While your first reaction when shopping for gifts in 2021 might be to stick to tried-and-true presents, we think that the pandemic has definitely changed what we want and need this year.
Looking back on the changes we’ve gone through—whether it’s starting work-from-home, a new exercise regimen, or a newfound cooking hobby—we came up with a list of the most useful gifts for you and your loved ones in 2021 for the holiday season, your kid’s birthday, and beyond.
Read on to find out the best 10 gifts you can give the recipient (or get for yourself) this year.
1. Digital Streaming Subscription
The pandemic has forced many of us to stay at home and rely mostly on digital entertainment. So, it’s no surprise that last year, the number of subscriptions to streaming services surpassed one billion.
While in-person entertainment is coming back to life, it looks like at-home streaming is here to stay. Not only do many people still feel uncomfortable with gathering in crowded theaters, but many are seeing the many pluses of watching movies and shows at home (did someone say homemade snacks?).
For all of these reasons, a digital subscription makes for an amazing gift. There are over a dozen different streaming services, which means that there’s a perfect option for all kinds of personalities. Plus, when you consider that the average subscription is less than $20 dollars per month, we can’t think of a better option.
2. Blue Light Blocking Glasses
As if we weren’t spending enough time in front of the screen before the pandemic, surveys consistently show that screen time has gone up drastically in the past year. Not only are we doing most of our work on the computer, but we’re also using our screens to socialize, get informed, and get some much-needed entertainment.
We can debate how this affects us on a physical and emotional level, but one thing is for sure: the blue light emitted by computer and phone screens can seriously interfere with our natural circadian rhythm—AKA our 24-hour internal clock—that controls when we go to sleep and when we wake up.
For this reason, wearing blue-light blocking glasses in the evening is so important for those of us who like to do our bedtime activities on the phone and computer. Coming in at all price points and in various designs, blue-light-blocking glasses are an incredibly useful gift for the vast majority of your loved ones.
3. Sunrise Alarm Clock
Since we’re on the topic of sleep-wake cycles, it’s important to bring up that darkness during the evening hours sends a signal to our brain that it’s time for bed. Much in the same way, sunlight in the morning sends a signal that it’s time to wake up and to be energetic and alert.
But what happens when the seasons change and all of a sudden your normal wake-up hour is at a time when it’s still dark outside? Naturally, most of us will have a pretty hard time getting out of bed and may even feel groggy during the first few hours of the morning.
Thankfully, this can be remedied with the simple but genius sunrise alarm clock. It includes special bright lighting that is meant to simulate natural sunlight. Some of these alarm clocks can even have built-in sounds that we associate with mornings, such as the chirping of birds. If you want to change a loved one’s mornings for the better, this gift can be a life-saver.
4. Classic Journal
Science has long ago shown that the pen is mightier than the keyboard. Whether you use writing to jot down information, organize your weekly schedule, or engage in oh-so-beneficial gratitude journaling, using pen and paper is much healthier than any digital option.
But, of course, not just any old piece of paper will do. On the contrary, the look and feel of what you write in are tremendously important. For this reason, a high-quality journal—preferably one that is personalized—will inspire just about anyone to write.
With the variety of sizes, colors, designs, and prices of journals available, you’ll be sure to find the perfect one for your friends and family (and even yourself).
5. Indoor Spin Bikes
Same as with shows and movies, many of us had to take our exercise out of crowded gym halls and into our own living rooms. But who can do squats and jumping jacks all day long? To keep workouts fun and engaging, many of us had to turn to professional home workout equipment.
While there are a few new inventions that were introduced into the at-home exercise market during the pandemic, the one tried-and-true classic that only increased in popularity was the exercise bike.
With charismatic instructors, engaging classes, and personal data tracking, exercise bikes became some of the most popular home exercise equipment of all time (and make for exciting and unique gifts).
And it looks like that won’t change anytime soon. While this is definitely a pricier option, it’s one that your loved one will have for years, and be eternally grateful (and fit and healthy) for it.
6. Jade Roller and Gua Sha Face Kit
Perfect for health and beauty trendsetters, the jade roller and gua sha are just some of the latest beauty tools that are starting to pop up all over social media like Instagram and Facebook. Both of these are designed to alleviate puffiness and to increase facial contouring.
While we can’t promise that these tools will have any dramatic effect, they are a great self-care tool that can be soothing and relaxing at the end of the night. Plus, they can increase blood flow to the face, making skin brighter and dewier. They also come in bright colors, which is always a bonus.
And while the new high-tech beauty treatments that are making their way to our homes will no doubt be more effective, the jade roller and the gua sha are incredibly affordable, easy to use, and look pretty cute, too. This makes them the perfect gift for beauty experts and beginners alike.
7. Carry-On Luggage
Because the pandemic interrupted plenty of travel plans for over a year, many of us are beginning to play catch-up. Help your loved ones have the perfect post-pandemic trip with a revamp of their old luggage.
This can be a high-tech rolling suitcase with multiple compartments, a vintage leather designer carry-on (shop secondhand for a more reasonable price), or a top-notch nylon duffel bag.
To add to the gift, you can even throw in some must-have travel accessories, such as a laundry bag, toiletry containers, packing cubes, a travel jewelry case, a mini hair dryer, and even a luxurious silk eye mask.
8. Instant Pot
Work-from-home has made cooking not only a possibility but a necessity. With many of us not frequenting our usual lunch spots, trying to stay healthier, and making more of an effort to save money, home cooking is much more commonplace than it was pre-pandemic.
While there are countless kitchen tools and gadgets (like the best air fryer) that will make any home cook rejoice, the one that everyone can benefit from is an instant pot. A blend of electronically-controlled multi-cookers (with super basic functions and a compact design), an instant pot can make rice, stew meat, steam veggies, and much more! This is an extremely versatile appliance that any home chef will get tons of use from.
Instant Pot even has newsletters that contain links to easy recipes!
9. Cast Iron Skillet
To add to the list of versatile kitchen tools, a cast iron skillet can replace many pots and pans in the kitchen. It is extremely sturdy, non-toxic, and made to last for ages. They are naturally non-stick and can be used on the stovetop, the oven, and even a campfire.
For the best gift, a set of several cast iron skillets in different sizes is incredibly stunning and versatile. But if you want to keep things low-key, then one cast-iron skillet will be a great gift on its own.
10. Personalized Cutting Board
A cutting board is another truly versatile kitchen tool. Besides using it to chop up meats and veggies, you can use a cutting board as a serving tray, a cheese board, or even as wall decor. Plus, a high-quality cutting board can last up to a decade.
For this reason, we think that a cutting board is another great gift. While we love personalized anything, a cutting board with your loved one’s name along with a special message from Sophistiplate will truly stand out.
A Quick List of Bonus Gift Ideas
Don’t see anything of interest in our top 10 list? Check out this last-minute quick list of great gift ideas the giftee will love:
- For those with a sweet tooth: a box of cookies
- For the hostess: a coffee table book and disposable and elegant dinner plates and cocktail napkins from Sophistiplate
- For the teen: unicorn sheet masks or a subscription to Amazon Prime or a streaming platform to watch their favorite shows
- For college students: gift cards to their favorite brands
- For the girlfriend anniversary: a necklace with a classic design
- For the tech lover: tech gadgets like a VR headset or a wireless charging case
- For the wine lover: electric wine openers
- For the relaxation lover: essential oils or annual membership to a massage place
Here’s to a Happy Gift-Giving Season
As a result of the pandemic, we’re definitely spending a lot more time at home. Whether that means more work in front of the screen, more home-cooked meals, or more time spent with family, there is a gift for every person that’s as unique as 2021 itself. For the perfect gift ideas, Sophistiplate has your back.