The pandemic has placed a premium on our personal relationships, taking the shine off consumerism

The huge interest in personalised gifts, particularly considering the recent Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales (the build-up to which has been comparatively quiet vs. recent years), shows that the pandemic has affected how we interact, and the importance we place upon our meaningful relationships. As the pandemic crisis resulted in cancelled weddings, moved birthday celebrations to Zoom and prevented family gatherings, it appears that people are now using personalised gifts as a way to express their love and sentiments towards one another, highlighting the value of our personal connections in a year where the overwhelming majority of us have been unable to spend time with our loved ones.

Rutger Bruining, Founder and CEO of personal biography writing service StoryTerrace, ( is one person who understands the value of a personalised gift more than most. Having founded a company that helps people to write their life stories (or the stories of their loved ones) by connecting them with a professional ghost-writer and printing their biographies in a professionally curated book, Rutger and StoryTerrace have produced over a thousand personal biographies since the company was launched in 2015.

Now, Rutger discusses how the impact of the pandemic has changed our attitudes to gifting, and has helped us to realise how important our personal relationships truly are:

“I for one am extremely happy to see the news that there has been such a drastic increase in demand for personalised gifts, but I can’t say that I’m surprised!

2020 has been a year like no other as the pandemic has completely transformed our daily lives, and it’s fair to say that our personal relationships and opportunity to socialise with those close to us has been heavily affected. In Britain, we have spent the best part of a year in lockdown, which has prevented millions of people from seeing family members, loved ones and close friends for several months. This separation has led many of us to grow isolated and to lose touch with those around us that we care about, but as we head towards Christmas and we search for gifts, many of us will be searching for a way to truly express our gratitude and love for the people we care about, but perhaps have been unable to spend time with. Though the pandemic has of course had a horrific impact on our society, economy, and even many of our livelihoods, it is essential that we look to take some positives from the situation. One of these positives is unquestionably the newfound appreciation that we have developed for our personal relationships, and the value that we are now placing on treating one another with more love, kindness and respect.

At StoryTerrace, we have been working to help people give the personalised gift of a lifetime – a personal biographer! We have written the life stories of over a thousand people so far, and with around 50% of our projects being given as gifts to loved ones, we are looking forward to helping many more people give the most personalised gift of all this Christmas.”

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