This has been a difficult few weeks here in the U.S. Disasters – of both the natural and man-made variety – seem to be coming at us hard and fast. Just when we had wrapped our heads around Hurricane Harvey relief there came Hurricane Irma, then Maria, and then the tragedy in Las Vegas…

It’s a truism that when circumstances are at their worst, people are at their best. And right now, most of us are looking for a way to gather our loved ones close, to send our far-flung network a fervent hug and bask in the comfort of their safety and presence in our lives.

These are times for unabashed affection, not commercialism.

But how can we send a physical hug to loved ones far from the reach of our arms?  What might convey this urgency we feel in our hearts when words or distance fail us? What feels right to give at a time when nothing feels right at all?

First, to the extent that birthdays, anniversaries or other events compel us to send a gift now, we might consider choosing gifts that give back to others in need via a charitable donation.  This gesture gives both the giver and the recipient the comfort of knowing that others will benefit from this occasion. Fortunately, there are myriad great options on this front, including UNICEF, the American Red Cross, and the YWCA, to name a few of my favorites.

Gifts That Give Back

Here at Knack, these current collections are particularly relevant when you want a gift that gives back:

Who else gives back?

We proudly work with merchants around the country who support causes and values our customers find meaningful, from environmental conservation efforts to education for women around the world, and more. Find out more about them here.

Care Packages–Sending Love Is As Easy As 1-2-3

Care packages feel especially perfect to give and receive when times are tough. Items that make a gift a “care package” include comfort foods such as tea, chocolate and baked goods; healthy items such as dried fruit, granola, nuts or water bottles; and products that physically pamper the recipient such as scarves, spa products and candles. But most importantly, a memorable care package includes a message of support and encouragement from the giver.

College students, often living far from home but not long separated from the family nest, are particularly vulnerable to the stress of current events.  Our College Care Package Gift Builder provides an easy tool for creating a 100% custom care package for your favorite academic in just a few simple clicks.

Creative Ways To Say “You’re On My Mind”

Finally, in lieu of physical proximity, simple and unexpected “I’m thinking about you” gifts can really make a loved one’s day. My husband is in the habit of cutting cartoons out of The New Yorker, taping them to postcards and mailing them to friends and family.  Even this simplest of gifts – a smile delivered via postage stamp – can make all the difference for someone special. “I’m thinking of you” gifts can be anything from an emoji-laden text to a loaf of homemade banana bread to an elaborate care package, but the most important aspect is that you cared enough to send it.

I’m in the gifting business, and yet the best gift I’ve ever received remains a $3 baseball, delivered with an enduringly salient message at a major inflection point in my evolution as a human. So I know firsthand that gifts don’t need to be expensive or fancy to be meaningful, they just need to be heartfelt.

Hoping that this post finds you and all your loved ones healthy and safe,

Laura