Post-pandemic Gift Ideas

In many places around the world, the coronavirus pandemic is still affecting people’s lives. With lockdowns still in place, friends are still not able to gather as they once did. However, in other places, especially where vaccination numbers are high, things are starting to return to normal. And “normal” often means simply being able to spend time in person with the people in your life for the first time in well over a year. With parties and get-togethers starting up again, it is a great time to bring a gift. But selecting a great gift for someone takes thought. Knowing their tastes and hobbies is important. What do they like to do for fun? During the pandemic, a person may have started a new hobby, like painting. That is important to know. When I asked friends on social media what they would most like to get as a post-pandemic gift, the top answers were travel, live music shows and hugs from friends and family. Writer Katie Workman for the Associated Press gives her ideas in a recent story. We share them with you here. For the food lover With restaurants closed, many people taught themselves to cook. Luckily for the gift-giver, there are many things you can give to those who love to cook. If you are from or visit an area that is known for a certain type of food, bring that. In the United States, Workman says that might mean cheese from Wisconsin, maple syrup from Vermont, peaches from Georgia or peanuts from South Carolina. I would add oranges from Florida or salmon from Alaska.   Other gifts could be special oils or sauces to cook with. Fresh herb plants for the kitchen make a good gift, too. Cookbooks and cooking tools can also be thoughtful gifts for friends who love to cook. Or you may want to get them a fun apron to protect their clothing while cooking. For the entertainer People who often entertain, or give parties, are easy to buy for. Any gift that adds to fun entertaining is a good idea. Bringing flowers as a gift or a bottle of nice wine will never be a bad idea. But after more than a year you may want to think of something extra special as a gift. You can give them items they can use during a party, such as pretty glasses, a pretty cake stand or decorative serving bowls. Think of items to decorate the table. Beautiful cloth coverings for the table or napkins make nice gifts. Knowing their favorite colors may help. Beautiful candles to light during dinner are also nice. And fun games are a good choice too. For the art lover Some of the best places to find unusual gifts are gift shops at museums. In a museum gift shop, you can find interesting gifts that you probably cannot find in other stores. Of course, you can find art books and posters. But you can also find bags, coffee cups or jigsaw puzzles all decorated with famous works of art. Again, knowing what your friend likes is important. For the gardener or plant lover If someone likes to grow things in a garden, you are lucky. There are so many things you can give them as gifts. Gardening tools are always useful. So are colorful containers. These can be used by outdoor and indoor gardeners.   A birdfeeder is an unusual present. And who wouldn’t want more birds? Also, decorations for the garden or yard can be great gifts. Again, make sure you know the person’s style. If not, your gift of a garden gnome drinking a beer in his gnome underwear might be re-gifted. There are many ways to say, “Thank you.” or “I’ve missed you.” or “Well, wasn’t that a crazy year!”  But probably the most important gift you can give is just being there … in person. I’m Anna Matteo.   Katie Workman reported this story for The Associated Press. Anna Matteo adapted it for VOA Learning English. Susan Shand was the editor. ____________________________________________________________   Words in This Story hobby – n. an interest or activity engaged in for pleasure pretty – adj. attractive to look at usually in a simple or delicate way decorative – adj. used to make something more attractive : used for decoration decorate – v. to make (something) more attractive usually by putting something on it napkin – n. a piece of material (such as cloth or paper) used at table to wipe the lips or fingers and protect the clothes poster – n. a usually large printed sheet that often contains pictures and is posted in a public place (as to promote something) puzzle – n. a puzzle consisting of small irregularly cut pieces that are to be fitted together to form a picture garden – n. an area of ground where plants (such as flowers or vegetables) are grown gnome – n. an imaginary dwarf believed to live inside the earth and guard treasure hug – n./v. to put your arms around someone especially as a way of showing love or friendship

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