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There’s no denying that Mother’s Day this year will be unlike any most have ever seen. The global coronavirus pandemic is keeping millions indoors and socially distant from loved ones who wish to avoid the chance of getting infected.
Buying Mother’s Day gifts under normal circumstances has been proven to be difficult, so how does one do so during a pandemic? FOX Business reached out to etiquette expert Elaine Swann to find out which gifts would be best for the unprecedented times we are seeing under COVID-19.
“We should definitely be mindful right now, in light of dealing with the coronavirus, is to make sure that we select gifts that are personalized and thoughtful and memorable,” Swann explained. “And that's in terms of gift-giving for others period. We should still be following those guidelines as far as etiquette is concerned.”
For individuals who may not have enough disposable income during these uncertain times or would feel better not risking a visit to a store or delivery person, Swann says there are creative DIY options.
“As an example, you can create a gratitude video,” Swann suggests. “It doesn't take much, we all have electronic devices. One person can be in charge to get everyone in the family to send a video or recording for mom and then compile that and send it to her… This is something that's pretty long-lasting. It will be memorable.”
She added, “The goal is to make sure that your words of encouragement or gratefulness are really going to make her day and it's something that will last a lifetime. Your mom can look at it over and over and over again.”
A phone or video call can also be just as meaningful as a physical gift.
“When you're making your phone call or video conference call, it's really important for people to be very thoughtful in the conversation. Mom may not want to talk about COVID-19 and everything that's going on, so don't feel like you have to bring it up or make it seem like whatever you’re giving is a consolation,” Swann advises. “On the flip side, if mom decides that she wants to talk about what's happening and what's going on, don’t stop her. She may need to kind of run through her thoughts on it and vent or share or whatever, in that direction. Then you follow her right along with it and support her. Allow mom to set the tone for the conversation.”
For individuals who are looking to purchase their mother a gift, Swann says it might be best to take into account her interests or current living conditions to find something that makes sheltering in place easier.
Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day
The beauty or fashion lover
Swan: “An online class could be fun. In beauty and fashion, a lot of different entrepreneurs today are being very creative and are offering online courses. So, instead of the soap, lotions and potions, you can sign her up and maybe she’ll learn something new.”
The book worm
Swann: “People who are bookworms tend to like actual books as opposed to the audiobooks and so forth. And so, I would suggest gift-givers think about personalizing a collection of books – whether it be thrillers, murder mysteries, autobiographies or what have you. Buy a nice collection. And I always say, do things in threes and stuff. He would buy a collection of three different books, then that will make it even more genre.”
The career-driven mom
Swann: “Aside from home office equipment there’s a lot out there. That’s where the masterclasses come in in terms of career and personal development. You can sign them up for one of those classes if they’re really into their career and professional advancement.”
The crafty mom
Swann: “This is where you can really get her set up. You can do some virtual shopping for her and send her a nice big hefty kit – a crafty sort of thing – delivered directly to her door for whatever project she's working on.”
The foodie or home chef
Swann: “There are some food delivery services where you prepare a meal. The meal sort of comes pre-prepped and the person who gets it delivered to their home can finish making the rest of the meal. This way a mom can do something she likes to do and try something that's really different.”
The health or fitness junkie
Swann: “The thing that's really, really cool right now is that a lot of A-list celebrity trainers are almost giving their stuff away for free or they've got big discounts on the courses that their offering. And so I would say you can give mom a peek into a celebrity trainer’s way of life if she’s into health and fitness.”
The new stay-at-home teacher
Swann: “Give her a break from what our normal is right now by paying for a tutor who can help homeschool the kids. I promise, not only is she going to be surprised but she is going to be absolutely relieved to get some help because moms are very exasperated right now with having to take on the role of a teacher as well.”
The adventurous traveler
Swann: “You can send her to a virtual museum tour online. A lot of landmarks throughout the world have virtual tours. Everything from, for example, like Taj Mahal, American Museum of Natural History, even the MET – they have a virtual tour. You can schedule it for your mom and send her a little wine or something like that. If you can’t physically leave the house, then why not go on a virtual tour?”
When all else fails, Swann says there’s nothing wrong with giving money as a gift. In fact, she says money is one of the top-wanted things people ask for in place of a physical gift, according to recent studies from the peer-to-peer money service Zelle.
“If you send mom money that she can spend, you know she’s gotten something that’s not going to be taken back to the store,” Swann says. “In the note portion, you can put something like, ‘Use at your leisure’ or you can tell her, ‘Here’s a post-COVID-19 night out’ or ‘Spa day.’”