Creative Ideas for Long Distance Gift-Giving
If you won’t be able to be with loved ones in person this Christmas season, here are some creative, thoughtful and inexpensive ways to send meaningful gifts — and perhaps start some new holiday traditions with your loved ones.
Simple, yet personal gifts are the most meaningful. I moved away from home after high school and spent a few years serving in the Army. Those were some lonely holidays; long before Skype, text messaging and cell phones. A care package from home full of notes, mementos and photographs always meant the most to me and I have treasured many of them.
Now that I live away from my Mom, siblings and their family, every year I try to come up with special gifts to send to let them know that although we are apart, I took some extra time and care with the gifts and hope that they keep us close in mind until we can be together again.
Here are a few of my favorite ideas for Christmas gifts across the miles. I welcome your creative ideas for long distance gift giving too!
- If you have a special holiday recipe, send a gift of homemade food. Our family has a tradition of drying peppers every Christmas and my brother will send me a batch. Just the smell and sound of those peppers frying in the pan says Christmas time to me.
- Send a specially chosen ornament, perhaps one from your town or a place that you have visited.
- Send a gift that will coincide with your next visit such as beach gear if you will be together in the summer months.
- Record a book on tape in your voice – great for little kids.
- If you have young kids, save their art work and turn it into framed pictures. Or create special wrapping paper from their coloring book pages.
- Make a calendar for 2014 using favorite family photos or photos of the last time you were together.
- Send children a packet of stamped postcards with your return address. Encourage their letter writing skills by starting a postcard exchange throughout the year.
- Buy a white tablecloth and use fabric markers to write favorite quotes, memories and drawings on it. Send the tablecloth to the recipient to use on their Christmas table.
- Make a personalized journal and include a photo on the cover. Fill a few pages with favorite quotes, jokes, quotes, pictures and memories of time spent together.
- Select a book that your recipient would enjoy and buy a copy for yourself. Start reading the book together and form your own “through the miles” book club.
- You can also do this with a movie that you will both enjoy. Send the movie and then plan a day to both watch the movie. Include their favorite candy or popcorn.
- Include a homemade bookmark made from photographs or a quote. I made bookmarks for my family as a Christmas gift last year using a photo of my parents when they were dating and a photocopy of something my dad wrote before he passed away. We all treasure the bookmark and remember him through his handwriting. You can find plain bookmarks to decorate at Michael’s. You can have the bookmarks laminated at an office supply store very inexpensively.
- Find special photographs and turn them into note cards. This is easy to do through online photo service companies like Vistaprint. I made blank photo cards as a gift one Christmas when my daughter was taking a photography class at school. They came out so lovely that family members framed many of them instead of writing in them. I am going to have these made again with a photo that I found of our childhood home.
- You can use your Facebook pictures and make greeting cards, photo collages, photo books and calendars at the photo kiosks inside Target stores. For Instagram photos, try Pinstagram to make gifts from your photos. Check out their Tinybook; a set of 3 is just $10!
- Buy a recordable stuffed animal at Hallmark or Amazon and record a special Christmas message. If you have small children, this is especially sweet to have their little kid voices preserved on a recording. Have them sing a favorite Christmas song!
- Make a memory jar or an encouragement jar and fill it with trinkets, handwritten notes, scripture, prayers and notes of appreciation. I love using mason jars for crafts like this.
You can keep the bonds of love strong through the miles with these inexpensive and thoughtful holiday gift ideas!