It’s easy to get caught up in the madness of the holiday season. Between busy work schedules, holiday parties, gift shopping, and seemingly endless cooking and baking, finding time to relax and celebrate with loved ones can be difficult—even when everybody lives nearby. If you’re separated by distance and can’t travel to be together, the holidays might seem downright lonely. But don’t worry; there are plenty of ways to stay connected across the miles. Whether relying on modern technology or going the old-school route, here are some tips for staying in touch with those you can’t see in person this holiday season.

Postcards & Letters

Handwritten cards and letters add a personalized touch to communication — and who doesn’t enjoy receiving mail from actual loved ones instead of generic flyers and credit card offers? You can keep it simple by jotting down a line or two wishing your recipient a happy holiday, or go all-out with an old-fashioned family newsletter. Be as creative as you wish, and have fun! 

Phone Calls

Yes, Virginia—there is another use for your phone besides texting. Nothing is more personal than picking up your phone and having an actual conversation with somebody you care about. Written (or typed) words often lack emotion and can be misconstrued, but there is no disguising the joy in your voice…and the verbal interaction spawned by a phone call is liable to take you in directions you might never have expected. 

Facebook Messenger Kids & Video Chats

Video calls take things a step farther by letting you see faces while chatting. Facebook’s Messenger Kids is a video calling and messaging app that lets kids connect with family and friends from their smartphones or tablets for group or one-on-one calls. Parents must approve all contacts, so it’s a safe and fun way for kids to stay in touch! Don’t have Facebook? Platforms such as FaceTime and Skype are popular options for video chats, too. 

Sunshine Packages

Sunshine packages (also referred to as “little boxes of sunshine”) are a great way to brighten somebody’s day. Surprise a loved one with a custom-made care package filled with their favorite treats and other items they enjoy. The creative possibilities are endless; you might include fresh-baked holiday cookies, packaged snacks, candy, small toys, gift cards, candles, lotions, bath bombs, succulents, and more. Your package can be uniquely customized to bring a smile to anybody’s face, young or old. 

Future Group Activity

Just because you can’t be together over the holidays doesn’t mean you won’t be able to enjoy a fun activity together during a less-busy time of year. Plan ahead by sending a gift for an activity the whole family can enjoy in the future, perhaps a shared vacation (book a cabin in the woods or a cruise) or a less-extravagant but still fun outing, such as pottery or painting classes, a snowshoe trek or even dinner out at a fancy restaurant. 

With a little creativity and minimal effort, you can easily bridge the distance gap and remain connected to friends and loved ones regardless of where you live. 

Season’s greetings…literally!

WORDS: MARK PETRUSKA