It's probably fair to say you've got a lot on your plate with this pandemic, so coming up with Christmas gift ideas might be a bridge too far.
As an added obstacle, you may not be able to get to the shops.
What you need is a gift guide that's got lots of online options, and that's guaranteed to bring a smile and ensure a stress-free holiday season.
Even at the best of times Christmas can be chaotic. Throw a global pandemic in the mix, with a lot of shops closed and people on lockdown, and the anxiety levels ramp up to eleven.
And hey, half the world has spent the summer decluttering and now doesn't want stuff starting to pile back up again.
Yup, buying gifts just became that little bit more tricky.
So here are some present ideas to show someone you care... without cluttering up their home.
Best of all? Most of them can be bought online from the comfort of your couch.
Take THAT, Covid.
2020 Christmas Gift Ideas
All of these either take up little to no space, or are designed to be used up.
1. Food & drink
This is a brilliant gift for someone who's finding it tougher to get to the store these days.
And let's face it, everyone eats, so you can't go far wrong here.
Choose from multiple options, including vouchers for food delivery services, or a hamper full of their favourite treats. (Chocolates, cheeses, coffee beans, and wines are pretty solid choices here.)
If you have the time and skills, you could even consider cooking or baking something yourself. Apart from the obvious options like cakes and puddings, also consider meals that can be popped in the freezer and then pulled out when the pantry contents are running a little low.
(I was so incredibly grateful for my aunt's lasagne after having my daughter.)
There are also subscriptions you can purchase as a present, where the person receives a new food or drink item each month. (My husband bought his friend a tea subscription a few years back. Every month he was sent a package of unusual and exotic tea leaves. How lovely!)
Speaking of which...
2. Subscriptions & memberships
Honestly, there's a subscription service for almost everything these days. If in doubt, just type the name of something they'd like, followed by the word 'subscription', into a search bar and it's bound to bring up results.
A particularly lovely one is for flowers, where the recipient is sent a beautiful bouquet or potted plant each month.
Also, with most of us spending more time at home, consider a subscription that provides indoor entertainment. Good options include a digital magazine or newspaper they love, a service like Audible or Kindle Unlimited where they can consume books to their heart's content, or a streaming service so they can watch their favourite films and shows.
(Though is it just me or did it seem like the entire world signed up for Disney+ this summer?)
Memberships are also available, with some limitations. (Maybe best to stay away from a gym membership for the moment.)
But think of "exclusive" offerings like the Nespresso club or an auto club.
Remember too that many artists offer memberships, with behind-the-scenes content, signed merchandise, early access to tickets, etc.
We might not be going to concerts for a while but when we do, you can bet we want those early bird discounts!
Which leads me to...
3. Tickets & vouchers
As Christmas gift ideas go, this one's tried and tested.
Concerts, opera, theatre, sports, conferences, seminars, cinema, the zoo, aquarium, theme parks… If you can't buy a ticket to the actual event, buy a voucher for the company or venue.
Either go for individual tickets or, if your budget allows, season tickets.
Other vouchers include things like petrol (who doesn't want to have their tank filled for free!), physical or digital stores, travel and accommodation, salons and spas...
Again, some options here may currently be more limited than before but when the world returns to normal, someone will be very glad to have something fun to do!
4. Stocks & shares
Granted it's a pretty safe bet that the economy is about to crash and burn BUT it will recover at some point. Investing is usually a long game, so your small contribution on their behalf might turn into a tidy little nest egg for them over time.
But it doesn't have to be for a financial payout, consider emotional attachments too.
Years ago I bought a friend shares in his favourite football club. Apart from the dividends, he gets regular updates as well as all sorts of extras and invitations.
It remains one of the best gifts I've ever bought.
5. Toiletries & household goods
Now before you add that generic body lotion set to your basket, consider some alternatives.
You have two great options here:
- something incredibly practical that you know for sure they'll use (one of the best gifts I ever received was fuel from my parents for our open fire – coal, turf, briquettes... It kept me cosy on many a cold night in Dublin)
- something a little luxurious that they might not normally buy for themselves (put back the generic set and spring for one tub of the good stuff, or throw in a few bath bombs, scented candles, and a pricey shampoo and conditioner)
Personally I'm all about the practical gifts because not only are they guaranteed to be used, they'll also save the person some time, money, and effort having to go buy it themselves. Double win!
6. Scratch cards & lottery tickets
I don't know anyone who doesn't love the little thrill of a potential win, especially when they didn't fork out for the ticket. No losses, but potentially life-changing gains. EXCITING!
Honestly, the anticipation is the true gift here. Any winnings are just the icing on the cake.
This can either be something you offer yourself (like window cleaning, car washing, or grass cutting) or something you pay a third party to do.
If you know your recipient has difficulty leaving the house, you could offer to do their grocery shopping, or pick up their prescriptions.
Another great option is hiring a professional to do something they might not be willing to pay for themselves. For example, maybe they're engaged to be married. You could book them an online consultation with a wedding planner.
Family "doortraits" are also incredibly popular these days, where a photographer (from a safe distance) takes a photo of you outside your front door. Fun!
Can I be honest with you? I used to think these were sucky gifts.
Then a few Christmases ago, when I'd just lost a second friend to leukaemia (f**k you, cancer), my husband made a donation in my name to the Bone Marrow for Leukaemia Trust.
It's one of the most meaningful gifts I've ever received.
Find a cause that's close to your recipient's heart and make a donation. Even a small amount can make a huge difference... in more ways than one.
And look, if all that hasn't sparked a few ideas in you, just stick some cash in a card and call it a day. 😉
What's the best clutter-free gift you've ever received?