For many people, much of the joy of the festive period comes from hugging: the ultimate expression of human connection and solidarity. Huddling up over a pint at the pub on Christmas Eve, curling up in front of the fire while watching our favourite Christmas rom-com (for the 100th time) or big bear hugs after unwrapping gifts to each other – usually, physical contact is routine at this time of year. This is the focal point of “We Will Hug Again”, Zalando’s new holiday campaign and accompanying film, set to Frank Ocean’s heartwarming track “Godspeed”. It’s full of hope and warmth for a future when we can all physically connect once again.
The benefits of hugging are abundant: it boosts our happiness, eases stress, relieves pain, bolsters our immune system, helps us sleep better, makes us feel closer to others (causing the release of oxytocin aka the “love hormone”) and more. After a challenging year of uncertainty and separation, social distancing has meant we’ve missed out on these benefits, too.
We might be unable to have all of our closest pals over for ‘friendsmas’ dinner, throw big family parties or embrace many of our loved ones after another month of lockdown but we can still show them how much we care – they just won’t be able to give us a thank you hug afterwards.
We will embrace each other again but in the meantime, click through for some alternative ways to feel close to others as we round off an unforgettable year, when human connection feels more important than ever.Thoughtful gifting
With restrictions and social distancing making IRL shopping trips more complicated than usual, online shopping is the most convenient way to go this year. Pour yourself a cuppa (or a glass of wine) and get browsing. Zalando, Europe’s leading online fashion and lifestyle platform, has an extensive array of luxe loungewear, festive jumpers, workout kit and cold-weather gear – all bound to be appreciated right now – if you have the money to spare.
It’s a vital time for independent businesses, too, so get down to your high street (if you can) or order online from local companies, Black-owned businesses and market traders. For shop inspiration, browse community pages for your area on social media, use hashtags for your area or try hyperlocal social networking platforms. Vintage clothes and homeware are also a great option for one-of-a-kind, sustainable gifts.
Vivienne Westwood Broken Earrings, $, available at Zalando
Ted Baker Frannca Bow Detail Glove, $, available at Zalando
Ted Baker BOW Watch, $, available at ZalandoGet crafty
For those who’ve tightened their purse strings this year (us included), DIY gifts are not only an economical option but also more personal and a fun way to spend an evening in lockdown.
Dig out your art supplies and tell your loved ones how much you’ve missed them this year with a handwritten letter or card. Let them know that you can’t wait to be reunited. Make them something small enough to post in the same envelope: an incense holder, coasters, earrings, scrunchie or even those twirly candles that sit atop every blogger’s mantelpiece right now.
If you don’t mind spending more on delivery, send them something bigger, perhaps born out of one of your lockdown hobbies: some baked goods (but spare them yet another sourdough or banana bread), a plant you’ve potted yourself or a hand-knitted hat or scarf (there’s always Zalando’s stellar knitwear selection if it doesn’t quite go to plan). It’s a cliché but it really is the thought that counts.
Curate a digital experience
IRL meet-ups may be more difficult this year but virtual drinks parties live on so don your best Christmas jumper or party dress and pour yourself a glass of mulled wine. Show your loved ones you care by giving the old-school mixtape the 2020 treatment. Curate playlists to accompany this year’s virtual festivities and share them with your mates or create them a playlist each and ask them to do the same for you – base them around a theme or mood and make sure you include a mix of old favourites and new, unexpected bangers they’ll be delighted to discover. Use your streaming service of choice.
Alternatively, put together a digital photo album or compilation video of all your adventures and happiest times together. Lord knows it’s fun to reminisce on our lives PC (pre-COVID) and think about how we’ll celebrate once it’s all over.
Victoria Beckham Hand Highland Jumper, $, available at ZalandoGive them something to look forward to
Making future plans may still feel a bit audacious but with a vaccine on the horizon, there’s a little more reason to be hopeful – and dare I say it, excited – about 2021.
Gift cards and vouchers for local restaurants, bars, cinemas, hair and beauty salons or gym classes are a thoughtful way to give friends and family something concrete to look forward to in the new year. Browse online booking platforms for inspiration and to find the best deals in your area. They might even take you with them!Volunteer in your local community
From clapping for the NHS to donating to charities fighting for racial justice, 2020 has highlighted the importance of supporting those who need our help. Ten million UK adults volunteered in their community at the height of the crisis, buying groceries for neighbours, calling up those who live alone, helping out at food banks and more. The cold winter months are a difficult time for many charities and this year has been particularly tough financially due to the virus.
Find local charities and organisations tackling homelessness, poverty, racial and gender inequality, climate change, mental illness and more, through online volunteering platforms. What’s more, as part of its celebration of the power of human connection, Zalando will be helping those who are isolated and lacking connection right now. Together with the Red Cross, they are calling on consumers to pick a favourite picture of a hug memory from their camera roll and share it on social media. By tagging @Zalando and using #WeWillHugAgain, Zalando will donate €5 to the Red Cross, supporting those in need (for full terms and conditions visit their Instagram page). What better way to feel close to your local community than by donating your time to a cause close to your heart?We Will Hug Again
While we can’t wait to try out new ways to feel close to others this Christmas, it can’t be denied that nothing beats a good hug – something that is sadly looking to be off the cards for many this year. However, we know there will be a time when we can hug freely again, which is the hopeful message embodied in “We Will Hug Again”, Zalando’s new holiday campaign and accompanying film.
Shot across Nigeria, Vietnam, Italy, Mexico, Sweden and Germany by four directors, the film celebrates the simple and emotional act of a hug as a global symbol of human connection. In it we see a daughter hugging her elderly father, friends walking arm in arm and couples of all ages, genders and orientations holding each other tight.
Through each scene, the message is clear: although we are living in exceptional circumstances, there’s hope for a bright future when we can hug our loved ones once more.
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Source by www.refinery29.com