11 Ideas for Sending a Bit of Holiday Cheer to Faraway Loved Ones
Even before we entered a pandemic, the holiday season could be a difficult time for many. Now, with the CDC reporting that traveling to spend the holidays with others increases the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19, it’s likely that the holiday blues will be especially prevalent during the 2020 season.
This year, it’s more important than ever to reach out to family and friends both near and far. Tell them how you feel, remind them that they are loved, and if you’re able, send them a little something to make them smile. This definitely doesn’t have to be in the form of extravagant presents. Instead, here are 11 simple, inexpensive ideas for sending DIY holiday cheer to those you won’t see in person this season.
1. Handwrite a Letter
Knowing that someone took the time to actually write—not type!—to you can make you feel less alone, minimizing feelings of remoteness because of distance. So here’s your perfect excuse to bust out any pretty pieces of stationery you have lying around, and then fill them with heartfelt notes and drawings and fun stickers and stamps.
2. Mail a Batch of Cookies
3. Ship an Alternative Bouquet
Sending a bouquet of fresh flowers can be costly, so why not DIY an alternative arrangement that’s just as smile-inducing? This pom-pom bouquet from Damask Love can double as an everlasting centerpiece. We’re also fans of this Honestly WTF dried flower bouquet—just make sure you package it carefully to prevent any sort of breakage.
4. Volunteer or Donate in Their Honor
Does your intended recipient have a favorite charitable organization? See if you can give that charity a donation in your loved one’s name. Or, if you’re able to safely do so, take the time to volunteer for the organization and take photos of and notes on the experience. Then send it all to your loved one, and let them know that you did this in their honor.
5. Frame a Photo They Love
Holidays are a time for reminiscing, so consider framing and mailing a friend or family member a photo that will remind them of a happy memory. It can be a picture of you two together, a snap from a past vacation, or an image of one of their favorite places. Then customize a frame, like one inspired by this easy DIY sticker option by Crafty Chica, to make the gift feel extra personal.
6. Send a Homemade Ingredient
If arts and crafts aren’t your style, you can take to the kitchen to make a yummy ingredient for a loved one, like this spiced toffee sauce by The Crafty Gentleman. After you whip up your chosen ingredient, plan a recipe around it, send the ingredient and recipe to a friend or family member, and then take the time to virtually bake the treat together. It’s a gift that comes with the bonus of quality time.
7. Make a Friendship Bracelet
What’s more nostalgic than an old-school friendship bracelet? If you’re looking for an updated version, check out this morse code bracelet from Honestly WTF. Using a morse code translator, you can transform a sweet message into a piece of jewelry your loved one can cherish forever.
8. Create a DIY Ornament
Help your recipient amp up their home’s holiday cheer with a piece of homemade, seasonal decor. For example, if your giftee puts up a Christmas tree, send them a homemade ornament for it, like the puff-painted and glittery concha ornaments that Craft Chica demos on her blog. Another option: This photo keepsake ornament DIY that only takes 10 minutes to craft.
9. Design a Custom Face Mask
10. Email a Virtual Scrapbook
Scrapbooks can be lovely gifts—but can also take a lot of time and money. A virtual option is less involved, more easily delivered, and just as expressive. Put one together in PowerPoint, Keynote, or Google Slides, and get as creative and personal as you’d like by including captions, poems, quotes, or even doodles and pieces of digital artwork.
11. Mail a Holiday Cracker
The Home for the Holidays vertical was written and edited independently by the Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn editorial teams and generously underwritten by Cointreau.