Usually when it comes to gift giving on special occasions we tend to not want to give items that people don’t consider special in some way. For example, kids getting some socks for Christmas doesn’t exactly excite most people as opposed to the latest and greatest electronic item. But this year with all the lockdowns and people losing their jobs giving the essentials may actually be the desirable thing to receive.
For example, some people are struggling to pay rent or being unable to afford some basic necessities such as food. As you can imagine, if you were in that situation you would probably value all your friends and family giving you fifty dollars as opposed to some fancy chocolate that is usually on people’s gift giving list. Even things like toilet paper were scarce early on where during that period people valued even that.
I often do actually give people money if I can’t think of anything. As a child, getting money as gifts is what helped me to develop my financial management skills as well. So it could be good in that sense. I would still find it a little strange to say buy people a bag of carrots for a Christmas gift though. Like there I think money would be better.