Holiday Gift Giving During a Pandemic (and Year-Round)

How to give a gift that is personal and thoughtful during social distancing

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? Maybe a little less so in 2020, but in our quest to keep on keepin’ on and this too shall pass and the only way out is through and - insert your favorite mantra/quote/bible verse/inspirational song lyric here - we remain firm in our desire to participate in our annual holiday traditions! As much as socially distanced as possible anyway…

Traditional gift-giving is taking a detour this year.

The holiday gift exchange is usually the stand-out event among the bevy of holiday rituals, including:

  • the traditional stringing of burnt popcorn and cranberry garland,

  • cautiously decorating around the razor-sharp needles of the Christmas tree,

  • baking and painstakingly frosting dozens of sugar cookies,

  • hypnotically gazing at the prominently displayed Major Award in the front window, and

  • getting ill from eating all those cookies you just baked.

While some traditions can remain intact in all its frosting-covered glory, and others with minor adjustments, gift-giving might pose a challenge this year. Attempting to gift experiences this season, especially those that require travel, will come with its own unique snags. And most people will have already engaged in some (or a hefty amount of) much needed online retail therapy in the last few to ten months that they may be hard-pressed to think of anything they need another of. Not to mention the actual intimacy of physically handing someone a gift will likely be compromised for many people as well. You could just skip the gift-giving season altogether or maybe just try something different this year.

Create lasting memories with the gift of original artwork.

Giving the gift of original artwork is a truly unique and unexpected present sure to please anyone. It’s a creative, hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind item that you pick specifically for the intended recipient. A personal gesture like this goes a long way. Purchasing original artwork as a gift is a win-win for a few reasons:

  • It shows you took the time to consider the recipient as an individual, their style, and personality

  • The memories you create and stories associated with a permanent work of art have a longer-lasting impression than a consumable item

  • The recipient will enjoy the year-round benefits of inspiring décor every time they see it handsomely displayed on their wall

  • Bonus: When you gift original art, you are supporting the visual arts and artists – a noble and worthy gesture you can feel good about and brag about whenever you like!

Choosing artwork for everyone on your gift list.

Below are a few personality profiles and print suggestions curated from the over 100 original prints available at the JMR Photography Print Shop. These images are just a few ideas to get your wheels turning. You know your recipient best – trust your instincts and let your intuition guide you!

The Nature Lover

The person that always wants to be outdoors, their home is a botanical garden, you describe them as the most ‘grounded person you know’ and they seem on the verge of claustrophobic breakdown if they are in any man-made structure for too long. Images of nature and landscapes also make a great gift for the individual that could use a visual reminder to slow down once in a while.

Nature Preserved

Solar Rose

Blue Moon

The Creative

They bake, they decorate, they are writing a novel while also weaving a fantastic monogrammed throw blanket – everything they touch has their signature style and flair to it. Keep them inspired with some eclectic original artwork.

Spied Eye

Abstract II


The (would-be) Traveler

Even if we can’t physically travel very far right now we can expand our knowledge and experience in other ways through art, literature, and online classes. Photographs of far-off places, or not so far off, can remind us to continually seek to expand our horizons, that there is a world beyond our front door.

Chinatown Arch

Don't Grow Up, It's a Trap

Savannah Palm Trees

The “Intellectual”

Always thinking, always playing the devil's advocate, and always questioning. This intellectual-type enjoys sussing out information, is proactively curious, and considers every point as open for discussion. Any print in the Text collection will make great conversation starters.

ARE you what you read?

eye see a mouse...

Frog Glasses

The Entrepreneur

This individual might be a small business owner, absorbed in their career journey, or have a thousand projects going on at any time. Reward their focus and productivity with images that have structure, order, and clean lines.

Railing Base

Perception and Reality

The Office.


Does it need to be said? You are probably also a nature-lover, artist/crafter, entrepreneur, intellectual, and would-be traveler and deserve the gift of unique, original art as much as the next. Go ahead and treat yourself for being the savvy, creative, and thoughtful gift-giver you are! Here are some of my favorites.

Sushi Marquee

Graffitied Photo

Flying Saucer

Take your gift of original artwork to the next level!

I love a theme and I always try to add a little extra something to any present that will further enhance the main idea of the gift. Here are some ways you can add a personal touch to your gift of original artwork.

  • Have a way with words? Compose (or borrow) a silly/sincere/lyrical poem or song to go along with the image. A card with a heartfelt message telling why the image resonated with you and why you picked it out for the individual will mean so much.

  • Add an indulgent item you know they would love but would never buy for themselves like silky hand cream, decadent chocolates, or premium coffee or tea.

  • Did I mention I love a theme? Add an item that goes with the image you purchased. Like bath bombs to go with Bath Exotics, a bottle of wine to pair with Still Life with Wine, or some nostalgic toys, trinkets, or paint set to go with Marbled.

Another thoughtful and practical complement to an original art print is a gift certificate to get the artwork framed. This is similar to including the batteries when the gift you’re giving requires ten AA’s. Make it effortless for the recipient and include a gift certificate so they can frame the piece to their taste as well as the location they plan to display it. I prefer craft stores with frame shops like Michaels to custom frame artwork. They are reasonably priced, professional, and they do a great job (and there’s usually a coupon nearby!). You can also go with an online framing option like Framebridge where you mail in the art to be framed.

Shop the Print Store for all your gift-giving needs this holiday season and year-round.

A special addition to your gift of artwork will extend the moment a little further and create an even more engaging experience. Every print purchased at the JMR Photography Print Shop comes with the story behind the image that explains its origin, process, and any exhibits or publications it was featured in, so your gift is guaranteed to be unique, thoughtful, and memorable.

Sharing the gift of original art will create a lasting memory between you and your recipient, a memory they can reminisce fondly on every time they see it.

Go to the Print Shop

Take a deep dive into some of the pieces in the collection on the Art Seen Blog.

© 2020 by Jamie M. Richey