All posts by Tracey Dowdy

How to Get Your Children to Wear a Mask

By Tracey Dowdy

By now, wearing a mask when we leave the house has become second nature for many of us. We know that wearing a mask is important and can help stop the spread of COVID-19 as it protects the vulnerable. And with the U.S. continuing to report record numbers of coronavirus casesdespite the vaccine rollout, we’ll all be wearing masks for the foreseeable future. 

While your older children have likely been wearing masks for nearly a year, little ones may be transitioning back to in-person learning and daycares that require one. For some children, this transition is easier than for others. If you’ve ever tried to keep mittens on a toddler or have your preschooler wear a hat for more than 30 seconds, you know what I mean. For children with anxiety, sensory differences, and autism, the challenge can be exponentially greater. They may be particularly sensitive to how the mask feels on their face, head, and ears, and some children may even feel panicked when forced to wear a mask. Some will resist just because “I don’t wanna.”

It may help if you involve the child in the choice of which mask to wear. They may not be interested in a plain blue, disposable mask, but one with Disney characters, superheroes, or a favorite sports team may make them more willing. Let them shop online with you, and choose the style of the mask carefully. Consider over the ears, around the head tie-straps, or even those that attach to a headband with buttons or snaps (check on Etsy). If the mask feels tight, invest in ear savers that put the pressure on the back of the head (like straps for glasses) instead of on the backs of the ears. Having a choice can be empowering and, “It allows them to feel like they have some ownership or control over the process,” says Allison Tappon, a child life specialist with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia — herself a mom of two young kids. 

Practice wearing the mask around the house, even for a few minutes at a time, so your child gets used to the feeling and experience. Modeling good behavior is a technique we all use with our children in other areas, and mask-wearing is no different. If you can find pictures of people they look up to – older cousins, celebrities, athletes – wearing masks, that may help normalize the experience for your child. Remember, “If you act as though the mask is an annoyance or a source of anxiety, your kid will notice. If instead, you emphasize that it’s a simple thing you can all do to help keep others safe, your kid will very likely adopt a similar attitude,” Tappon says.

As a parent, one of the best places to start is to show your child how you wear your mask. Watch for their reaction and comfort level – are they avoiding looking at you or seem upset? Are they acting out, or do they seem distressed? If so, try redirecting them as you would any other time they’re upset. You could also role-play with dolls or action figures and have them make masks for their toys or talk about how superheroes wear them. Explaining that we wear masks to protect others can make them feel like superheroes too. 

If your child is still struggling, try these steps: 

  • Let them touch and hold the mask and don’t forget to praise them for their efforts. “Don’t underestimate the power of positive reinforcement,” says Dr. James Lewis, a pediatrics professor at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University and author of “Making Sense of ADHD.” Reward them with a little treat, create a star chart, or simply use your words to praise them. Small victories are big victories in these situations. 
  • Have them touch the mask to their face without putting it on. Make it a game by saying, “Touch your nose with the mask! Now touch your ears! Touch mommy’s nose with your mask!” and so on. Again, the goal is to take any anxiety out of mask-wearing, so keeping things light takes away some of the fear factor. 
  • Once they’re comfortable with steps one and two, have them put the mask on, even if it’s just for a few moments. Build up to wearing it for more extended periods. You can use a timer to make it more of a challenge-like game. As always, praise and reward positive results and be kind and compassionate if progress is slow. 
  • At this point, have them practice wearing their mask for more extended periods around the house. Have them wear it while they play with toys, a video game, or watch a movie.
  • Remember, they may need breaks, so be mindful of their emotional state and when they’ve had enough. Help them use their words or come up with a hand signal to indicate when they’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed. 

 Wearing a mask is hard even for many adults, so it’s no wonder it can be difficult for our children. As the parent, you know what works best for your child, so pick and choose what tips will work for them. If they have special needs, talk to your child’s therapists and healthcare providers for advice on how best to help them adjust. 

Licensed psychologists developed these tools at the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Set Your Child Up for Success in 2021

By Tracey Dowdy

By now, “2020 was a year like no other” may be the most overused phrase in recent history, becoming the written equivalent of saying “like” in every sentence. Millions of American children haven’t been in a classroom or on a playdate since last March, some have lost loved ones, had quarantine birthdays, learned to live with uncertainty and disappointment, and the knowledge they’ll be among the last to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Still, they’ve shown resiliency and courage through it all. Our children have adapted to virtual schooling with varying degrees of success, submitted to wearing a mask better than some adults, and figured out creative ways to connect with family and friends via technology. 

With so many of the challenges of 2020 still lingering in 2021, here are some ways to help your kids charge into the new year with confidence, courage, and a cheerful heart. 

Lead by example. If you frequently complain about what a dumpster fire of a year this has been, your children will adopt that attitude as well. Be careful about projecting your struggles on to your kids, which is easier said than done at a time when parental burnout is at an all-time high. There’s no question whether or not we’ve all struggled but focus on the victories, not the losses. You don’t need to pretend everything’s okay – your children aren’t blind to what’s happening – but by teaching them to find the good in every situation, you’re not just helping them get through today; you’re setting them up to be leaders and culture changers whatever their future holds. 

Don’t stress over bad habits. I’ve heard so many parents lament the amount of screen time their kids are subjected to through virtual schooling or simply as a way to pass the time when playdates are out of the question. Others are concerned they’ll never get back on a schedule after sleeping till five minutes before their Zoom class starts or ever be able to hold a face to face conversation again. Julie Ross, executive director of Parenting Horizons and author of “Practical Parenting for the 21st Century,” says, “Many of the habits that children are developing now that their parents are ‘worried’ about are ones that serve them well in this bubble we’re living in. What concerns me, to tell you the truth, is that because parents are worried, they’re putting pressure on to their kids and not acknowledging how resourceful they are being.”

Instead, ask yourself whether your child is eating and sleeping well, getting some exercise, still spending time with family and whether they’re pretty much on top of their schoolwork. If the answer is yes to most – doesn’t have to be all – of these questions, don’t stress about what’s helping them cope now – like excess screen time. 

Offer concrete praise. While empty praise does little other than guarantee your child will one day be among the first round of contestants on a reality show they’ll later regret, recognition for actual accomplishments, big or small, is life-giving. Recognize when they push through a challenging class or assignment, finish their chores, or show kindness to a sibling. “Acknowledgement is specific, and acknowledgment is not overblown,” Ross says. 

Be intentional about downtime together. While many parents and children have spent more time together over the past 12 months than they ever have before, much of that time has been structured or in some way instructional. Claire Nicogossian, a clinical psychologist and author of “Mama, You Are Enough: How to Create Calm, Joy and Confidence Within the Chaos of Motherhood,” suggests taking stock of how much time you spent together throughout the day, then adding a few minutes for relaxing and reconnecting. “This is not to make you feel more guilty, but give you perspective. Often, we as parents spend so much time in the supporting roles of parenting, we lose out on the fun, quality-time moments.”

Finally, although self-care may seem as out of reach as getting back into your pre-quarantine jeans, find ways to take care of your mental health. You can’t pour from an empty bucket, so ignore the laundry so you can take a bath after the kids are in bed, treat yourself to an overpriced coffee on your grocery run, disconnect from social media, or go for a run before everyone is up. If you’re overwhelmed and can’t seem to catch your breath, reach out to friends and family, and ask for help. 

While we can’t make COVID go away and get things back to normal tomorrow, we can take steps to ensure we all get there eventually. Give your children and yourself grace. Remember, you’re your own worst critic – unless you have toddlers who are brutal and give savage performance reviews. I promise you’re doing a great job, sweetie. 

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

 

Talking to Your Kids About the Events at the Capitol

By Tracey Dowdy

Regardless of where on the political spectrum you fall, I think we can all agree that the events in Washington D.C. yesterday may be disturbing to our children. Seeing or hearing about a mob of violent protesters storming the U.S. Capitol Building coupled with the stress of a global pandemic and the challenges it has created for families may generate fears and questions you’re unsure how to address. It’s perfectly normal for children to have difficulty processing these events – it’s difficult for us as adults. 

Honesty is crucial. Don’t be tempted to gloss over or lie about what has occurred. Deception leads to distrust, and your children need to know that above all else, they are safe with you. Cassidy O’Brien, a family therapist at San Diego Kids First says, “Parents are often tempted to lie as a first response, because they don’t want their child to worry or that they shouldn’t be burdened with this, and that’s a bad approach. It’s bad to overwhelm children with too much information, but you can tell them the truth in simple ways and use their questions to guide you on how much to share.” 

Remind your children that as a parent, your primary job is to protect them and that you will always look out for them. Validate their feelings by sharing your own. Let them know you too were unsettled by yesterday’s events but that these feelings are normal. 

Open the conversation by asking them what they’ve heard. Though your children may not have sat down to watch the news with you, there’s every possibility they’ve overheard your conversation or heard about it from classmates or older siblings. Be calm, approachable, and open-minded. And because you’re trying to frame the discussion by considering their maturity level and what information they may have, let them take the lead. Clear up misconceptions or misinformation, and if you don’t know the answer, simply say, “That’s a good question. Let’s figure it out together.” Refer to Common Sense Media’s list of age-based news resources for kids that puts current events in language and context that is appropriate for them. 

Because children’s lives are rule-based and directed at learning what’s right and wrong, seeing adults behave as we observed yesterday might be confusing for your children. Part of becoming a mature adult is learning how to manage our emotions – the good ones and the bad ones. Explain that sometimes adults have feelings that they allow to spin out of control, and when that happens, bad things can happen, and poor choices are made. Remind them that good people sometimes make bad choices, and who we choose to associate with can get us into trouble as well. This is an excellent time to discuss accountability for one’s actions and the consequences of breaking the law. Do try to avoid editorializing unless your children are old enough to have a more in-depth discussion. Your goal is to inform and reassure, not persuade and recruit. 

Be aware some children are reluctant to acknowledge negative emotions. “A lot of kids are growing up thinking anxiety, anger, sadness are bad emotions,” says Stephanie Samar, PsyD, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. But naming and accepting these emotions is “a foundation to problem-solving how to manage them. For younger children, describing your own feelings and modeling how you manage them is useful. They hear you strategizing about your own feelings, when you’re nervous or frustrated, and how you’re going to handle it, and they can use these words,” she says. Beyond conversation, help them identify events or conversations that spike their anxiety. Be mindful of what you say in front of them and be vigilant about what they see online. “It’s not keeping it from them but making sure you’re part of it,” Cassidy O’Brien, a family therapist at San Diego Kids First says. “That way, you can keep control of the conversation and be aware of what they’re getting.” 

Finally, remember this isn’t a one and done conversation. 2020 was a year that seemingly moved from one disaster to the next. Your child’s emotions may already be running high, so stay in tune with changes in mood and behavior and be willing to unpack current events and their impact on your children again and again. If you feel their struggle is more than you can manage together, reach out, and have them talk to a trained child therapist. Their mental health is no less important than physical health. If you’re not sure where to begin, Psychology Today allows you to search for a therapist or psychiatrist in your area, and Mental Health America has resources to ensure both you and your child can move forward unafraid. 

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

How and Where to Recycle Cell Phones and Laptops

Suppose you’re one of the millions of Americans who purchased or were gifted electronics over the holidays. In that case, you may be wondering how to best dispose of or recycle your old devices. We all have a drawer crammed with old phones, chargers, cables to a VCR you haven’t used in years, and accessories for devices you stopped using years ago. 

There’s a right way and a wrong way – well, many wrong ways – to dispose of electronics. Before we get into that, let me remind you to ensure you’ve wiped the device of any personal information before you toss it. All it takes is a charger for a bad actor to access any data you’ve left on your device before disposing of it. The best way is to back everything up then do a factory reset. 

The EPA has a list of Certified Electronics Recyclers to ensure the site you’ve chosen is reputable and not going to dump your device in a landfill. 

Did you know batteries fall into the same category as used electronics? Don’t throw them in the trash once they’re spent. Instead, collect them in an old shoebox or another container, then take them to Best Buy, Whole FoodsHome DepotLowes, or Staples, each of whom has free drop-off spots for dead batteries. Earth 911 is an eco-friendly resource for recycling, and they will help you locate the nearest recycling location based on the type of battery you need to dispose of (e.g., alkaline, lithium, zinc-air).

Old cell phones – depending on how old – can often be traded in against a new device’s price. If it’s too outdated, wipe it, then choose from one of these options:

  • Best Buy accepts three phones per household per day,
  • Lowes has recyclables collection centers at stores across the U.S.
  • Staples accepts mobile phones along with many other electronics.  
  • Home Depot accepts phones up to 11 pounds.
  • Whole Foods, Navy Federal Credit Union, and ShopRite partner with Secure the Call to get 911 emergency-only phones to senior citizens and individuals in domestic violence shelters. Check local listings for participating stores or send your phone directly to Secure the Call
  • Cell Phones for Soldiers accepts used phones enabling troops to call their families at home for free.

When it comes to laptops, there several options. Earth911 allows you to search for “laptop computer,” enter your ZIP code, and it will pull up a list of the nearest drop off-sites. If the device is older or broken, Dell’s Goodwill Reconnect Program is a good option. If it’s less than five years old, there’s a good chance someone can use it. Many local nonprofits and libraries accept used laptops after refurbishing; just remember to bring the software and accessories that came with them (charger, mouse, printer).  

Happy recycling! 

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Have Your New Year’s Eve Spirits Delivered

By Tracey Dowdy

Just because, like most Americans, you’ll be all dressed up – and by dressed up, I mean a clean t-shirt and yoga pants – with no place to go on New Year’s Eve doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate at home. A global pandemic that brought quarantining, lockdowns, and masked shopping, meant that alcohol delivery became very much a thing in 2020. In fact, Drizly, an online beverage alcohol delivery service, has seen their business more than triple since 2019.

So, whether you’re stocking up for New Year’s or a long winter, here a few of the best online liquor delivery options to consider. 

Remember, even though you’re staying home, the same rules apply – drink in moderation and NEVER drink and drive. 

Drizly partnered with over 2,200 retailers across North America to send beer, wine, liquor, and even snacks to your door. Available in 26 states and DC. Simply add your selections to your cart, then choose which store you want to fulfill the order in your area. You’ll see your estimated delivery time, minimums, and fees. You may be able to get your order delivered in under an hour through contactless delivery (though Drizly warns holiday demand may impact delivery times) or schedule a delivery for a later date. As with other delivery services, you can tip your driver

Total Wine has a broad selection of liquor, beer, and wine, and like Drizly, offers same-day alcohol and snack delivery. They have stores across 19 states and offer delivery as well as curbside and in-store pickup. Their inventory is massive, with selections as low as $3 running into more expensive and exclusive wines, craft beer, and spirits. 

Minibar is available in 19 states and DC and promises to deliver beer and liquor to your door in under an hour. If you’re not in a hurry, it offers statewide shipping within three to five days and an in-store pickup option at your local liquor store, making it ideal if you’re looking for an item out of stock locally. The site is streamlined, making it easy to filter your choices by type of alcohol, store, country, size, container, and price point.

Wine.com promises the world’s largest wine selection and will ship directly to you or your local Walgreens or FedEx. If you sign up for the StewardShip program – a one-year subscription is $49 – you get free shipping all year. They also offer Picked, an online wine club with wines hand-picked by experts just for you.

If you’re looking at delivery on an ongoing basis, consider Winc, a wine-of-the-month club, and wine subscription service. Members take a short quiz with questions like “How do you drink your coffee” to refine your preferences and offer recommendations that will match. You can search for specific varietals or wines, and if you choose four bottles, you get free shipping. 

Bottles start at $13 each. Shipping typically takes 3-7 business days depending on your distance from their fulfillment center, but again, there may be delays due to holiday demand.

*Alcohol delivery laws vary by state, so not every service is available everywhere.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Tips for Leading Online Meetings

Online meetings became the new normal months ago but based on personal, or perhaps professional, opinion, some of you are still struggling to make them work. There’s a lot to remember – when to mute and unmute yourself, choosing a background and decent lighting, and even deciding how to exit a meeting. Since we’re headed into 2021 with many still working from home, this guide will help you improve your game. 

If you’re task-driven, working from home without the distraction of phones ringing and coworkers randomly swinging by your desk to chat may be your idea of heaven. If, on the other hand, you enjoy working as a team, you may miss the camaraderie of onsite work. To balance this, some offices have created a “virtual water cooler.” It can be as structured as a specific time and place or as informal as a virtual happy hour. The idea is to connect your team and make them comfortable with one another. A study from the University of Texas at Arlington discovered that individuals who shared a funny or embarrassing story about themselves with their coworkers produced 26% more ideas in brainstorming sessions than workers who didn’t.

While some may be eager to kick things off and power through the agenda, if you’re trying to maintain a team rather than a group of standalone employees, make time for casual conversation. Have everyone sign in a few minutes early to allow your team to catch up and interact informally before you switch to business-mode. This encourages engagement, strengthens culture, and deepens your relationship with your team.

If you’re the boss or tasked with running the meeting, start by asking how many people need to attend. Meetings that could have been an email are the bane of the workplace, and including unnecessary attendees bogs down the agenda and leads to team disengagement. 

Next, choose the right platform. Not all software is created equal, so check out this breakdown on TechRadar comparing options like Zoom, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, ClickMeeting, and Skype. Ask questions like, “Do I need to the team’s faces as we work through this HR issue?” If so, Zoom maybe your best option. If you need your team to share screens to edit this document collaboratively, Google Docs is a solid option. If you need to watch this presentation together in real-time, choose a platform that allows screen sharing. 

Disorganization is a shortcut to frustration and disengagement, so it’s important to clarify details like the dress code, time – especially if you’re working across time zones – and the agenda for your meeting. Email attendees any key talking points, a timeline for the meeting, who will attend, each team member’s responsibilities for the meeting, and a list of relevant documents, files, or research they need to have on-hand. “You want to make sure that everyone enters [into the meeting] with clear guidelines of expectations and knowing what [everyone is] going to be doing and how to manage the virtual space,” says Bryant Galindo, the co-founder, and CEO of CollabsHQ. You’ll also want to include details like whether or not everyone speaks freely or will the team lead unmute mics when it’s that person’s turn to speak? Do all team members need to be on camera at all times or just the current speaker?

As the meeting ends, each team member needs a clear objective or action step. Closing the meeting is less about, “We’re done,” and more, “Get started.” Task each team member with their deliverables and next steps, the due date, who is responsible for follow up, and assign the date for the next meeting. 

Finally, as a host, it’s important to get team feedback from your team on how they felt the meeting went. You choose one on one conversation or an anonymous feedback survey via sites like Google Docs or SurveyLegend. Online meetings are a staple and making them streamlined, inclusive, and effective is the key to ongoing engagement and success. 

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

 

 

Fun, Indoor Activities for Kids 

By Tracey Dowdy

Now that the colder weather is here, it’s even more challenging to keep our littles entertained or help them to find creative – screen-free – ways to entertain themselves. Encouraging their creativity and imagination is more than a way to keep them busy for a few minutes. Creative thinking develops problem-solving skills, spurs innovation, promotes taking initiative, and spans careers and vocations. It’s a life long skill that will carry them far. 

Here are a few ideas for inspiration the next time you hear, “I’m bored!”

Build a blanket fort. I know, I know, it makes a mess and you’re the one who has to fold all those dang blankets when they’re done, but help your kids to see it’s not just a bunch of blankets. It’s a tree fort, a spaceship, a cave, or even another planet. Not only that, they make great places to curl up with a good book, protect Lego creations from pesky little siblings, or sketch in peace. 

Paint a picture. Again, I KNOW that it can get messy, but the fact that it’s a rare treat to paint means your littles will be very excited and more likely to be engaged for more than five minutes. 

Create a time capsule. 2020 has been a wild ride, so have them collect things or make a list of the things that they loved most, absolutely hated, and what made them happy over the past year. Have them include their favorite TV shows, movies, books, games, or even their favorite outfit. No need to bury in the backyard unless you want to – it’s just as much fun to tuck it into the back of a closet or top-shelf. Pull it out this time next year and reminisce over all that happened. 

Have them learn a TikTok dance or choreograph one of their own. Not only does it spark creativity, but they’re also getting a little exercise in and getting out some of that restless energy. 

Have them put on a play or shoot a movie. Have them write their own script or act out a favorite book. They could write a sequel to a favorite story or write an origin story for a favorite character. They can shoot the movie on a phone, tablet, or iPad and both Apple and Android have simple video editing software. 

Play with your food. Cook together, do a blind taste test, and see if they can guess the food or flavor – highly recommend parental supervision on that one – or make pictures or necklaces with pasta like you did in elementary school. 

Plant some seeds. You don’t need fancy gardening supplies or even a packet of seeds. Teach your kids how to grow herbs, fruits, and vegetables from the produce you buy at the supermarket. All you need is inexpensive potting soil and an egg carton, and the scraps from plants like peppers, onions, celery, mint, dill, or even potatoes and pineapples. This is also a lesson in patience and responsibility as they tend and watch their plants grow and mature over the next several weeks.

Go old school. Break out the board games you used to play as a child – Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, Scrabble, Clue, Pretty Pretty Princess, Twister, Battleship, Candyland…or, find a new favorite like Cataan Jr, Feed the Woozle, or Wild Kratts Race Around the World. Or, skip board games and play hide and seek, tic tac toe, or monkey in the middle with a Nerf or other soft ball. 

Let them “redecorate” their room. I’m not suggesting you hand over your credit card and set them loose on Pottery Barn’s website, but moving their bed or desk to a different wall, or changing up the art work on the walls can make the space feel fresh and new. Have them cut out snowflakes and tape them to their windows or hang them from the ceiling. Or, give them a stack of magazines and let their inner designer come out as they cut out pictures of their dream house. 

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Best Holiday Gifts for Dads

By Tracey Dowdy

Dad’s are notoriously hard to buy for. By this point in working-from-home he’s definitely got a favorite coffee mug, and who needs a new tie when he’s not leaving the house? 

These gift suggestions are practical, come in at several price points, and work for just about every personality and interest.

If dad is a NASCAR fan, he’ll love the chance to get behind the wheel and drive a NASCAR Race Car for timed racing sessions on any of the Nation’s Premier Speedways. Dad will meet with the crew chief, get training and instruction, get behind the wheel, make pit stops, and choose from 5 to 48 minutes of Track Time. Packages start as low as $99 for a ride-along and increase depending on drive time and the track chosen. 

Balancing social distancing, the colder weather in many parts of the country, and our need to see friends and family, can be challenging. That makes outdoor experience gifts a great option this year. Fire pitsoutdoor experiences like hiking, snowshoe tours, or backyard accessories like outdoor heaters and blankets can make getting together safely possible.

If dad is more of a foodie, consider a MasterClass so they can learn to make Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant recipes at home or how to make Texas Barbecue from Aaron Franklin, one of the most influential pitmasters in the country. 

If he’s missing that posh morning coffee from his commute, a coffee subscription, a french press, coffee stencils for perfect foam art, or a Cold Brew Coffee Maker can make dad the family barista. Consider it a gift for the whole family! 

For dads who are golf obsessed, Golf Digest has a fantastic list of options for the dad who already has everything. The list includes stylish golf shirts and shoes, a top-rated mask for sport, and if you really want to go all-in, a $15,430 Southern Tide Sirius golf cart that comes with JBL speakers and custom embroidery and finishes.

Consider clothing subscription boxes like Frank and OakStitch Fix, or Trunk Club for the sartorialist. LuminScentbird, and Birchbox Man will meet all their skincare and fragrance needs, and a subscription to FlaviarButcher BoxGrill Master’s Club, or Murray’s Cheese is sure to impress. 

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.