Creating a favor kit stocked with COVID-19 must-haves, from masks to hand sanitizer, is a thoughtful touch if you're hosting a handful of guests this season.

By Blythe Copeland
November 24, 2020
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Credit: Getty / Cavan Images

Hosting a smaller-than-usual holiday gathering frees up time (and money) for extra-special touches you might not have been able to organize in past years—and there's no better favor for 2020 than individual wellness baskets. They're beneficial from a health perspective, says Dr. Stephen Kissler of the Harvard School of Public Health: "This is classic public health prevention stuff," he says. "Empowering people to prevent illness in themselves and from spreading it to others is great. It's exactly what we should be doing—and I think wellness baskets are a really good approach to that."

And when stocked with handy essentials and wrapped in festive packaging, wellness baskets make your guests not just healthy, but happy, too. "Guests will immediately feel special on an individual level and will remember your party for months and even years to come," says Jamie Kutchman Wynne, founder and CEO of custom gift box curators Marigold and Grey. "2020 hasn't been the kindest and so it's more important than ever to let people know that they matter to you. This one simple gesture of thoughtfulness will go a long way and could be just the expression of kindness and generosity they need for their spirits to be lifted." Ahead, several essentials to include in your kits.

Hand Sanitizer

A pocket-sized hand sanitizer is one of the most important items you can include, says Dr. Kissler, since it will enable guests to clean their hands before and after using shared surfaces, like light switches and doorknobs; touching their face; or blowing their nose. Wynne recommends choosing a product in a pretty bottle: "Instead of including your run-of-the-mill, generic drugstore brand, we'd opt for small batch, artisan brands with beautiful packaging," she says; just double-check that the sanitizer you choose contains at least 60-percent alcohol to fall in line with CDC guidelines.

Fun Masks

Most of your guests probably have piles of face masks at home, but handing out matching versions in your party's color scheme or custom face coverings referencing your family's oldest inside jokes makes masking up a little more cheerful. "You could mix it up by including masks made of fabric in fun, festive holiday patterns or even masks made of a special materials like silk or satin that guests may not think to buy for themselves, but would be over-the-moon excited to receive—and be able to use even after your party is over," says Wynne. Dr. Kissler also recommends a celebratory option: "Turkeys, Christmas trees, whatever you might imagine," he says. "Choose something that encourages people to wear it, and makes it kind of fun. It's not just providing the thing itself, but making sure people will use it."

Personal Disinfectant Wipes

You shouldn't expect your guests to wipe every doorknob or light switch they touch, says Dr. Kissler—as host, you should wipe frequently-touched surfaces down several times during the party—but a small package of disinfectant wipes they can keep in a commuting backpack or purse is a memento that will come in handy later. "We also love the idea of including electronic cleansing wipes for guests to keep their cell phones and other devices clean and germ-free," says Wynne. "These wipes now come in fashionable prints and are great for stashing in purses, glove compartments, and briefcases."

Individual Drinkware and Snacks

Serve-yourself barware and family-style food service—which encourage all of your guests to touch the same bottles and utensils—provide prime spots for viruses to spread. Offer each guest his or her own monogrammed cup, recommends Dr. Kissler, to avoid any accidental sharing, and, says Wynne, package small bags of treats to replace bowls of nuts or candy. "As things move towards individual portions rather than sharing, it could be fun to include individually packaged snack-size bags of sweet or savory treats inside the overall gift for guests to eat as they mix and mingle—from six feet apart, of course!" she says.

Festive (and Safe) Packaging

Wynne recommends gable boxes for packaging these favors, since they're easy to customize—and safely display. "Gable boxes are COVID-friendly because they have their own handle, so guests can easily just grab the handle of their own box without having to touch any other gifts to get to their own," she says. Decorate them with extra-wide ribbon—an elegant upgrade over standard one-inch spools; custom tags designed just for your party; dried orange slices or cinnamon sticks secured in the bow; and calligraphed name tags. "There is something really special about guests not only discovering that they get a gift, but also then realizing that you thought enough of them to have their name included," says Wynne. "It's a simple thing but goes a long way to making them feel like VIPs."

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