As we enter the second half of this unusual year, many perspectives have shifted when it comes to gift-giving. Increased isolation and uncertainty have caused an equal need for meaningful, lasting, and tangible gifts.
A Social Species
In a 2019 CNN interview, University of Worcester Psychology professor Daniel Farrelly had this to say: "Humans are an incredibly social species and one of the things that sets us apart is forming and maintaining relationships with others. Gift giving around holidays, birthdays, graduations, or weddings is a great opportunity to reinforce those relationships."
The simple act of social distancing, though necessary, has left many with negative psychological effects such as anxiety, depression, anger, loneliness, frustration, and boredom. It goes against our social human nature. Even when we are trying to keep up our human connections with video chats and drive by graduation parties, it can get exhausting trying to keep up with the “new normal.”
Giving Something Meaningful
One thing we humans know how to do – and have been doing for thousands of years – is gift giving. There are many online articles about the do’s and don’ts of gift giving, but articles written before this year should be taken with a grain of salt. Normally, many sites would advise the gift of an experience rather than a physical item, but that’s not quite feasible anymore. Instead, consumers are looking for meaningful physical gifts. Consumer psychologist, Chris Gray, Psy.D. elaborates, “The pandemic has created a lot of anxiety. We’re reminded the world is not permanent. By giving gifts and things that are enduring and are a lasting expression of care, it helps us soothe a bit of that anxiety.”
It is worth mentioning that a gift can be virtually any item given to any person you have a relationship with. This can include hand-painted postcards for your friends, a knitted baby blanket for your new niece, a custom key-tag for your new client, or thoughtfully designed award rings for your employees. The idea is to show the recipient that they are thought of, cared for, and valued. Without these physical reminders, it’s easy for remote workers and other isolated individuals to feel unappreciated and insignificant. On the other hand, gift giving not only makes the recipient happy, but the giver as well! Gifting is also contagious – those who receive gifts are more likely to start sending gifts themselves. This kind of shared healing is a great way to boost morale in your peer group, family, and company.
What We’re Doing at Dion
With much of our office staff working remotely and quite a few of our factory employees on furlough, our company started to feel detached and distant from one another. To combat this, we made “care packages” and sent them to every off-site employee. The packages included our Dion branded face coverings, and the employee-of-the-month candy bar they would have received had they been in the building (our actual employee off the month receives a lot more than just a candy bar). We also began circulating a weekly company newsletter to keep everyone connected. It covers anything from cool new projects, to safety messages, to spotlights on individual employees. Each of these thoughtful efforts keeps our workforce engaged and feeling valued so we can keep navigating this year together.
By Aubrey Dion
Aubrey Dion is proud to be back working for the family business she grew up in. Over the years, she has performed a wide variety of jobs in both the office and factory, becoming a true "jack of all trades." Aubrey credits her quick learning ability to her strong theatre background, where memorization and attention to detail are vital. Working in the marketing department allows her to stay creative and work on exciting new projects for the company.