Make Room for Loving Gifts in the COVID-19 Era
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Don’t sweat summer lovin’ and gift givin’ during a pandemic.
The Gifting Whisperer: Today is a gift — that's why it's called the present. This column helps you make the most of all your gift-giving opportunities.
My wedding anniversary is this summer, and my husband and I will almost certainly still be sheltering in place. Additionally, we have been within shouting distance of each other every day since mid-March. Combined, those two facts make it hard to get excited about when we can be alone. But, from what my shrink says, we must push through and plan anyway.
I adore my husband, who is a wonderful planner of experiences. For my 40th birthday five years ago, he planned an entire week — we dubbed it Julie Gras — filled with my favorite things: beach, Broadway (not one but two shows) and a weekend suite at our favorite staycation spot (the Empire Hotel in New York City). Suffice it to say, planning something for this guy is kind of hard.
If you have a loved one who is similarly difficult to buy for, fear not. Here are some ideas and solutions to get through the conundrum of getting romantic in the era of COVID-19.
Note: These ideas assume you and your honey are sheltering in place together.
Box It Up
I’m a big fan of curated boxes. They offer a sense of surprise and a variety of gifts and most of them are packaged so sweetly, it feels like opening a present every time.
Date Box Club takes some of the pressure off finding a “together activity,” Texting other people while sitting in the same room with your partner is not quality time. For the most part — unless it’s a cooking activity — you will need to source your own refreshments (starting at $39.95 a box).
Date Night in a Box is basically what it sounds like. You can go month to month or pick from quarterly, six months or an annual subscription. What’s unique about this one is they also have a “Faith” option for those who are devoted to their partner and the Holy Spirit (starting at $41.99 a box).
The Fantasy Box is definitely the most risqué of the lot. You can take a diagnostic quiz to be paired with the best selections based on your preferences. Be forewarned, this is not for the demure or easily embarrassed (starting at $39 a box).
Write Your Story: If curated boxes aren’t your thing or you don’t want to commit to a subscription, do something romantic like documenting your love story together. Our Love Story: Fill in the Blank Notebook and Memory Journal for Couples ($10) or All About Us: For the Two of You: Guided Journal ($11) are activities and archives at the same time.
DIY Spa Day: Put on your bathrobes and escape to … your bathroom! Giving each other facials can be a very sensual, intimate and fun activity. For this one, scents are important. For example, I know my husband doesn’t enjoy smelling like perfumed flowers, but he does like products from Fresh and Tata Harper. What you’ll need (in this order):
- Cleanser: To remove any makeup that one of both of you may be wearing.
- Exfoliating scrub: Avoid any products with beads and don’t overscrub.
- Facial mask: Clay or clarifying masks are best for oily skin. Hydrating masks are best for dry skin. Oxygen masks are detoxifying.
- Toner: When you’ve removed the mask, tone your skin quickly with a cotton pad or ball.
You should also have on hand:
- 2 clean washcloths (to remove the mask).
- Cotton pads or balls (for applying toner).
- 2 clean hand towels (to dry your skin between each process.
Some of my favorite products:
- Tata Harper Exfoliating Cleanser (starting at $42)
- Fresh Soy Facial Cleanser (starting at $15)
- Origins GinZing Refreshing Scrub Cleanser ($21)
- Sephora Face Masks ($6 each)
- Origins Clear Improvement Clay Facial Mask (starting at $13)
- Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask ($65)
- Mario Badescu Witch Hazel and Rosewater Toner ($15)
- Thayers Lavender Witch Hazel Toner ($10.95)
Become Fluent in Your Love Languages: Depending on you and your sweetheart, this may not be the ideal date, but for the right couple, it’s awesome. Gary Chapman’s Love Languages theory has its detractors, but other swear by its accuracy. Take the quiz together and then decide.
Test Your Partner Knowledge: Crated With Love Retro Game Show Date Night promises to unveil previously unknown facts about your sweetie … and keep points while you do it ($39.99). Note: Crates With Love also offers a recurring subscription plan.
I’m definitely doing one or more of these come anniversary time. The question is, which? I’ll never tell (my husband would never forgive me).
- Juliana Stock, The Gifting Whisperer: Today is a gift — that's why it's called the present. This column helps you make the most of all your gift-giving opportunities. Contact Juliana Stock