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A Gift for Every Type of Person You’re Seeing for the First Time in a Long Time

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

As more and more of your inner circle gets vaccinated, you may notice your social calendar is starting to fill up for the first time in more than a year. While getting to see family, friends, neighbors, classmates, and other loved ones in person again is exciting on its own, after so much time apart, maybe you’re thinking of ways to make a reunion feel even more special, like a thoughtful gift to show whoever it is just how much you missed them. Seeing as life hasn’t exactly stopped during the pandemic — folks had babies (or adopted furry babies), took up hobbies, moved to new places, and bought cars — you might also be looking for a gift that celebrates whatever changes have occurred since you last saw them. To help you find the right something for that special someone you’re seeing for the first time in a long time, we put together the below list of 21 options for most every type of person, whether it’s your cousin who is now a new parent, your favorite co-worker who tied the knot over Zoom, or that friend who hasn’t left their house in months. Many of the things on this list are available at Amazon, but we’ve found a lot of them elsewhere too for those who like to shop around.

For the person who hasn’t left the house in months

If they’ve been inside for that long, they might have let a daily SPF application fall by the wayside. This sunscreen adds a pearlescent, dewy sheen to the skin, while also protecting it from harmful UV rays, so they’ll be all set for their next park picnic.

For the person who left the house too much

Some chic black face masks to match every outing (and outfit) they’ve got lined up in the coming weeks.

For the person who had a quarantine baby

Strategist writer Lauren Ro says these onesies became the “newborn uniform” of her son, Augie. “The kimono-style snaps made them easy to put on and take off (no one tells you how difficult it can be to constantly pull shirts up and down over a baby’s precious little head),” she writes, adding that the sleeves “have built-in fold-over mitten cuffs” for babes that are “always scratching their faces with their little nails.”

For the person who had a quarantine grandbaby

In our gift guide for new grandparents, grandmother Susan Johns told us she’s been a fan of Hallmark’s recordable storybooks ever since she made one for her first grandchild. “You press a button when you first get the book to record yourself reading it, and then it saves the recording. Our grandkids still find and listen to them sometimes.”

For the person who adopted a quarantine fur baby

This snuffle mat will not only keep their hyperactive new dog busy while they try to answer emails, but also give it something to do when your recipient goes back to the office.

For the person who turned their living room into a gym

A more stylish take on those staple accessories in ’80s-era exercise videos.

For the person who turned their kitchen table into a desk

Nulaxy Laptop Stand

Something as simple as this ergonomic laptop stand can go a long way toward helping correct poor posture and saving them from WFH-caused shoulder and neck pain.

For the person who had a Zoom wedding

It can be hard to guess what a couple needs, especially if you haven’t seen them in a while. This John Boos cutting board has been recommended not once but twice in our Steal My Registry column, making it seem like more of a sure bet. “Cutting boards are one of those things that people kind of overlook,” says chef Eden Grinshpan Nivron, “and to be able to have a solid, really thick, good-quality cutting board in your kitchen, to really manage your food prep, that’s something everyone needs to have.” Herman Miller designer editor Kelsey Keith, who got the board in a maple finish, adds, “It’s nice to have a huge surface — we got the 24-by-18 inch — for whatever chopping needs arise.”

For the person who had to attend a Zoom funeral

A condolence gift may be one of the trickiest things to get right. When we asked grief experts to recommend meaningful ideas, therapist Michelle Maidenberg suggested this journal, to give your grieving loved one space “to write down their thoughts and feelings.”

For the person planning a post-pandemic trip

Whether it’s by plane, train, or automobile, your jet-setting friend could get a lot of mileage out of this collapsible fold-up duffel bag from Paravel. “These bags are light and tiny when folded but very large and strong when unfolded, and they look good to boot,” says David Brown, a co-author of A Year Off.

For the person planning a post-pandemic first date

If their flirting skills have atrophied, a new date-night scent might help them bolster the confidence to make a lasting first impression. “When you first apply the scent, you get a burst of lavender, pear, and bergamot, but as it settles into your skin, it smells like a warm, cozy orchid musk,” our beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton says of Ariana Grande’s Cloud. “You don’t smell like you’re obviously wearing perfume — you just sort of smell like a cleaner version of yourself, like you’ve just stepped out of a really nice shower.”

For the person who is tired of cooking

This smoked Icelandic sea salt ended Strategist contributor Hannah Howard’s pandemic cooking rut. The crystals are infused with birch smoke, giving the salt a “dark, dangerous campfire depth” that “makes everything taste better and fancier.”

For the person who can’t wait to cook for everybody

If they’re planning their first dinner party, your recipient likely has everything they need in the kitchen, so giving something they can use on their dining table may be a better move. These candlesticks drip colored wax as they burn, which will give guests something to ooh and aah over while they try to make small talk again.

For the person who moved upstate

Chances are they have a yard now, so a new lawn game will be perfect for the upcoming summer. Strategist managing editor Maxine Builder loves Mölkky, which she describes as “a cross between bowling, billiards, and blackjack, with a mix of strategy, skill, and luck.”

For the person who fled upstate but has moved back to the city

A set of tree-scented incense will make their urban home smell a little bit more like the bucolic one they escaped to for a few months. In addition to the 40 logs of incense, the pack also comes with a simple wooden stand.

For the person who became a TikToker

Photo: retailer

If they abandoned Instagram for TikTok while stuck at home, this mini-microphone recommended by TikTok creator Christina Najjar will help them bring their content to the next level. “I call him Mini Mic, and he feels like a full character in my life,” says Najjar of this simple yet “sophisticated” gadget.

For the person who became a mixologist

Maybe your recipient turned to booze to get them through the worst of quarantine. If so, their bar cart is probably begging for a refresh by now. These three bartender-recommended bottles are probably all they need to replenish their supply of bitters.

For the person who bought a car

Celebrate your first road trip together with this essential oil diffuser. It plugs into a car’s cigarette lighter socket, so they can toss that gas-station air freshener.

For the person who bought roller skates

This convenient fanny pack (a favorite of two Strategist writers) is roomy enough to carry everything they need while rolling from here to there on four wheels.

For the person who bought a bike


They can clip this lightweight speaker to their handlebars to set a soundtrack for their rides.

For the person who just got vaccinated

A sturdy vinyl protector to help them keep their vaccination-record card in pristine condition.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Gifts for People You’re Seeing for the First Time in a While