7 – ‘He Nose How to Have Fun’ Paper Cups

 

nose cup gift

Originally branded as “pick your nose” paper cups, these now come in a variety of options, including animal snouts and bird beaks. They make excellent party cups and are guaranteed to get people in the mood. Get a set of 24 and have them shipped to your beau overseas.

#8 – Granite Whiskey Stones

 

granite whiskey stone set gift for boyfriend

Your boy loves his booze chilled but hates that watery feeling when the ice melts. “Finally,” he’ll say, “a woman after my own heart.” With these whiskey stones now at his beck and call, all he has to do is chill them out… and then chill out with them! Guaranteed to at least make his eyes tear up. Warning: Sensitive men may end up bawling like babies when they see this in the mail! For that fussy whiskey or wine lover, these are probably the coolest long-distance relationship gifts you can come up with. Literally.

#9 – Lipstick-marked Sandwich Bags

 

printed sandwich bags - lipstick marks

It’s not actual lipstick, mind you. These printed sandwich bags will give your shy guy a nice little conversation starter at work during his lunch hour. Who knows, he might even think of you for all of 12 seconds before getting whisked away by the office vamp! Are you having second thoughts about it now? Read on…

#10 – Boozy Binoculars

 

binoculars hip flask

If your remote Romeo has been wondering how he can carry his tipple on those weekend hikes without alerting park authorities, this is one of the best long-distance relationship gifts for him. Just to be safe, give him a good answer to use when someone asks to borrow his binoculars. They might end up seeing double.

#11 – Good Morning, Mr. President!

 

Donald Trump mug

Who doesn’t love being lied to by political royalty? This is what the long-distance love of your life should see when he wakes up. You DO want him to wake up with a smile, don’t you?

Make Your Woman Tear Up or Light Up with One of These Quirky Long-distance Relationship Gifts

#12 – Daily Rant Journals

 

daily rant journal set

Too scared to tell your faraway forever love that she complains too much? Try these “note-so-subtle” notebooks and get away with murder! She’ll be dying to share her pet peeves on your next FaceTime call. But if they’re mostly about you, don’t say you weren’t warned.

#13 – Miniature Desk Vac

 

mini desk vac

These adorable little tabletop USB vacuum cleaners are great conversation pieces for her workstation in the office. They make excellent long-distance relationship gifts for all those tidy Theresas and spotless Suzies out there. Yup, she knows we’re talking about her.

#14 – Shower Squids

 

shower stuff holder squid design

A set of these for her shower stall will be much appreciated. Each squiddy holds up to 9 items and can save a lot of space in the shower. Practical yet playful.

#15 – Funny Coffee Mug

 

personalized coffee mug

Need to tell your long-distance lover that she has a mouth to make a sailor blush? Try this oh-so-subtle coffee mug as a long-distance relationship gift for your lovable gutter gab – I dare you!

#16 – Notes from a Fetus

 

what to expect when you're expected - parody pregnancy book

A hilarious parody of the best-selling book, What To Expect When You’re Expecting, this rib-tickling tome tells the fetus in your wife’s womb what to expect during the first three trimesters. Great advice, but the content has to be delivered by the mother. Duh! Why is that, you ask? Well, that’s because your kid can’t read yet, you over-ambitious wannabe child prodigy’s Daddy!

#17 – Homemade Porn for Women

Porn For Women | Cambridge Women's Pornography Cooperative ...

You can buy this one online but it works beautifully when it’s a personalized long-distance relationship gift. We suggest compiling a collection of printed-out selfies – wait, don’t take your pants off just yet – of you mopping the floor, doing the dishes, making a cup of tea, or taking out the garbage. Stick the photos in a journal titled ‘Porn for [Her Name Here]’ and ship it off to her so she can get her juices flowing as she gawks open-mouthed at her fave guy doing the one thing that makes men attractive to women. Housework!

#18 – Donut and Coffee Mug

 

funny coffee and donut mug prank gift gag gift

Has your wife been complaining to you during your bi-weekly Skype calls that she can’t walk around in the morning with her coffee and a donut while checking her Snapchat on her phone? This might be just the thing she was looking for.

#19 – Quarantine Sandwich Bags

 

printed sandwich bag gag gift idea

The “Quarantine” printed sandwich bags are guaranteed to thwart that office sandwich thief your wife’s been complaining about. A little dark humor around the coronavirus threat never hurt anyone! Warning: This product might get your wife into trouble at work. Also available in a “Crime Scene” variant.

#20 – Long-distance Boyfriend Pillow

 

long-distance couples boyfriend pillow

She needs an arm to snuggle up to or a shoulder to cry on but you’re thousands of miles away? No problem, let this ‘boyfriend arm’ do the heavy lifting for you. Guaranteed to make her smile, even when she’s sad.

#21 – Bad Ass Knee-high Socks

 

pink knee high socks with bad ass print

Let your lady walk the talk with these ‘a-hole-repellent’ socks. Wards off all kinds of freaks and pervs while your girl is away in another country traveling or working.

These tasteful long-distance gifts for him and her will squeeze out every last drop of that missing zing from your long-distance love life. They’re fun, they’re affordable, and they’ll invariably make more of an impression than you can ever imagine. Just make sure that your bae loves a good laugh and won’t be offended by your thoughtful and practical (NOT!) gift ideas.

For a truly touching long-distance relationship gift…

…why not consider a pair of Friendship Lamps?

Touch your Friendship Lamp and your lover’s lamp will light up no matter where in the world they are. Operates on Wi-Fi connectivity.

Check out our special offer!

Perfect Gifts for Long-distance Couples: Secrets of LDR Gifting

You’re thousands of miles away from the one you love and it’s tearing you apart every time you get on Skype or FaceTime to fill that aching gap. For new long-distance couples, this can be the very definition of hell on earth. Your soulmate is supposed to be with you – mentally, physically, and spiritually – but circumstances dictate that you remain separate. Nobody who hasn’t been through the experience can know what it’s like. But there’s some good news to give you solace: gifts for long-distance couples, when done right, can go a long way in alleviating the ache born of that gap.

Other long-distance relationship issues aside, we now know that gifts can transmit immense positive psychic energy when physical proximity is not possible or practical. But finding perfect gifts for your faraway lover or spouse isn’t always that easy. You could browse the Internet for gift ideas, of course, but how do you make a gift extremely personal? That’s why we’ve decided to draw you a roadmap to find the best long-distance gifts, with some suggestions strewn along the way.

Long-distance Gifts for Couples to Develop Greater Intimacy

To begin with, ask yourself what type of gift can evoke memories of the times when you were able to spend precious days with each other in between those long stretches of loneliness? What gift can you give that brings you mentally closer to fill the glaring physical void? Are there gifts that can get you both to have the same experiences at the same time? Or gifts that can bring some psychological consonance and closeness to a relationship where distance is the greatest challenge? How can you leverage technology to bring you mentally closer to each other?

That’s what we’re going to explore today in this article. If you look closer, you’ll see that many of these gift ideas leverage the power of our senses to bring a feeling of proximity and invoke a sense of intimacy. It’s a concept called senses gifting and has been around for a while, but few people realize the immense power that senses gifts can have on the giver as well as the receiver.

Visual Gifts to Invoke Positive Memories

The first type of gift – and probably the most obvious one – that works well for a long-distance couple is one that can give both of you a visual treat. We’re talking about photos of each other that you send on private chat or email that can be saved as wallpapers or screensavers on your phone or your desktop. It can serve as a constant reminder to the other person whenever they use their phone or log in to their computer.

Visual gifts like these can bring up powerful memories of your time together but they have to be done just right. Look your best and snap your better side to give your girl or guy a more positive and appealing memory of you. You know that story of native Americans refusing to be photographed because they were afraid it would steal a piece of their souls? That’s a myth at best but if it were true, wouldn’t you rather have your lover in a distant land see the better side of your soul?

You can also take it up a notch and send a photo collage that will put a smile on distant lips. Use humor to spice it up. If there’s a special look or glance that fires up her memory, use that. If a particular pose of yours stirs his loins, don’t be too shy to send that one. Try to send stuff that you know they’ll like, not just any random selfie that you took that morning with your hair looking like a badly built bird’s nest. Plan it out and curate the best ones, and then use an app like Diptic or PiZap to put them together in the form of a montage. Be creative and have fun with it.

 

long distance couples photo idea

If you’re a little more tech-savvy (or even if you’re new to it), you can try creating a video montage of clips showing your time together or even while away. There are tons of video editing apps that let you do it right on your iPhone or Android device, such as Adobe Premiere Clip and Vidstitch, that are user-friendly and don’t require any sort of expertise. Remember, you don’t have to be ↓↓↓THIS GUY↓↓↓ to make great movies!

Steven Spielberg using his smartphone camera to record something

Long Distance Experiential Gifts

Technology is all around us. Use it! Why not consider amping up your gifting skills with the help of virtual reality or VR? Sites like AltspaceVR offer apps where you can create private rooms, spaces, and worlds, and even interact with each other with activities like painting or playing video games. There are also apps like RizortVR, vTime, and portals like Oculus Rooms and Mozilla Hubs where you can upload a 360 photo and explore that with your faraway spouse or lover or set up a private space for just the two of you.

Of course, you’ll need the hardware to enter these virtual worlds so buy a pair of Oculus Rift or Oculus Go HMDs (head-mounted displays) and have the second one shipped to your partner. VR headsets are not that expensive nowadays and you can easily get one for a couple of hundred bucks per unit. It’s a great investment and it gives you the opportunity to spend virtual time with each other. If money is not an object you can try some high-end devices like the Valve Index VR full kit or an HTC VIVE Pro. Most of them piggyback on third-party VR apps or offer their own.

Strictly speaking, experiential gift ideas means you gift an experience rather than just “stuff” or material things. This involves gifting an experience that the other person hasn’t yet had. For instance, if you love whitewater rafting but your spouse in another country has never done it before, why not gift them a kayaking experience that you booked online near their location? It doesn’t have to be a strenuous physical activity or a dangerous sport; for example, you can buy him a ticket (with popcorn and soda delivered right to his seat!) to a movie you love but he hasn’t seen before. A lot of multiplex movie theaters today offer such dine-in seating that he’ll absolutely love.

Such an experience will not only give both of you something to talk about but also deepens the relationship by helping the giftee understand and appreciate a point of view that’s important to the gifter and different to their own preferences. It’s a powerful gifting idea that you should definitely try at some point. However, be careful not to gift them an experience that you clearly know they won’t enjoy – like a skydiving session for a person with vertigo or acrophobia. Duh.

Touch-friendly Gifts for Long-distance Couples

Our tactile sense is one of the most powerful of the five. When triggered in the right way, it can be quite satisfying. In fact, the lack of touch is one of the very things that makes a long-distance relationship so hard to bear. Did you know that the sense of touch can tell your brain to release endorphins, a class of “happy hormones”; or that touch is the first sense to develop in a human fetus, at about eight weeks?

That means when you were a little bitty embryo in your mama’s womb looking like something Sigourney Weaver would have shot at…

LDR couples - eighty-week-old human fetus

 

…is when you developed the first of your five senses. Not the most flattering analogy, I’ll admit, but it was fun, right?

Gifts for long-distance couples that involve the sense of touch in some way can be a fantastic emotional trigger for most people. Try something like a touch lamp or a weighted blanket. If you don’t know what these are, a touch lamp or friendship lamp is a set of two lamps where if you touch one lamp, the other automatically changes to a preselected color. And the lamps can be thousands of miles apart, linked to separate Wi-Fi connections. One for you and one for your better half. And it’s quite affordable as well.

5 Best Long-Distance Friendship Lamps - Lights for Long-Distance BFFs

A weighted blanket is basically what it sounds like. Little discs or pellets are sewn into layers of fabric to make the blanket settle around you and give you the feeling you’re being hugged. It’s a great experience but it’s only sensible if your wife, husband, or lover lives in a cold climate or sleeps in an air-conditioned environment. Studies have shown that weighted blankets can increase the level of serotonin, another “happy hormone” that can make you feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed. You can see why it would make an appealing long-distance relationship gift idea.

Olfactory Memory Joggers for Overseas Lovers

If you have a nose for it, you can try some olfactory teasers to give your loved one a lingering smell that reminds her of you. Roses? Boriiiiing! Try something more personal, like hyacinths to remind her of the flowers you used at your wedding? It doesn’t matter what kind of flower it is as long as it is linked to some shared memory.

Perfumes are another great idea. Is there a particular fragrance he loves on you? Why not send him a bottle of that so he can get a whiff of you whenever he feels lonely? You can also send perfumed items like scented aromatherapy oils. Just make sure it’s a smell that will invoke a powerful memory of when you were physically together.

Why is this a great gift idea for long-distance couples?

 

The sense of smell can trigger emotions and memories far better than any sense. The geek’s explanation for that is the fact that it is the only one that skips the brain’s ‘relay station’, the thalamus, and goes straight to the olfactory bulb; in turn, this is connected to the hippocampus and the amygdala. In layman’s terms, our sense of smell is akin to the sense organ of the very first single-celled organisms that populated the earth’s bio-broth, technically known as the Primordial Soup, from which all living things are thought to have originated.

That’s why certain smells are so intoxicating and heady. Find that smell and gift it. It works.

Aurally Stimulating Gifts for Long-distance Couples

If our eyes are the windows to our souls, then our ears are a direct route to our hearts. Studies have shown that our sense of hearing is a far better vehicle for emotion than sight. We’re better at detecting emotion when we only have access to sound rather than just sight alone or even sight with sound. It also implies that sound can be a better emotional trigger than sight.

In the context of LDR gifting, you can use sound to your advantage by choosing a gift related to sound. It can be as simple as sharing a playlist or as elaborate as organizing a limousine trip to where her favorite band is playing live. It can be the sound of your voice on his voicemail or a carefully curated collection of soothing sounds for him to go to sleep to. If you guys have been living near the ocean and she had to move to a place with no access to a beach, why not a recording of ocean sounds with your soothing voice laid on top?

When considering gifts for long-distance couples, be sure that it’s something that will trigger a memory of you in some way. That’s what makes it truly powerful. You certainly don’t want to treat her to front seat tickets at a Justin Bieber concert only to have it end with her leaving you for Biebs!

Buying the Perfect Graduation Gift: Ideas for Soon-to-be Empty Nesters

Finding the perfect graduation gift is a challenge for any parent who’s fledglings are ready to leave the nest. As it is, Graduation Day brings a mixed basket of emotions, some good, some sad, mostly nostalgic. You want your graduation day gift to be the beginning of a memory that will last a long time. Some soon-to-be empty nesters buy their kids cars when they’re ready to leave home, some make financial investments in their names, and some might even sponsor a “go find yourself” trip to Europe or the Far East before their son or daughter heads off to college.

 

Graduation gift ideas

On the other hand, graduation gifting doesn’t always have to be an expensive affair. Sure, you’ve probably set aside some money for this, but what if you don’t want to go the traditional way of buying a car or some plane tickets? What gift ideas should you be looking at in terms of broad categories? What’s the starting point for finding that perfect graduation gift? Here are 6 of the most popular categories of gifts that will be appreciated – hopefully, for a long time after they’re given.

Cold, Hard Cash is the King of Graduation Gifts

 

Money as a graduation gift - quote

Cash always tops the list of most-wanted gifts. And why not? As an etiquette expert from Florida points out: “It’s rarely returned, and one size fits all.” Cash is and always was the king of good times, and nothing says “take me, I’m yours” like a great big wad of dough or piles of neatly stacked currency notes.

But if you don’t want to be crass about it, how about throwing a ‘costume’ over the graduation day bundle you’re about to drop?

Idea 1: Put wads of money into new shoes and gift-wrap it in a proper shoebox. Imagine the look on their face when they struggle to get their toes in and find the cause of the obstruction!

Idea 2: This one’s adapted from an idea by blogger Izzy Anderson. Take several bills and tape them together end to end to create a long strip of money. Roll it into a tight roll that will fit on the inside of a tube of toilet paper. Sounds like fun already, right? Now, get the cardboard tube from a roll of toilet paper and cut a slit into the side about the width of a dollar bill, maybe just a little wider. Next, insert the roll of money into the tube with the slit and get the first bill to peep out of the tube. In the image below, they’ve used a Pull Me tab on the first bill.

 

There are literally hundreds of gift ideas for gifting cash, so get as creative as you like. Just make sure none of the bills are damaged in the process. To match the gift to your budget, use ones, fives, or twenties.

If cash just won’t cut it or you think it’s no fun receiving money (are you kidding me???), consider some other gift ideas. Here’s one that immediately comes to mind…

Jewelry: Graduation Gifts that Glimmer

“You can always tell what kind of a person a man really thinks you are by the earrings he gives you.”
― Audrey Hepburn

Ah, jewelry – another word that appeals to everyone but is like music to a girl’s ears! Diamonds, in particular, make excellent graduation gifts for young women. That doesn’t mean men won’t like it. A solitaire tie pin for a son off to do a corporate internship might be overkill, but how about a diamond-studded watch or platinum bracelet that can eventually become a family heirloom? Graduation is a fitting rite of passage for such precious gifts.

Jewelry needn’t always be of the expensive kind, either. Depending on what you plan to spend, you can consider a necklace and earring set, a bracelet, a finger ring, a locket, a pendant, a tie pin, an ear stud, and so on. The only problem with jewelry is that the appeal is very specific; be sure you know what she’ll love or he’ll appreciate before you go and splurge several hundred dollars or more on a jewelry item.

Investments as a Graduation Gift Idea

If you’re investment-savvy, you can consider gifting some long-term Treasury ETFs, or stocks from a defensive segment like consumer packaged goods or utilities. These can be sound investment choices in a volatile environment because they focus on essential goods that people will always need. It’s not as glamorous as owning stocks in Apple, Inc. perhaps, but shares in a soap company or one that makes toilet paper or a consistent dividend-grower can provide more than a little financial stability over several decades.

Also Read: 101 Gift Ideas for 2020

Always look at the long-term horizon when making an investment as a gift for someone else. Many thousands of millionaires have been created by the capital markets, and you want your graduate son or daughter to have a backup if they ever need it in the future. Don’t get sucked in by sure-money deals or things like mutual funds. Look for solidly-backed opportunities that are relatively low-risk and have yielded results for decades, through recessions and boom times alike.

Technology Gifts for Graduation Day

When you think of gifting technology, gadgets are probably the first things that come to mind. But remember that you’re looking for a very special gift, not the run-of-the-mill gift like the latest iPhone or Samsung S series smartphone. Why not a more practical gift, like a convertible notebook for a college freshman or a new home security system for a daughter moving to her own apartment?

For that matter, it doesn’t even have to be a physical product. How about a digital gift like a Netflix annual subscription or a year of Amazon Prime? These offer prolonged value and will be much appreciated. If you think about it, technology is a great enabler for the art of gift-giving.

Nuts and Bolts, a.k.a. Essential Gifts

This category of graduation gifts has a decidedly practical bent to it and there’s no end to the possibilities it brings. But you have to be careful to stay away from things that might look practical but hold very little actual value. An example of that: a son living off-campus and mostly eating take-out or home delivery won’t appreciate a dishwasher but one who loves cooking in his apartment and entertaining friends will thank you after every party.

Here are some of the other things you can consider gifting a graduate about to leave home for the great unknown:

  • Cooking utensils, silverware, or crockery
  • Clothing, shoes, accessories, etc.
  • Bed, mattress, bed linen, etc.
  • Appliances: microwave, hairdryer, coffee maker, toaster (ah, the classic wedding gift!), and so on
  • Computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone
  • Toolbox with all the necessary tools
  • First-aid kit with specific medicines for your child
  • A food subscription plan for convenient meal delivery
  • Travel gear and accessories
  • Portable chargers, also known as power banks
  • Amazon Echo or any of the Alexa voice assistant products
  • Heavy appliances: air conditioner, washing machine, dryer, refrigerator, wall TV, deep freezer, oven, etc.
  • Vouchers, coupons, and digital discounts – perfect for the frugal graduate struggling to pay down their student loan!
  • A professional DSLR camera for the outdoorsy graduate who loves hiking, biking, and anything that keeps them moving.
  • A set of our own Friendship Lamps, perhaps?

There’s no dearth of websites telling you about the best graduation gift ideas, but we advise you to think it through and figure out what your now-adult child will find of practical value and for a prolonged period of time. Keep this in mind:

““They always gives me bath salts,” complained Nobby. “And bath soap and bubble bath and herbal bath lumps and tons of bath stuff and I can’t think why, ‘cos it’s not as if I hardly ever has a bath. You’d think they’d take the hint, wouldn’t you?””
― Terry Pratchett, Hogfather

Time and You: The Greatest Gifts of Them All

This might sound corny but the most valuable gift you can give as a graduation present for your precious child who’s going away is the gift of time. Communicating with Home Base is not something for your children to “get to it when they can”, especially for sensitive kids going out into a tough world. They might not have the financial safety net or social protection they enjoyed when they lived under your roof but you can certainly make sure they get the emotional support they need to get through the average week as an adult.

“The best gifts come from the heart, not the store.”
― Sarah Dessen, Lock and Key

Scheduling special FaceTime or Skype calls throughout the week is a great way to keep it consistent. Consider buying a video calling tool like the Echo Show or Echo Spot from Amazon or a 10″ Facebook Portal for a larger screen.

A word of caution is appropriate at this point: don’t overcommunicate. And that includes putting pressure on them to make every call on the schedule. Don’t let it be an obligation; it should be more of an open window when they know they can reach you for sure at those times. It’ll give them a tremendous sense of security and confidence knowing you’re there for them.

And God knows we could all use a little of both in our lives right now as the threat of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 starts cutting a swathe through a totally unprepared modern human civilization.

Our gift ideas for graduation will hopefully lighten the burden of separation. In these troubled times, we need something that brings us closer as a family. Gifts are a powerful way to make yourself present when you’re absent, to coin a new Master Oogway expression.

We’ll leave you with this final nugget of wisdom; not from Oogway but someone equally wise in the ways of the world:

“A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.”
― Seneca, Moral Essays: Volume III

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