This holiday season is going to be different. Whether you are staying put or hesitantly traveling it’s not going to feel quite the same as years past.
With the undercurrent of a global pandemic that has hit our nation incredibly hard plus an election year that brought out our most fearful selves things are tense and unknown.
I have to admit I want a vacation pretty badly, but it’s not looking promising that I will get to abandon all worries for a week or two and just be. I would love to eat a warm meal made by my mom, play with my dad’s newish puppy and soak up the sun at my partner’s mom’s backyard in Southern California. All of that is probably going to have to wait another year.
So how do we bottle up those feelings and send them to the ones we love? Well, I have a few ideas big and small that might inspire you to get creative this season with your virtual hugs.
My most literal response to a hug in the mail is a weighted blanket. I don’t know much about the science of weighted blankets but I believe they act in much the same way as a real hug: calming and cozy. I will admit in the early days of the pandemic I tried to pile 5 blankets on top of myself to get the same effect and overheated in about 5 minutes. So there is something magical about getting a specialized blanket for just this purpose.
My next thought is an online painting class and / or some painting supplies. Nothing was more calming to me over the past 6 months than putting brush to paper. I would recommend Case for Making Friends for online courses and Touch Art Supply has Art Care Packages (they will curate for you based on price!).
Skincare is personal, but that’s why if you are confident in this gift, it can be the right thing for the right person! This orb shaped thing is called a Gua Sha and it’s used to massage your face. Sounds quite lovely right now.
With all of this hand washing anyone could use some skin hydration.
Last thing in this section is a dry brush. It can be used all over your body before showering to increase circulation and lymphatic flow! Kind of like getting a back rub, but more DIY.
It would be irresponsible for me to forget our very own hanging planters. This gift may seem counterintuitive for a long-distance hug because by gifting this it creates a task for the recipient (secure a proper sized plant and remember to water it). However, every time the recipient cares for their plant they will think fondly of you.
I want to give you a gentle reminder that all items are made to order and we are preparing for a busy season. If you want to guarantee delivery by Dec. 24 I suggest you order early. We won’t be having any Black Friday or Cyber Monday promotions so don’t wait for those because they aren’t coming! I highly recommend getting your orders in before December 1, because if we get flooded we’ll shut down the website for the remainder of the year.
I think spending some time this winter with our noses in books instead of glued to our phones is a gift beyond measure. What could be more appropriate than diving into a future with Octavia E. Butler.
As we prepare for a new administration it’s imperative to write our own version of the future that truly affirms justice and liberty for all. It’s our responsibility to hold our new leaders accountable to the vision we have for society. Who better to inspire us to dream a little bigger than Octavia E. Butler?
If I haven’t convinced you to read Octavia E. Butler, check out this article on Open Culture with her motivational notes to self.
Personally, I will be diving into the Xenogenesis Series (Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago), but you can find many more titles from Bookshop.org or better yet at your local Black-owned bookstore.
My final ideas are free or nearly-free:
1.) Make someone a very customized playlist (music heals!).
2.) Text a funny cat video just to let them know you are thinking of them.
3.) Send a card or postcard.
4.) Play a game of charades on Zoom.
5.) Give someone a spontaneous phone call! Part of the reason we get burned out on Zoom is because it’s so scheduled. A phone call out of the blue can be a bright spot on a grey day.
I hope you find a way to hold your loved ones close this season whether it’s literal or meteaphorical.