The Importance of Tangible Gifts in a COVID-19 World
Jul 22, 2020
Many perspectives on gift-giving have shifted as we enter the second half of this unpredictable year. Increased feelings of isolation and uncertainty have caused a need for meaningful and tangible gifts.
As extremely social creatures, the simple act of social distancing, though essential and necessary, has resulted in many adverse psychological effects such as depression, anxiety, frustration, loneliness, and boredom. Having distance between each other goes against our instinct to be with people. Although we have attempted to maintain our human connections through Zoom meetings, drive-by birthdays, and video chats, keeping up with the various regulations of “the new normal” can be draining.
To bridge over the disconnect, we have turned to something that we have been doing for hundreds of years - gift giving. As reported by CNN, in 2019, the University of Worcester Psychology professor Daniel Farrelly said: “Humans are an incredibly social species, and one of the things that sets us apart is forming and maintaining relationships with others. Usually, gift-giving around holidays, birthdays, graduations, or weddings is a great opportunity to reinforce those relationships.”
We all understand how to connect through gift-giving. Often it has been suggested to make a gift-giving an experience rather than physical items; however, that option is not quite possible anymore. Instead, consumers are returning to the root of meaningful physical gifts. According to Forbes, Consumer psychologist, Chris Gray, Psy.D., stated, “The pandemic has created a lot of anxiety. By giving gifts and things that are enduring and are a lasting expression of care, it helps us soothe a bit of that anxiety.” Tangible gifts can remind us of the relationships and appreciation surrounding them.
Giving a tangible gift in a time of disconnect shows the recipient that they are thought of, cared for, and valued. We all know how good we feel when we receive a gift. I know that one of the happiest times of my day is when I receive a package from Amazon (and I paid for it). Not only can a gift boost morale for remote and in-office employees, but gift-giving is also a two-way street, making both the recipient and the giver happy. These gifts are physical reminders for workers and isolated individuals to feel appreciated and significant. This kind of shared healing is a thoughtful way to boost morale in all areas of the workplace, peer groups, families, and companies.
One of our clients had half of their staff in the office, and the other half was working virtually from home. They realized the company started to feel detached and distant from one another. Wanting to discover a solution to combat this, we collaborated to create care packages to send to every employee on and off-site. These packages included branded face coverings, a custom-molded candy bar and wrapper, a unique lunch box, and a phone stand. The reviews from the individual employees were extremely favorable with social media posts and thank you notes of gratitude. This thoughtful effort kept the workforce engaged and feeling valued so they could continue to navigate the year together.