The end-of-year holiday season, regardless of the holiday you celebrate, is usually spent among friends and family, who may span a continent or even the globe. Even if they are miles away and it’s not possible to be with all them in person, there are many ways to spread cheer – and to teach your children the importance of staying in touch.
Here are some ways to keep in touch during the holidays:
1. Reserve “staying in touch” time on your calendar. Your family and friends probably experience the same kind of time crunch as you do during the holidays. By reserving time on the family calendar for whichever kinds of seasonal cheer you plan to share, you can turn “staying in touch for the holidays” into a fun and official family event
2. Round up nearby family for long-distance calls by phone or Skype. If you’re fortunate to be able to spend the holidays surrounded by most of your loved ones, plan for a time when you will all be together to call family members who are far away. If most of your family will be celebrating elsewhere, plan to call them when you know that they will all be together. Especially popular are free video calls via Skype.
3. Send holiday greeting cards, photo-cards, newsletters. Get your kids involved by having them make their own holiday list and send personal greetings to everyone on it, whether by postal mail, email or both – while you do the same for the people on your list. Some families traditionally send a family photo-card to loved ones near and far, as a particularly memorable way of staying in touch. Others write an annual “newsletter” to share online or inside of a greeting card sent by postal mail.
4. Create an online photo album. This is a version of the annual holiday newsletter with a tech twist. Compile photos of treasured family moments during the year into an online photo album for viewing by family and friends. You can set one up for free using websites such as Shutterfly and Snapfish. If you wish, encourage your relatives to contribute their own photos to your album as well.
5. Send a recording of yourself or your family. Do your grandkids live faraway? Send them a recording, perhaps with you reading a beloved children’s book using a recordable storybook, available online. If you’re especially tech-savvy, gather your family together to sing a holiday carol for a recording to send to loved ones.