5 Ways to Feel Connected to Long Distance Loved Ones This Holiday Season

published Oct 21, 2020
Apartment Therapy received compensation for this post, which was written and edited independently by our editorial team.
Woman Reads Funny Message
Credit: Urs Siedentop & Co/Stocksy

No matter which way you look at it, the holiday season is going to be different this year. Maybe you can’t travel to your family, maybe you’re planning much smaller gatherings than usual, or maybe you’ve just experienced a major loss. No matter what it is, staying connected to the people you’re missing is vital—especially as this winter promises to involve more indoor time and less socializing than ever before. While making the time to call your loved ones is the easiest way to stay connected, getting creative is always a good idea if you’re trying to keep things interesting. To help you out, we rounded up five ways to feel more connected to your loved ones, plus products to go with each.

1. Elevate your video chatting

You’re forgiven if you’re over Zoom calls. While Zoom has a lot of perks, it’s not the end-all, be-all of video chatting, and there are several alternatives that will take your virtual hangouts to the next level. Enter: Portal from Facebook, which makes video chatting a whole lot better thanks to a slew of features, like a Smart Camera that automatically adjusts with your movements to keep everyone in view. It’s also Alexa-compatible, and lets you chat with friends via Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, even if they don’t have Portal. The Portal TV connects to your television, so it actually feels like the person you’re talking to is in the room with you.

If you’ve ever wanted to get into scrapbooking but didn’t have the time, here’s your chance. Artifact Uprising sells a few different types of custom photo books, which are basically a more elevated, easy-to-do version of scrapbooking. The Color Series is the most affordable option, featuring a premium soft cover and vibrant design that’ll look perfect on a coffee table. Customize the size, color, and theme, and get to work designing your book online—it’ll be ready to ship in just four business days!

3. Let them know you’re missing them in a creative way

Sure, you could always text or call your loved one when you’re thinking about them, but how fun would it be to alert them via a lamp? (But also, definitely call them too.) This set from Brookstone is WiFi-enabled, and includes two friendship lamps that light up whenever the other one is touched. It’s inconspicuous, so you can place it just about anywhere, from your nightstand to the windowsill. Give it to your mom, best friend, significant other, or whoever else you’re missing right now. And if you don’t love this particular lamp set, check out these other options from Etsy and Uncommon Goods.

If you’re unable to see your family this holiday season, commission an illustrated family portrait instead. I gave one to my mom a few years ago, and it’s still one of the best gifts I’ve ever given, especially if it’s hard for all of you to take an actual photo together. There are tons of artists who create custom portraits on Etsy, including Jade Forest Design—just choose the number of people (1-10), desired size, and how you want it framed, and the artist will take care of the rest. Hurry though, as you’ll want plenty of time to get it finished before the holiday season.

5. Actually send holiday cards this year

To put it mildly, 2020 has been a strange year. So if you’re one of those people who can’t be bothered with holiday cards (same), this might just be the perfect time to start. Embrace the chaos of this year and send out those cards to all the people you haven’t been able to see for months. Better yet, include a short personalized note with each card to let the recipient know you miss them and are thinking about them. Minted is the place to go for all types of cards, including a variety of humorous options that keep things light when nothing else feels very funny.