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Friday, December 16, 2011

Holidays 101: #16 Long Distance Gifts

I have some family who live within hours, some who live on the other side of the country and even some on the other side of the world.  Here are some ideas that have brightened the holidays across the miles for me. [And they all fit inside a priority mail envelope!]

1. Photo ornaments:
I still cherish a set of photo ornaments I received ages ago. No they aren't photos on porcelain, tho I have seen lovely ones.  These were a set of free form shapes cut from card stock.  On each was a photo of a family member who could not come for the holidays.  Gold glitter edged each photo and a ribbon tie let each photo be placed on my tree and then later hung around my room. These two photos show similar efforts, although a bit fancier.

2. For Grandparents especially:
As grandchildren get more numerous and memory less dependable, making a family calendar is not only easy, but helpful too!  Pictures are a nice addition if you choose, but the key part is to put everyone's birthday and year they were born. [If they are especially forgetful, put a birthday alert on the calendar a few days ahead of each birthday so they can send a card in time!] Someone did this for me several years ago and it was a great help in remembering how old each grandchild was and whose birthday was when.

3. Recordings:
These are great for all kinds of occasions as Hallmark finally figured out! Years and years ago my father make a [reel to reel!] tape recording of him reading my brother's favorite bedtime stories to comfort my brother when he was stuck in bed sick.  Many years later we put a [cassette] tape recorder in the middle of the room to capture the chaos and excitement of the holiday by having all the kids sing some holiday songs and send holiday greetings. We then sent the recording to my parents, who I later discovered played the recording over and over each Christmas for years. Now with digital recordings and CDs the variety of options is even wider. The magic of hearing your loved ones voice never gets out-dated and a recording that you can hear repeatedly and over time is even more special. And of course now there is video too!.....Skype and phone calls are wonderful but making a lasting recording is an even bigger blessing.

4. Celebrate Memories:
Consider something like what I blogged about in last Saturday's Holidays 101 #11 [Give a High Five].  Find a way to capture and celebrate memories of the distant person, or of times shared together. Whether a mini-book, or a scrapbook, or even just a list, documenting the importance of memories and events that you value lets the person who receives your gift know how special they are to you. These are perfect long distance gifts whether for seasonal holidays or birthdays etc.

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