Connect Family

This Season, The Best Gifts Are Needs Wrapped Up As Wants

Lindsay Tigar  |  December 8, 2020

If you have friends and family who are struggling this year… think kind and necessary gifts for the win.

Among the many lessons of 2020 — for better or for worse —has been the hammering home of the big difference between want and need.  Sure, we may have understood that on a fundamental level before, but now?  Now, we really get it.

Which is why during this season of spread goodwill, we’d like to suggest some strategic gift-giving. Rather than picking out another knick-knack or tchotchke, think about what your friends and family members really need.  Then think about how to dress it up as the most fabulous gift ever.  

Here are some fantastic gifts that are needs disguised as wants.  They’ll not only just relieve a little pressure and anxiety, but also pass along the best present of all: Hope. 

Make meal prep easier

Whipping up breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, all-day, every day gets tiring, fast. These gifts take some of the pressure off, whether it’s a meal kit you pop in the microwave or ones that come with pre-portioned and pre-cut ingredients so cooking is done in a flash.

Daily Harvest

Most folks care about their health (duh!), but vegetables don’t come cheap, especially when you want to source fresh, organic options. To the rescue is Daily Harvest, a company that offers 75 different chef-curated bowls, soups, flatbreads, smoothies, lattes, snacks, desserts and more., gift cards for $50, $100 and $200. 

Home Chef 

What if you could take a short quiz on how many people you’re feeding, what types of foods you love and which ones you want to avoid, and wham-bam, you have a meal plan? That’s exactly the customization that Home Chef offers, with 19 weekly rotating recipes. No matter if your recipient is avoiding dairy or a vegetarian, there’s something for them., gift cards start at $65 (3 meals for 2 people). 

Baker’s Bacon

It’s been a long time since we could experience the joy of brunch: busy cafes with mimosas overflowing, long-lines and crowded streets, and the tipsy buzz of an afternoon cocktail. You can’t bring brunch back quite yet, but you can give your pal the gift of humanely-raised, vegetarian-fed, antibiotic-free heritage bacon from family-owned farms in Iowa. Each mailing comes with eight packages of bacon!, $95

Murray’s Cheese

For the cheese-obsessed, the very arrival of this box will have them salivating. Straight from the heart of New York City, Murray’s Cheese offers a variety of subscription packages,  whether it’s a cheese board of the month, pairing cheeses for meals and wines, or a cheesemonger pack for the adventurous nibbler., gift prices vary.  The “Greatest Hits” package is $95.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

During stressful times, a spoon — or ahem, bowl— of ice cream hits the spot. For your friend with a sweet tooth, considering giving this delicious subscription that provides yummy, creative flavors. Each month, they receive a curated selection of four blends. And psst: if they’re dairy-free, Jeni has them covered, too., the six-pint holiday selection is $68 plus shipping.

Bread Basket

While many have discovered the joys of baking fresh bread and have somehow mastered sourdough starters, others simply don’t have the time or patience. If your friend enjoys a generous slice of bread with a smothering of butter or a daily sandwich, consider this lovely idea. Through various boxes, you will help support New York-based bakeries that are at risk of closing, and your friend will be able to enjoy restaurant-quality baked goods at home. Win-win!, the holiday basket is $45, subscriptions start at $40 a month. 

Gift cards for food delivery or local restaurants

Some nights, cooking — and even microwaving — feels like an enormous task. And when that mood strikes, there’s nothing better than ordering takeout. Give your friend the evening off from putting together a meal with a gift card to Seamless, Grubhub, Uber Eats, or (even better) a  favorite locally-owned restaurant. 

A gift card that will cover essentials (with a handwritten note, of course) 

With daily life more virtual than ever, opening your mailbox to find a beautifully written, personal and thoughtful holiday message will lift your friend and family member’s spirits. But, to add a tad more cheer, including one of these gift card options is equal-parts helpful and kind.

Costco membership

After surviving the great Toilet Paper Scare of 2020, you now know how precious access to a big box store can be. Consider gifting a Costco membership to keep the savings rolling (pun intended) in all all year long. 

Housecleaning service

Spending 24/7 under the same roof to work, play, cook, relax, and ahem, exist can create one mighty mess. Give them a break by hiring a cleaning service to come in and scour from top-to-bottom while they go on a walk or drive. Check out,, or local services in their area.

Babysitting credit

What parents truly want this holiday season? A break. A kid-free few hours (or overnight!) to nap, relax, read in quiet, talk to their significant other or friends, cook a meal they like, have a bottle of wine and disconnect. If you can’t babysit in person, a gift certificate to is the next best thing.

Dog walking or dog boarding credit

Four-legged children are a mega responsibility — just ask anyone who got a pandemic pup. With, you can give your pet parents pals an hour or a night off.

Book of the month club

This year, people have been flipping pages more than ever, so why not keep the habit going with this kind gesture. Book worms will love receiving a surprise mailer every month or being able to support a local place they love.  A Kindle unlimited subscription is a great riff on this, too. 


While we all aim to shop small as much as we can, sometimes, we need something in a hot second. With everything from household goods to pantry items, a gift certificate to this mega-retailer will stretch far and wide.

Newspapers and magazines

With news that seems to change every second of every minute of every hour, it’s a job to keep up — and the cost of news sources can add up.. A subscription (digital or print) is the gift of knowledge. 

Clothing store

Shopping with your pals used to be a weekend activity: fuel up on breakfast, browse through the racks, try on and critique, and end the day with a glass of wine. Not so possible right now, but, a gift certificate to their favorite place is! 

Netflix or Disney+

Yes, we’ve succumbed.  Netflix (or children’s channel Disney +) are no longer wants during this year-of-staying-home, they’ve become needs.  Consider a giftcard for streaming services for someone who you know is having trouble affording theirs: Netflix, Disney+

Stock their pantry and fridge

Much like meal prep, having a pantry that’s stocked with balanced, healthy products and staples is necessary but stressful. Luckily, there are plenty of gift options for those you hold dear. From CSA memberships to coffee subscriptions and more, these send the right sentiment. 

CSA membership

You can support local farmers and ensure your pals have a wide selection of in-season veggies with a local CSA membership. For families, this can be a mega savings option and one that challenges at-home chefs to get creative with their meals.  Find a local CSA here


Sort of like a meal kit, but also a way to never let produce go bad, Hungryroot offers a vast variety of healthy food options, delivered right to their door. All of their packages include portion-mindful groceries and recipes that can be put together in ten minutes.

Misfits market

As we’ve learned this year, even when life isn’t perfect, it can still have beautiful moments. That’s the concept of Misfits market: not everything is Instagram-ready, but it’s delicious and ready for your plate. You can give your pal an ongoing membership that delivers ‘misfit’ produce and goods to use throughout the week or month.

Thrive membership

If you don’t eat dairy or vegan, you know how expensive it sometimes can be to find healthy and yummy products. Rather than trying to hit Whole Foods at the right time and being disappointed when something is out of stock, you can give your friend a membership to Thrive, which delivers this type of stock at a discount.  A $60 annual membership provides free delivery on orders over $25.

Coffee subscription

True: the day doesn’t begin until that first sip of java. Also true: everyone’s palette is different for coffee, and unless you *know* your friend’s taste, it’s better to give a gift card. These subscription services offer a variety of options and price points:, starting at $49., starting at $26., starting at $20., starting at $22.

Provide the wine

No matter what life stage they’re currently going through, most people can appreciate a bottle of vino — or three.. While some know what they like, others are still learning.  If you know they have a favorite, just ship it out.  If not, let them pick out the beverage of their choice and get it delivered when and where they need it most.

Is our choice for a great selection — some of it curated into gift sets at all price points — others just by the bottle or case.  You can search by region or varietal. Free shipping is available if you spend more than $49. Try this Italian Wine Gift Set for $39.99.  


JOIN US: How are you handling the pressures of holiday spending? Join us in the private HerMoney Facebook group and share your money saving tips — and pick up a few new ones!

Editor’s note: We maintain a strict editorial policy and a judgment-free zone for our community, and we also strive to remain transparent in everything we do. Posts may contain references and links to products from our partners. Learn more about how we make money.

Next Article: