With a thoughtful approach, you can find easy ways to spread some holiday cheer, whether your nearest and dearest live across the street, across the country or even across the globe.
The holiday season is a time for celebrating with loved ones, but family and friends aren't always nearby.
Although you may not be able to spend the holidays together in-person, there are still plenty of ways to show out-of-town loved ones you care. With a thoughtful approach, you can find easy ways to spread some holiday cheer, whether your nearest and dearest live across the street, across the country or even across the globe.
- Create a holiday plan.
First, get organized. Make a list of everyone you'd like to celebrate with this season and determine how you'd like to send your holiday wishes – a phone call, a heartfelt card or even a gift.
If sending something in the mail, check recommended shipping dates to ensure items arrive in time. While some services can guarantee packages arrive by Christmas if shipped by Dec. 23, it's best to avoid the holiday rush by getting gifts out the door at least a week in advance of the holidays.
If you are sending presents to loved ones in the military overseas, you should get items in the mail by Dec. 10 for a Christmas arrival.
- Get your gifting in gear.
Do your shopping early to give yourself plenty of time to mail items to loved ones and make sure they are easily shippable. Packages that are damageable or perishable may not arrive in the condition you intended if not carefully packaged.
As you prepare to ship, wrap presents with holiday paper, protect them with cushioning material and place them in a sturdy box. Then, seal boxes securely with packaging tape to ensure nothing gets lost.
- Make every minute count.
To make the most of the holiday season, try to get in the spirit early. A good start to holiday cheer is sending seasonal cards to friends and family.
Want something unique? Try making your own personalized holiday greetings using a website like Shutterfly. You can also build up to the big day by sending care packages for friends and family to enjoy throughout the season. Make batches of seasonal cookies or send Advent calendars for little ones.
Don't forget about loved ones in the Armed Forces. They may need holiday cheer the most, so send them care packages with a bit of home - favorite cookies, festive music and a card with special messages from family and friends.
- See their holiday smiles.
Even if you can't be physically near loved ones during the holidays, technology has made it possible to at least see them. Use a free video chatting service like Skype on your computer or smartphone to say "hi" to friends and family during the holidays or even open gifts together. These technologies are easy to use and allow you to enjoy the smile on family and friends' faces when they open the gifts you've lovingly selected for them.