10 Long-Distance Family Gifts for Christmas

The yuletide season is upon us. Decorations are going up, temperatures are going down, and the holiday music blasting. But as the COVID-19 pandemic hits a crescendo, many people are facing a bitter reality: this year’s Christmas will look much different.

Though shelter-in-place restrictions will keep families apart this December, we can still spread holiday cheer from a distance. Presents are always a good place to start. Here are some suggestions for long-distance family gifts that older adults and their children and grandchildren can exchange. It’s the thought that counts.

1. Unique Christmas Tree Ornaments

Remember the popsicle stick reindeer ornament you made in elementary school? Or the hand-blown snow globe you bought from a shop in your hometown? These tried-and-true Christmas tree staples are displayed each year; they are a holiday tradition unto themselves.

Start a new tradition this year by exchanging ornaments. A grandfather living in Arizona, for example, can ship a handful of prized ornaments to his son in Florida. The son can do the same. Then, each family member can use the hand-me-down decorations to adorn their respective trees. During video calls on Christmas morning, family members can see the special ornaments twinkling in the background.

2. Family Recipes Collection

There is nothing quite like grandma’s baked ham or your aunt’s sweet potato casserole. Preserve these tasty recipes by creating a family cookbook. This long-distance family gift doesn’t need to be fancy. Type the recipes on your computer, print them out, and assemble them into a book. Hold the pages together with some yarn. You could also use a local printing shop or online service.

Include everyone’s favorite family recipes. Even if you aren’t hosting a potluck this year, at least you can recreate the smells and sights of home.

3. Matching Holiday Pajamas

Many families have a yearly tradition of wearing matching pajamas on Christmas morning. Extend the tradition this year by sending relatives pajamas. You can all don striped flannel shirts or snowflake-studded pants during a yuletide video chat. Wearing funny, over-the-top sweaters during Christmas video chats can also become a new family tradition.

4. Tablet or Laptop Computer

For your family members who are relying on outdated technology, a digital upgrade could be a great, though higher-end, long-distance family gift. For new users, a tablet or laptop will let them participate in holiday fun over video chat. Your time is also a wonderful long-distance family gift. If your family member isn’t well-versed in technology, he or she may need you to provide a tutorial.

5. Traditional Holiday Treats

If all else fails, bake cookies. A great way to express love to distant relatives is to send delicious holiday treats. Bake your family’s favorite cookies and ship them in time for the holidays. To prevent your goodies from going stale, cover them in plastic wrap. Then, place the cookies in a tin layered with tissue paper. Stick to classics like chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin as they are good travelers

6. Scented Candles

Holiday-scented candles are always best-sellers. Select candles that smell like pine trees or cinnamon. If you want to get crafty, consider making your own scented candles. The process does require patience—it can take up to a week for the candles to be set entirely—but the recipient will appreciate the personal touch.

7. Local Coffee Mugs

What’s better than coffee? Coffee in a thoughtful mug. To send a little bit of home to a family member, visit a local shop and purchase a mug with the town name emblazoned on the front. If you live in a small town that doesn’t have much in the way of souvenirs, you may find what you’re looking for online. In a pinch, select mugs with your state’s name on them, which you can then send to distant family members. You’ll have fun sharing a hot cup over your next video chat.

8. Watches Displaying Two Time Zones

For families that live hundreds, if not thousands, of miles apart, consider gifting watches that display two different time zones. These dual time zone watches will make it easier for everyone to connect at a convenient time. They are also a daily reminder of those you love. Dual time zone watches can be pricey, inching toward $1,000, but more affordable options are available on websites like Amazon.

9. Smart Speakers

Smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo, Google’s Nest, and Apple’s HomePod make it easy to connect with relatives. Talking to grandma can be as simple as asking Alexa to make the call. This long-distance family gift keeps your hands free for other activities like candle making and cookie baking. Smart speakers are also ideal for family members with little to no tech experience. With some guidance, they can be set up in less than 15 minutes.

10. Framed Family Photos

When you can’t be with the ones you love, a framed photo is the next best thing. Export photos from your phone and print them at home or a local department store. Professional photos are also a nice touch, though they will cost more. You could purchase picture frames, or you could have your children make them out of popsicle sticks, paint, and glue. The personal touch will show how much thought you put into the gift.

Helping Families at the Atrium at Boca Raton

Stress can certainly increase during the holidays, especially if you provide support to a family member or friend by yourself. If you are currently taking care of an individual with memory impairment or other conditions who may require more wellness support, the Atrium at Boca Raton can help. To learn about how the Atrium at Boca Raton provides memory care and assisted living services, contact us today.