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A Holiday Like No Other – Pandemic Holiday Gift Ideas

pandemic holiday gift ideas

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by Arlen Hollis Kane

Gift Ideas for the Covid-Era

No one comes close to me in my love for jewelry, furs, silk pajamas, Italian leather anything.  Paris Hilton may think she’s tops in glitz, but she’s a lightweight.  Carrying a small dog around in a fancy little purse, even if that dog has a jewel-encrusted collar, is amateur stuff.  If you really want to make a splash showing off a pet, you have a mink-clad Whippet pull a miniature chariot that bears your teacup Yorkie to the vet.  Now that’s glamour.

In our twenties, my friends drooled over the latest Frye boots.  I spent my rent money on a red leather maxi coat.  For the most part, we shared the same sensibilities about pop culture and the issues of the day.  But then the divide became apparent.  While they were easily identified as hippies, slightly unkempt, sometimes with a pungent edge, I didn’t own a pair of jeans until my mid-thirties, and then I ironed them.

“I like my sandwiches thin and neat, same as my men.”

I’m not sure it’s genetic, but I have no other rationale for my specific approach to life.  I like my bouquets blowsy and bright.  I like my sandwiches thin and neat, same as my men.

Despite what might seem like a persnickety attitude, I’m not one to turn away from a good time just because the wine might spill.  Beginning early on, I tempered my fervor for social issues and learning with a good dollop of laughter.  And that road continued from dewy youth through my first bone density test.

In support of my quest for la dolce vita, I have a bunch of mottos I adopted over the years:  too much is never enough; have as much fun as possible as soon as possible; and it’s never too late to hit a salsa club.

My clothes and home reflect both my fun-seeking life and my aspirations for it to continue until I drop — with slight adjustments, such as no more sleeveless dresses.  My preference for items that prop up a playful life, like another dozen champagne flutes, is usually apparent on my holiday wish list.  But this year my friends, in the age of COVID, everything is different.

pandemic holiday gift ideas

Pandemic holiday gift ideas for 2020

This year my wish list reads like a school custodian with OCD took over my life through sinister, but immaculate, means.  What’s more, I find I’m not the only one.  Both men and women tell me they too covet more practical things.  And so, dear readers, as family and friends will no doubt ask what you’d like for your COVID-era holiday, here are some Good and Bad gift ideas.

  • Paper towels. Ask for the ones that are already scored in half, and of good quality. Anything less than 12 rolls is not a gift, it’s a loan.
  • Hand sanitizer. It must be at least 70% alcohol, and not made in China. If it’s any color but clear, re-gift it.
  • Men, be specific, no ties. Unless you’re on the short list for a cabinet post in the next administration, you’ll never need another tie.
  • Batteries. Ask for double A’s, triple A’s, D’s, 9 Volts – and small appliances that use each of them.
  • Soap. Not the luxury kind, full of perfumes, hard-milled by people in berets. You’ll need cream-based soap, unscented.  This is the best protection against thirty hand washings a day.  And men, you’ll have to give up your Irish Spring.  Even the gritty Irishman in the commercial uses Dove.  And if you generally use Irish Spring, it’s time to give up Old Spice too.
  • A hot glue gun. Just ask for it. Once you have it you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.   It’s a little like they say in Field of Dreams … “build it and they will come.”
  • A new shredder. Because this is the winter to finally dispose of decades of receipts, financial statements, and photos of people you never really liked.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide. It’s a marvel what this product can do. It whitens teeth, lightens hair, cleans stuff, and remarkably dissolves blood stains from fabric.  You’ll need it because if COVID isn’t over soon, you’ll try to kill yourself – but you won’t succeed.  Why not?  Because it’s just that kind of year.



About the author

Arlen Hollis Kane

Arlen Hollis Kane is a Manhattan-based award-winning writer.  Memos from Manhattan, her regular column for 50PlusToday, is reflective of her love affair with her hometown.  Her focus is on writing about the ever astonishing people, places and events that inspire the phrase “only in New York.”Arlen Hollis Kane

After reaching 50, she fulfilled a childhood passion by enrolling in the Fashion Institute of Technology.  She designs and hand makes scarves, handbags and jewelry. Her abstract acrylics and photographs have been featured in a one-woman show in the Gallery of the Borough President of Manhattan, and in juried shows, including at the National Arts Gallery.

Arlen volunteers for Dorot, an organization that helps seniors stay engaged and socialized, and Big Apple Greeter, which gives visitors the experience of seeing New York with a local.






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