Gift Giving as the New Social-Distance Love Language

Every week, I excitedly don a pair of headphones and greet my friends for another thrilling session of Dungeons & Dragons. Since we began social distancing measures in March, we’ve made a point of making our sessions a regular occurrence. It gives us a break from current events, gives us something to look forward to, and allows us to spend quality time crafting an adventure we can go on together despite being so far apart. 

As social distancing measures stretch on far longer than any of us anticipated, we’ve added a fun element to our games. When one of us is celebrating a birthday, we’ve secretly gotten together to get that person a customized gift and make a big deal of spotlighting their character while playing. We’ve done everything from custom game tools, gag T-shirts full of inside jokes, fantasy-style cups, and kitchenware.

An Old Tradition

Gift-giving as a sign of love and respect is a tradition almost as old as friendship itself. When done correctly, it not only shows a person you were thinking of them, but also that you pay attention to and celebrate their unique passions and personal taste. Here are a few gift-giving tips that have helped my friends and I knock it out of the park each time:

  • Look to your previous conversations for guidance. Have they mentioned (thinking about) getting into a new hobby? Have they said, “I wish I had a…” in recent conversations? Start there.
  • If you’re going weird, funny, or quirky, do so within respectful boundaries. Stay away from offensive language.
  • Keep their style top of mind. Just because you like something doesn’t mean they will.
  • Don't be afraid to shop small. Smaller vendors offer more personal gifts than big retailers.
  • Take your time choosing or creating a thoughtful gift. Rushed, impersonal gifts often feel worse than no gift at all. 

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