The year 2020 has been a lot, to put things lightly.
But being thrown completely out of our comfort zones, experiencing loss, and realizing that being healthy is a gift all in itself has given many of us a whole new perspective on life — Jessica Alba included.
"What this pandemic has revealed more than anything, is that it's gotten us all connected to what really matters, and certainly being appreciative of things you never really saw before," she tells me over Zoom. "It will be interesting to see, as everyone gets the vaccine and we start operating with more freedom to move around the world, what we hold on to from this time. And what is going to be a permanent change in our behavior."
A few people the actress and businesswoman is more grateful for than ever? Teachers, as well as other essential workers.
"Someone actually has to be in a field to pick that food, then it needs to get to you, however it gets to you," she says. "I don't think we had that connection or that human aspect of every person that needs to be involved just for us to survive. They're things we just expected."
This new perspective is also why Alba is mainly focused on giving to those who need it most this holiday season, while also pampering her loved ones.
The Alba-Warren family would typically volunteer at various soup kitchens and homeless shelters every year come December. The mother-of-three has also donated over 18.4 million diapers and 2.2 million personal care products since 2012 to those in need through Honest and she doesn't plan to slow down any time soon. But with the coronavirus still running rampant, the family is opting to donate money to shelters to buy food this year instead, along with other essential supplies, in order to keep everyone safe.
"There are so many people who can't even get food on a regular basis, not to mention wipes and diapers and everything else," she says, adding that despite her donations, she's still longing to be able to give back in-person again. "I do like the human connection of being able to see people and share and connect with them personally, so I'm going to miss that."
When it comes to her close family and friends, Alba shares that since she loves to spoil her girlfriends, she usually curates a gift box of her favorite things she think they'll love. And while she won't be breaking with tradition this year, she will be doing drop-offs instead of having people over.
Included in this year's round-up is the Aira Ionic Facial Steamer, Ariana Ost Crystal Grid Flower Of Life Ornament, McBride Sisters SHE CAN California Rosé Wine 4-Pack, Olive & June's The Mani System, Cuyana Leather Yoga Mat Strap, as well as a Reusable Magic Silicone Sheet Mask and Truly Calming Bubble Bath, both from Honest.
To shop: $100; vanityplanet.com
To shop: $65; arianaost.com
To shop: $24; mcbridesisters.com
To shop: $80; oliveandjune.com
To shop: $85; cuyana.com
To shop: $15; honest.com
To shop: $12; target.com
If you're stuck when it comes to what to give your own closest friends and family, the star suggests going for Honest's Dew + Glow Kit, or Honestly Bright Eyes Tinted Eye Cream, both of which she says will help you to look more awake. Something we honestly all need right now.
As for what Alba will be gifting her kids, well, mama tells the story best.
"You know they're funny. Haven, she wants a dog, which she's not getting, it's so stressful," she laughs. "But the other thing she wants is like spicy ramen and little squishy animals and Japanese candies. Hazie [Hayes] is into cars and rocks and balls. Honor wants a spam [social media] account, and I was like, 'No!'"
Her husband, Cash Warren, on the other hand, will be getting the most practical present of all.
"He has worked out more than he ever has and has like abs now," Alba shares. "I'm like, 'What happened to your dad body?! It went away.' He's really, really muscular and really watching those YouTubers and following along, so none of his pants fit — not even his skinny jeans. So he's going to be getting some pants that actually fit him."
When it comes to what Alba would love to be gifted from her family, she doesn't really want much at all. Just the basics, like for her husband to plan "one date night a month, if not two," and for her kids to stop fighting when she asks them to stop.
VIDEO: Jessica Alba on the Difference Between Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting
Seeing as Alba has spent the majority of the year at home with her family, she's thankful 2020 has brought her closer to the people she loves most. "I think we just got tighter as a family unit," she shares. And she's had a ball learning and performing TikTok dances with her kids — although she thinks Gen Z could generally take some pointers when it comes to their moves.
"The quality of dances are different," she tells me as we laugh and reminisce over the early 2000s, the days of TRL music video premieres, and all the heavily choreographed movies that came out during that era, including Honey. "[The dances now are] uncoordinated, it is awkward, and there's no stank. It's all like drill team moves. So I told my girls, 'You can do these dances, but you've gotta put your back into it — or I've taught you nothing.'"
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