In Life at Home, Tips & Advice

Stay In Touch With Your Loved Ones With These Tips

The holiday season is a time for family, but it can be a difficult time of year when you’re living far from the ones you love. Whether your loved ones live in a different time zone or around the corner, here are seven simple tips to help keep your family close this holiday season.

Make a homemade gift — The personal touch of a homemade gift often says so much more than anything store-bought. Take some extra time with the kids to create personalized homemade gifts for loved ones, such as decorated cookies or a hand-crafted ornament, to let them know you’re thinking of them. Handwritten letters can go just as far, and will really capture grandma’s heart when she sees the effort her darling grandchild put into creating a handwritten card or letter.

Give the Gift of Pictures — A picture really is worth a thousand words, and when your friends or family live far away, a camera is the best way to allow them to see inside the life of your family. Download the Chatbooks app, document your kids’ milestones using your phone and upload the photos to Instagram. With every 60 photos you upload, Chatbooks will send you a beautiful custom photo book for just $8. (Don’t worry, you’ll have a chance to edit the book and remove unwanted photos before it prints.) What a great and simple way to share all your best memories with long-distance family! And even if your family is close by, Chatbooks still make great gifts for grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Pick Up the Phone — It’s not rocket science. Sometimes the best way to stay in touch with your family and friends, whether near or far, is by phone. Forget texting, pick up the phone, dial their number and enjoy a conversation with that one you’re missing this time of year. Choose a time you can pass around the phone so everyone has a moment to connect. Sometimes the sound of your loved one’s voice is just want you need to give you a much needed holiday pick-me-up. With hectic schedules, it’s best to schedule time for a phone date to ensure you aren’t left leaving a voicemail.

Share a Meal — Food is comfort. Sharing a meal or a sweet treat with those you love is a time-tested way to stay connected, whether they live close by or far away. If your family is near, choose a day and set it aside to cook and enjoy a family favorite recipe with each other. Teach the little ones how to bake a batch of your family’s famous holiday cookies. If the distance is too far, remind your loved one time spent together by emailing them a favorite recipe. You will be amazed at how well experiencing nostalgic tastes and smells can help bridge the gap in your heart.

Play Together — Make family games — whether that be a game of flag football, Farkle or corn hole — a part of your holiday festivities. It’s as simple as breaking out a deck of cards, although physically active games that get your blood flowing can give you an energy boost and help burn some of the extra calories you’ve been enjoying. It’s even possible to play games with long-distance family with technology such as video games and popular apps like Pokémon Go. Challenge your faraway family to a virtual game. Want to get physical? Create a family exercise challenge and hold each other accountable via social media, or even through your fitness trackers.

Take a Staycation — This is a great idea for those who need a little time away, but don’t have the funds for a cross-country vacation. Take a tour of your own community or those nearby. Check out shops and restaurants you’ve never tried before; tour a local museum; check the community events calendar for festivals and shows the whole family might enjoy. With technology, it’s easier now than ever to include your long-distance family in the fun. Snap lots of pictures and use the Postino app to create and send a real postcard of your adventure to family and friends.

Get Face to Face — Video chat technology is virtually everywhere these days, making it easier than ever to connect face-to-face with those who aren’t in the same room. Include loved ones in holiday festivities from family meals, to playing games and opening gifts using the video chat app on your phone or computer. If your loved one isn’t so tech-savvy, plan some time before the big event to help them with setup so you can avoid any “technical difficulties” when it really matters.

Nothing beats having the ones you love close during the holidays, but these tips can help you bring them closer, no matter the distance.

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