From masks to snacks, pandemic gift ideas will spread a bit of joy
NEW YORK -- From masks and fresh reads to outdoor gear and Christmas tree ornaments, the pandemic has inspired a slew of holiday gifts for all.
And after the recent trend of cozy, comforting hygge, there's another Scandinavian state of mind to embrace. It's the pandemic-perfect friluftsliv (free-loofts'-leev), which means "open air living" in Norwegian.
Some ideas for giving in the time of coronavirus:
Mask and speak
There's at least one mask out there for anybody on your gift list. One company has gone a step further with the MaskFone. It comes with wireless earbuds attached and built-in volume controls. The black, breathable fabric is water-resistant. Not on a call or listening to music? It doubles as a voice amplifier for mask-on conversation and comes in two sizes, with replaceable filters. Available at MaskFone.com and Amazon. From $49.99.
Have you got a luxury-level gift budget? Do you know a homebound exerciser with a design bent? Technogym notes its sleek Cross Personal elliptical trainer was designed by Italian architect and designer Antonio Citterio. The thing sure is pretty with its mirror-like steel finish. It has a live console with on-demand content and surround sound built into its handles. And it costs $14,815 at Technogym.com.
Sleep and listen
Coronavirus anxiety is no joke. Who hasn't lost more than a little sleep? Enter SleepPhone, a soft headband of fleece or wicking fabric (for exercise) that includes two flat speakers built in. Wireless, corded and wireless rechargeable versions exist. The SleepPhone comes in two sizes and four colors, including black, blue and lavender. Available at SleepPhones.com and Amazon. From $99.95.
What better time to ask, "Um ... How did I get here?" as 30-year-old entrepreneur Kathi Sharpe-Ross does in her book "Re: Invent Your Life! What Are You Waiting For?" The self-published, self-help guide includes 30 interviews with executives to artists on their a-ha moments. Quincy Jones writes in a short foreword: "I believe that we are the biggest barriers to our own creativity and growth because of paralysis from analysis." Available on Amazon and elsewhere. $19.99.
Need to go in another direction? AcroYoga instructors Max and Liz Lowenstein are out with "Yoga for Inflexible People," a beginner's guide to Zen from Thunder Bay Press. $19.99.
For kids up to 5 and fans of "Goodnight Moon" parodies, there's "Good Morning Zoom," written by a mom isolated with her kids in April, soon after the pandemic took hold.
One page reads: "Good morning room. Good morning Zoom. Good morning friends you hope to see soon. Good morning light. And a world not quite right."
By Lindsay Rechler and illustrated by June Park. Widely available. $14.99.
Another possibility: The kid boredom buster "The Highlights Book of Things to Do." Hundreds of activities between covers for $24.99. Widely available.
Yes, we'd all like 2020 to go away. A little something for the Christmas tree may be just the keepsake once it does. Pandemic ornaments are abundant, including a set of three with snowman, reindeer and gingerbread person in masks touting rolls of toilet paper. The set goes for $35.99 on Amazon. Ornament king Christopher Radko has a Dr. Santa in scrubs holding this message: "We stayed at work for you. You stay at home for us." $60 at ChristopherRadko.com and Amazon.
The Work Wonnie
Waist-up dressing remains a thing, but one still has to dress. Enter this work onesie for the Everyman. It's a button-down, suitable-for-meetings, striped work shirt attached to comfortable sweats on the bottom. It's made to look like the shirt is loosely tucked in. And, wait for it, there's a flap in the back. $55. Head to Workwonnies.com to pre-order for a Nov. 1 release.
With the world at home in extended, proximity to kitchens and pantries, snacking is an ever-present pastime. Mix it up for a lucky loved one with a monthly subscription to the Japanese snack box service Bokksu. Each box is themed and includes tea. Among past themes is the Otsukimi Moon Festival box, with mochi puffs and red bean doughnuts among the offerings. Items sourced from Japan. From $36.99 on a year's subscription at Bokksu.com.
As we live our best friluftsliv lives, we'll be pulling double duty with gloves. The rubber ones may ward off germs but not do the trick when the weather goes frigid. Gifting nice gloves is usually a welcome thing, with options everywhere. For women, try a pair in cashmere and animal print from Amicale. $95. Widely available. There's a matching headband for the same price. Plenty of cashmere-lined options for men, too.
Along the lines of the great outdoors, the folks at Oceas have on offer a fleece-lined waterproof blanket that comes with its own carry pouch.
In blue, gray and red. $33.99 at OceasOutdoors.com, Amazon and Walmart.com.
At UncommonGoods.com, there's an eco-friendly instant grill made for a single use out of cardboard, bamboo and lava stones. $15.