A lot can be said about 2020. It was some of the most challenging months many people have faced. Unemployment skyrocketed, Netflix streaming hit record highs and uncertainty ran everyone's plans amuk.
But the memes were also on fire. In the midst of all this anxiety, finding a reason to laugh was a saving grace.
And retailers have found plenty of ways to cash in on the unique craziness of this year.
I've seen plenty of toilet paper ornaments commemorating the empty shelves in stores across the nation in the spring. Many of them have been quite creative, and at least got a chuckle or three. One of my favorite motifs this year has been the cute little dumpster on fire - and the sentiment that goes with it.
Hand sanitizer has become a staple for stocking stuffers. Puzzles are suddenly hot commodity items on wish lists this year, as is really any item that can make staying at home more comfortable (I asked for new fuzzy slippers this year).
Masks with special Christmas designs can be found in nearly every store - I never thought I'd be complimenting people on their face masks, but here we are. In fact, one company has taken masks to a whole new level, melding safety and technology to create functional masks that include a microphone and earbuds to amplify voices without needing to adjust the mask. The masks also have replaceable filters and can be found at MaskFone.com.
Not to be topped, gifts with nods to "Tiger King" and "Schitt's Creek" are sure to be hits (who didn't watch these shows during quarantine?). Plushie tigers and coloring books and mugs with funny quips from the show may just bring out a smile, especially for that friend you bingewatched episodes together - from your respective homes, of course.
Another funny and accurate 2020 gift may be "Goodnight, Zoom," a parody of the popular "Goodnight, Moon" children's book, written by Andy Ankowski. If you're hoping to help your children understand the pandemic situation, though, there are a host of new books available on Amazon, including "Lucy's Mask" by Lisa Sirkis Thompson, "You're Mean, COVID-19!" by Lianne Betancourt and "Why Did the Whole World Stop?" by Heather Black.
If you're really looking to give someone COVID-19 this year (no, really! The plush variety!) you can find a SARS-coV-2 stuffed plush at giantmicrobes.com. In fact, the company will donate 5% of the proceeds from sales of the COVID-19 plushie to one of a handful of charities supporting health care workers and needy families. The company also features cutesy plush versions of organs and microbes (hearts and kidneys and livers, oh my), and any of these would make perfect gifts for the medical worker in your life.
Whatever the next month brings, we'll still manage to find reasons to smile, I hope. And maybe, just maybe, those gifts under the tree will help us laugh about an unforgettable year.