Are you spending Christmas away from family, relatives and friends this year? Maybe the thought of being apart at that time of the year is making you sad. I understand. The year my son was born, we decided not to put our 3-month old baby (read ourselves!) through a 20-hour journey, a 7-hour time difference and a 30-degree Celsius temperature difference. Despite the joy of the new addition to our family, Christmas didn’t feel quite right that year.
But maybe, on the contrary, you’re happy of not going back because you find successive family reunions over the holiday season to be a bit overwhelming (hum I can relate to that too!). Yet you can’t help feeling guilty for being away.
Whatever your situation, here are 3 things you should think of when planning this special Christmas so both you and your loved ones can better cope with the separation.
#1 Planning Christmas presents
A thoughtful present is a good way to show your loved ones you haven’t forgotten about them. Make sure they receive your present by Christmas day though, otherwise you’re in for some stress and them for some disappointment, especially if the gift is destined to a child.
Start by making a list and set a budget for each person you’re planning to give a present to. If you struggle with ideas, ask for wish lists. I personally keep a list of gifts ideas in Evernote for the people I usually give presents to – and also for myself in case I’m asked (hint, hint, Honey!). I add ideas onto that list all along the year whenever someone expresses an interest for something. As Christmas (or a birthday or an anniversary) approaches, I’ll subtly (hopefully!) try to figure out which one they’d be more excited about.
Opt for lighter presents such as clothes, accessories or, even better, vouchers to lower the international postage cost. Or buy online and get the present delivered directly at the recipient’s address. Inform them they should expect a package and ask them to unpack it only on Christmas day.
#2 Planning Christmas cards
A small attention like a Christmas card can go a long way.
Go through your contact list and make a list of the people you want to send your wishes to. Again Evernote (did I tell you I’m a big Evernote fan?!) is a good tool to create that list as there’s a ticking option for once you’ve completed a task i.e. in that particular case, ticking the name of the person off when you’re done writing or posting the card.
If you’re planning to send the cards by post, count the number you need, and add a few extras, before buying them. Buy the stamps at the same time.
Alternatively, if you’re the creative type and can afford the time, design personalised cards using online tools like Canva and send them by email. You can add a family picture, a scanned kid’s drawing or a personalised message that will make the recipient of the card feel special.
When you start receiving cards, check your card list to make sure that you’ve sent one to that person. Otherwise add their name onto your list and send them one. Keep the card list so that you don’t have to start from scratch again the following year.
#3 Planning Online Christmas Reunions
Technology can also help cope with the distance. Schedule Skype or WhatsApp video calls on Christmas eve or day, or in the days leading to it, or after, depending on time zones and the closeness of your relationships. If you can’t find a common agreeable day and time, take a video of key Christmas moments such as the day you put the Christmas decorations up, or when the kids open their presents, or when you toast to the New Year. Share them with your loved ones. It’ll make a lot of grand-parents happy for sure!
Of course, none of the above will replace your physical presence but at least it should offer your loved ones some comfort. As for yourself, planning this long-distance Christmas event should bring you some enjoyment. But don’t neglect your home and make it as cosy as possible. And if you’re hosting a party at home, check my tips on how to get your home ready for a stress free Christmas.
Tell me! Anything else you do when away from your loved ones for Christmas?
This post was first published on Sassy Mama website.