The very best friend-gifts tend to be the gifts that you’d also like to receive. And if you’re anything like me, 2020 gift ideas are all about treats, relaxation-encouragers, and a little bit more time with nature (or, at least, a house plant or two). Continue reading below for the best gifts for friends whether you’re shopping early for the holidays, seeking birthday gifts, or just missing your pal so much during this time of long-distance friendships that you feel compelled to send a little something out of the blue.
Gifts to Keep Their Green Thumb Going Strong
Even in big cities, the mid-pandemic seed sprint took hold. Neighbors dutifully trotted home from the nursery with bags of soil. Tiny tomato plants peeped through the bars on fire escapes. Every window had an herb garden. Now, after the initial spark of inspiration has died off, I’d imagine many of those gardens are, like mine, suffering a bit, despite the best intentions. Give your best friend something to keep their garden going: a pretty planter, or garden shears and a watering can attractive enough that they won’t be hidden away. If their garden is really beyond help, maybe encourage them to start over with a sleek beginner hydroponic garden from Click and Grow, or a potted herb or two.
Teas, Drinks, and Creams to Promote Relaxation
Leave the stand mixers, blenders, and toaster gifts to parents and siblings: As a friend, you get to give the fun stuff. Elements to build a relaxing evening ritual, like good herbal tea, chocolates, a handmade coffee mug from Etsy, and—if you’re feeling really spendy—a very cute kettle, might help tame their pandemic stress. I’ve thrown in my favorite rich hand cream and a golden hand soap packed with natural oils to soothe hands after doing copious dishes and enduring endless post-outing time in the sink. Plus, a favorite scented candle that will make staying home all the time a bit more full of ambiance.
All Manner of Aperitivi and Cocktail Ingredients (And Some Fun Glasses to Serve Them In)
Good gin and tequila will never make bad gifts—spirits are, in fact, the perfect gift for a friend who has learned to mix drinks at home during this extended period of bar and restaurant closures. Another option? There’s a whole burgeoning world of complex-tasting non-alcoholic cocktail ingredients out there, perfect for a special beverage to unwind post-work, without the booze. And if your friends have broken all of their wine glasses during these months of time at home, give the gift of our product test winners, which are sommelier-approved.
Thoughtful Gifts For Their Sweet Tooth
Nothing against boxes of truffles, but…there’s more to chocolate than that. A rich bar of fair trade Raaka (or even a whole year’s supply) will surely satisfy, as will a dozen cookies from Brooklyn-based Salty Heifer, overnighted to your friend’s door, or a just-salty-enough goat milk caramel drizzle to top ice cream…or just eat by the spoonful. Below, the best gifts for friends who are chocolate loyalists.