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In 2020, the year went by with less handshakes, hugs, in-person smiles, and quality time spent with those we used to interact with everyday. Coworkers moved to be closer to their family and meetings went fully virtual. Friends and loved ones hunkered down in their homes and began filling their calendars with video calls instead of visits. But, people still found ways to connect with each other and come together for the moments that mattered.
Through social media, communication platforms, and virtual experiences, people were able to remain in contact with their communities. Travel lovers could virtually tour National Parks with the help of the National Park Foundation and fans of the theatre were able to stream Broadway shows from the comfort of their home with TodayTix.
As COVID-19 cases grew, celebrations did not halt and Zoom party invitations for anniversaries, baby showers, and engagements began arriving in inboxes. At SmartGift, we saw high year over year growth in occasions like Birthdays, Just Because, Thank You, Year-End Holidays, Mother's Day, and Valentine's Day.
As vaccine development began with Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson, people still had to find ways to connect, grow, and support their communities without risking exposure or public health. Loved ones sent ecards and gifts orders to prepare students for virtual school and those who couldn't be there in person for Valentine's Day made sure the flowers and chocolates arrived instantly.
Now with the vaccination program and COVID vaccine supply, those who work in health care or are eligible to receive their vaccine doses do not have to wonder: "when can I get the COVID vaccine?" The ability to schedule an appointment and arrive at a nearby testing site have liberated many. Most adults can leave the vaccination site with a sense of hope that was dwindling in 2020.
With the number of COVID-19 vaccinations increasing and positive test results for the virus decreasing, now seems like the perfect time to celebrate! Consider sending a vaccination gift to mark the momentous occasion of a future with concerts, weddings, restaurants, and gatherings with friends and family.
For those who are about to return to the office, send your employees or work bestie a care package full of items to make the transition a bit easier. If they like to start the day with a little caffeine, make sure to include their favorite coffee or tea blend with a new mug to keep at their desk, so they don't have to worry about exposure through shared utensils. Also, freshen up their new desk space with a fresh arrangement of spring flowers or a cheery plant.
For your parents or grandparents, you can now deliver on all those promises of Sunday dinner and family time. Gift a full meal with all their favorite fixings and a new board game to play together as you gather in the same room for the first time. For families who are still separated by large distances, take a note from the digital connection of the pandemic. Plan a virtual movie night that commemorates that everyone will be seeing each other soon.
For your group of close friends missing the life of Friday Happy Hours, share the perfect picnic kit for the upcoming summer nights and outdoor gatherings to limit the spread of the virus. For dinner plans, a new sundress or a full outfit after a year in sweats will refresh their closet, plus SmartGift can help make sure they get the right size and color without impersonal gift cards. For more information on how they can swap and make it their perfect gift, visit our consumer store here.
For those itching to get back on a plane destined for far off places, make sure they have a new set of luggage and packing supplies for their next big trip. For those who are still waiting on their second dose, consider sending them a gift basket of the finest flavors of Italy or California to sample before taking their perfect vacation. Also for those who are keeping travel more local, surprise them with a new carry on or backpack that will store all the essentials.
After a full year of lockdown and uncertainty, why not celebrate the little things that we took for granted in the past? We should utilize the increase in online and mobile capabilities to connect with long distance relationships and we can treasure those we can see with the help of masks, social distancing, and a dollop of hand sanitizer.
Take the time to connect through recognizing the special moments and engaging with those who were supportive during difficult times. Learning from the hardships and separation of 2020 is an excellent way to increase EQ levels and bring a new perspective into workplaces and relationships. Start by turning a new leaf and opening back up with meaningful communication and gifting.