5 Ways to Reach Out to Family With Tech

Us gadget-minded folks always want to talk about stores and shopping, but we all know the holidays are about more than gifts. There's plenty of ways that technology can help you reach out to friends and family this season.

Send your Christmas cards with digital-to-snail-mail Web sites. SnailMailr will let you write your annual "What we're doing" letters up to four pages long and stamp and send them off for just $1. If you'd rather send family a quick "Happy Hanukkah!," try One Penny Post. You can upload a photo to be printed on the back of a postcard and leave a short message on the reverse side, then have it sent anywhere in the US, UK or Australia for a small charge. If you don't follow this step, at least make sure you...

Make sure everyone gets a card with a download-able Christmas card worksheet. If you're going to go old--fashioned on the mail greetings, we'll at least urge you to take a trip over to OrganizingYourWay.net, where they've designed a bunch of download-able and printable Christmas organizing guides. Try the Christmas card worksheet to make sure you've got enough stamps or the Christmas decor inventory worksheet to keep track of every bulb.

Get them exactly what they wanted with online wish lists. We know Christmas isn't all about the presents, but since you're going to buy them anyways, you ought to get them right. Nothing says "I don't care" like a set of candles from the mall. Ask friends and family to complete their Christmas wish lists at OnlineChristmasList.com. You'll see links to buy exactly what they want and even see what items have already gotten crossed off!

Select online retailers that gift wrap for far-away family. For those friends you can't visit at the holidays, shop online and select "gift wrap" options at the checkout screen. Many sites will do it for a small fee, but if you're lucky, you can find a store that will wrap for free. Check out this link for a round up of some major stores' wrap-up work.

Reach out to far-away family with a video chat. The best way to let out-of-town family to let know you care is to tell them yourself. Set up some time at the holidays to video chat over your computers. With a free download like Skype, it's never been easier to be two places at once. Check out this article on how to get started if you're a Skype newbie.

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