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Gifts for friends in isolation: 6 thoughtful birthday presents to send in lockdown

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Megan Murray
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Cut down on postal admin and try one of these gift ideas which can be sent directly to a friend in lockdown

It’s your friend’s birthday but thanks to lockdown you won’t be able to spoil them in person – boo. So, what can you do to make them feel special? 

We know how rubbish it is having your birthday when you’re locked inside without your friends and family to make a fuss of you (three of the Stylist team have been caught in this position already), but there are ways to get something directly to your friends who are due to close another year in self-isolation. 

And ‘directly’ is the important word here, because with Royal Mail under extreme pressure and many delivery services cutting down on staff, it can take a lot of forward planning to pick something out, have it sent to you to wrap and include a card, and then post on to your friend. Frankly, it’s an amount of forward planning that many of us would fall short on.

So, here we’ve gathered some ideas on beautiful, thoughtful and personal presents you can buy online to mark their special day. From flowers and wine to boxes full of personalised treats, these are the gifts we think they’ll love.

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  • Book subscription

    What could be more powerful than giving the gift of knowledge to a friend on their birthday? You can get most subscriptions in either one off orders or in a package of three, six or twelve months, and they’ll be delivered ready-made to your friend’s house without you having to do anything. 

    Not only is this a lovely idea for a friend who’s a bit of a bookworm, it’s an opportunity to highlight authors that don’t always get the attention they deserve. We’ve rounded up the best feminist book subscription boxes, for example, which shine a light specifically on female authors.

    Plus, many book subscription boxes also include other little gifts like edible treats, enamel pins or herbal teas. 

    Shop subscription box at Books That Matter, from £17

  • Flowers

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    We appreciate this isn’t ground-breaking, but it is a classic. Flowers are such a gorgeous gift to send to someone’s door because they don’t need to be wrapped beforehand and most come with the option to write a personalised note. 

    Plus, because everyone is at home all day at the moment, you can be sure your bouquet delivery won’t be missed. However, if you want to make absolute sure, you can still opt for letterbox flowers from brands like Bloom & Wild, who will ensure that they get to your friend safely. 

    Shop letterbox flowers at Bloom & Wild, from £23

  • Personalised stationery

    We’re big stationery fans so we might be biased, but isn’t there something wonderful about getting your own personalised writing set or a notebook with your name on? Papier is the master of this, offering a range of hard and softback notebooks, photo albums, notecards, letter writing paper and more, all of which can be personalised. 

    They also work with hundreds of artists and brands such as Matilda Goad, Disney and Desmond & Dempsey so you’re bound to find something your friend will love. But the reason this gift works particularly well for lockdown birthdays is that there is a gift box option. Your stationery will be wrapped in white tissue paper, have a cute sticker attached to it, and a personalised note to your friend included.

    Shop notecards at Papier, from £17

  • Personalised biscuits

    Biscuiteers creates some of the most beautiful and creative treats to dunk in your tea that we’ve ever seen. Their expert icers are capable of designs in almost any theme – from animals to skiing – many of which can be personalised with a message or name of your choice. 

    They also have a birthday range, featuring birthday cake-shaped biscuits which can be edited especially for your friend. Thanks to their letterbox selection you can send a sweet treat through the post and be assured it will get there, or opt for something bigger like a tin of 16.

    Shop birthday biscuits at Biscuiteers, from £11.95

  • Birthday box

    We’ve used subscription boxes as a monthly self-care treat or to keep us on top of new beauty trends and products, but a one-off box makes a great birthday present, too. We particularly like Bookblock for the creative way you can curate something unique for your friend. 

    Pick the pattern of your gift box and everything in it, including options like rose champagne, a pastel notebook, glitter-filled balloons or a trinket dish. There’s loads of choice and all of it feels very on-brand to the millennial, Instagram-friendly aesthetic. 

    Shop birthday box at Bookblock, price dependent on how you curate your box.

  • Wine box

    Wine is a pretty much guaranteed way to get you in a friend’s birthday good books. There’s a big selection of wine delivery services to choose from, but our current favourite is Nosy. 

    From the straight forward service to the pastel packaging, the Nosy Wine Club is a gang we want to be part of. They do the hard part: picking three acclaimed wines to try, you just need to write a personalised gift message. 

    Shop wine box at Nosy Wine Club, from £60

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Images: Book Block / brands

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.