Christmas is my favorite time of the year. It can also be a difficult time when we are far from family. Even as I’m excited about seeing my son, daughter-in-law and grandson in Montana, I’m also sad that I can’t see my dad, four sisters and their families . . . for the second year in a row.
If you’re away from loved ones this year, here are eight ideas to help you connect across the miles and celebrate your family!
1. Send emails to long distance family members and collect their prayer needs. Spend a few minutes after dinner praying for those you love.
2. Skype with family members who live far away…or a missionary family you know. This can be an especially lonely time for missionaries who are not only away from family, but live in places that don’t celebrate Christmas the “American” way—if at all.
3. Create your own holiday journal. Allow kids to write messages in it (or help them write their messages) and save for years to come. Include things you did, gifts received, and even the words to your favorite Christmas songs…and then type them up or photocopy your messages and mail it to loved ones.
4. Ask family members from different generations to share family memories through letters.
5. If you have an old Bible from an elderly family member who is now gone, copy the notes in the margins or the verses he or she underlined and share them with family. My grandfather was a pastor. I have some of his old sermons, and I’m going to share some of them with my sisters.
6. Make photocopies of old, family letters—like from Grandpa’s letters home from WWII—and make copies for your family. Talk about the letters during a Skype call.
7. Watch the same Christmas movie or decorate cookies on the same night and then share photos on Facebook.
8. Speaking of sharing photos, don’t forget to snap photos above and beyond opening gifts. Take photos of the kids’ table, the Nativity set, your favorite ornaments, and the dinner table BEFORE you dig in.
I hope this list gives you ideas to connect across the miles. What are some of your ideas?? I’d love to hear!
12 Days of Christmas Giveaways Day 7
I’m celebrating Christmas with my favorite blog readers by giving away a different book pack each day! Today’s book pack is the Home to Heather Creek Pack, which includes Every Sunrise and Sweet September. Winners will be announced on my blog on Christmas day!
Sandy Harrox says
I would love to win , it would make my Christmas so special!!!
Sandy Harrox says
I will be sending emails and pictures! Talking on the phone to them.
Summer Rankin says
We use Skype. I have a son in Brazil and.a sister. in. Israel.
Donna Moore Forker says
I hope the next year brings you many more books, because your fans really enjoy reading them!
I’m not super close to my extended far-away family, but I do call my grandmother and aunt on Christmas.
Cindy Springsteen says
We will speak on the phone or face chat.
Amy Bateman says
We love video chats with distant grandparents and other family members. Phone calls are nice, but it’s fun for the kids to be able to see and talk to relatives and not just Mom!
Jeanie Dannheim says
We use phone calls, Christmas annual letter, cards – email where possible. Sadly my elderly relatives do not use a computer so we rely on the old-fashioned phone call and cards. Blessed Christmas to you and your family!!
Leanna Morris says
Via email, snail mail, cards, letters..and an occasional phone call!
Sarah Stewart says
We talk via Skype. 🙂 then if course pics are sent. Would love to win.
I will talk on the phone, and send cards.
Diana Montgomery says
I am staying connected by cards and emails. Maybe a couple calls. We sent new pics also.
Wanda Barefoot says
Thankfully all of my family is live close but I have a few great friends that are further away and aside from sending gifts I will be chatting on the phone.
Thank you, Miss Tricia, for all of these wonderful and generous giveaways. 🙂
Sue Brandes says
I use Facebook,emails,and letters or cards.
Christy Maurer says
Facebook keeps me connected to far off family members.
Beth Milinski says
We stay connected with far off family with email, facebook, and phone calls depending on how busy everyone is. We have family in GA that we don’t get to see so its nice to have facebook and email to keep up! I would love to win any one of your books!!
Gayle Pace says
We usually connect on Christmas on the phone. Miss everybody. My two girls are up KC way. HAPPY HOLIDAYS everyone.
We send cards, pictures and a Christmas letter. Also e mails for some relatives.
The only family I have that are far away are in heaven. And I have many Christmas memories with them and some kind of Christmas memento to remember them by
Susan Heim says
We stay connected by sending Christmas cards with photos and a listing of the year’s highlights!
Debbie Rhoades says
I will call them on the phone! Thanks for the chance, Tricia!
I send cards with a small message. I will also call them to wish them a Merry Christmas.
Kimberly Mayberry says
We call them on the phone, text some, and talk with other family and friends though Facebook or Email. Merry Christmas! Thank you for all the wonderful and thoughtful giveaways and tips!
Deanna S says
Email, & facebook messaging. Will call my children! Merry Christmas!
Linda Marie Finn says
FB, Letters, Phone
Susan Johnson says
Most of my family lives fairly close. We are planning on our family getting together in January.
Ruth Hill says
Social media and online shopping do the trick!
We are traveling to be with our family.
Barbara Thompson says
We are traveling to spend Christmas with some of the family. The others in the family we will call, except on our way home we will be driving close enough to stop and visit another family member.
I send cards and/or emails 🙂
Alyssa Faith says
I’ll be using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Lisa Watson says
Another way to connect with family who may be far away…send your specialty baked goods. If you are known for your sugar cookies, your trail mix, whatever, send some with a heartfelt letter.
Sending a card to everyone!
Hannah Kooiman says
Jinny Bishop says
We will skype with those unable to be with us. We will even skype with relatives in Germany! Already shipped off some gifts for the little ones………..and we will go to church on Christmas Eve with the family here…..
Merry CHRISTmas to you…….
Skype is the way to go.
Marlyce Hammen-Suter says
I will connect with my family by using Skype and through Facebook. Then, when January comes, we will all make a trek to my uncle’s cabin for an after holidays get together.!
Judy D. Kramer says
We have family get together’s ( for the ones that can make it ) I have two this year and I also go to each of my children’s homes for Christmas ,which has to be spread out over two day’s(I have four children,31 Grandchildren & 9 Great Grandchildren !!! ) Merry Christmas everyone !!!!! I am Blessed !!!!! <3 <3 <3 <3
Tracy Melhinch says
I have sent off cards and packages. My boyfriends Mom lives in Oregon, so we always call her Christmas day
Wen Mikulcik says
I call and text friends and family that are far away, send Christmas cards.
chris granville says
I will connect on facebook.
Please have a blessed God-filled Christmas
I keep in contact with my husband everyday by phone or skype. He lives in another state for work. I love hearing his voice!
I stay in touch through facebook, emails and phone calls. I also pray a lot and read the Lord’s word.
Greg Netter says
We text pics of us opening presents.
Robin V. says
This may be silly, but I have cousins back on the east coast and we either Facebook or text each other. It works for us with our schedules and keeps us up to date on the latest goings on with our families. I do wish they would just move out here to sunny California, but for now, this works.
Lisa Cowell says
I will be on my own again this year, so I will probably post a short status on facebook, text my daughter in the morning, and probably talk to her on the phone in the evening.
By calling them and emailing them pictures of everyone and our snow. Worthy news and pictures from Christmas gathering
Lyn Parker says
I have enjoyed my first steps into the realm of Amish fiction through your books. Thank you!
Holly Struve says
I love your blog ideas for long distance Christmas. My hubby and I Skype when he goes on trips for work and I chat a lot with my son and his wife who live in Illinois. I do have a bible from my grandma and one from an old friend. I am definitely going to check them out again. This year my grandkids are going to read from the bible on Christmas day. Thank you again Tricia for another great blog. Merry Christmas to you and yours!!
Amy F says
Plan on video conferencing with either Skype or Facetime.
Tired of these giveaways…..never gonna win nothing.
Kelly Blackwell says
My husband and I live in Arizona and our family is scattered from California to Pennsylvania. The best way we keep in touch is through lots of emails and letters before Christmas and many phone calls on Christmas day. We will visit the family that we do have that is farther away but still reachable via car drive before Christmas for our big family get together, but the ones that aren’t near will not be forgotten.
We’ll me talking on the phone!
We’ll call and/or video chat with my parents and my sister.
Nancy M says
We live away from all our family. Facebook has been a great way to connect and stay in touch with them.
Gay Idle says
I just visited family in Georgia I haven’t seen in 7 years! Went ‘home’ just in time for the family Christmas Party. My sister and I had fun reminiscing over old photos of family members…some as far back as the 1800’s! One very special photo was of my dad celebrating his birthday with other servicemen celebrating birthdays in the month of January…in 1945…WWII!
I took photos of all of my sister’s Christmas decorations and photos at the family Christmas party and have shared them in an album to all of our family, near and far!!
None of my family live close so Christmas is always a long distance affair. I call my dad on his birthday which is the 22.
My brother tries to come here for a few hours in between then and Christmas. Christmas eve I usually spend cooking and then Christmas morning with my children. Around lunch time I call my dad again, then my sister and brother. Last is my mother-in-law. We eat and then the children call dad again to tell him about everything going on from Christmas to school, grades, boyfriend, etc.
Doreen Lamb says
We will skype and talk as I watch my 3 1/2 year old and 7 month old grand daughters open their presents from me.
Lane Hill House says
visiting one, sent mailed packages to the others ~ Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House
Sherrie C. says
By phone, Facebook, and skype since my hubby and son live out of state.
I have a lot of family all over the country but mostly in the south and Facebook is a great way to stay in touch
Jeni Clark says
I stay conndected through facebook, email, cards and phone calls!!!
Cheryl H says
Calling them – and then visiting after Christmas. 🙂
Ann M says
I keep in touch with some thru Facebook, email and texting. My little 3 year old grandson is 2000 miles away so all year this year I’ve been sending him a goofy or smiley snail mail card. He loves them. And of course talking on the phone. My computer is OLD do I can’t SKYPE with them. 😉
Nicole Konotopka says
We Skype, one of us has the conference calling feature which is so NICE as there can be several of us all visiting. The kids will take a turn to with the kids, sharing their favorite stuff. I am sure the what does the fox say will play enough times my brain will hurt:) We used to all be together as kids when we were growing up, Skype has allowed us to be together even though we aren’t in the same room, its not the same but it feels so good to see them and wish them well for the new year! And plan the next holiday when we will all be there in person.
Sherrey Meyer says
Definitely reaching out to family via phone — it’s the easiest way to catch them between nearby relatives’ homes. Otherwise, Christmas cards and notes and maybe an email or two.
Joni Owada says
Facebook and Skype are the ones I use the most
Jackie Tessnair says
Monique Wood says
I would love to win. I truly enjoy reading your books.
Shirley Blanchard says
I will send cards to family and friends and call them, and some i will contac on facebook, i dont think i have read any of your books , so im sure hoping to win, thanks God bless and Merry Christmas
Shirley B, email@example.com