Even if your house smells sweet from the treats baking in the oven and you have a holiday movie queued up on Netflix, the holidays might not feel the same when you’re apart from your loved ones.; you’re cuddled up under a blanket but this year, you aren’t surrounded by your loved ones. So many people enjoy the holidays because it’s a chance to spend meaningful quality time with family and friends. Fortunately, even if you live far apart, can’t carve out in-person time, or can’t hop on a flight during this upcoming holiday season, it’s still possible to feel connected.
In the digital age, we have access to so many resources and tools to help us stay in touch. Whether you’re homesick or missing someone special in your life, shopping for a few items can help you prepare for the holiday season and spend quality time together, even from afar.
You can buy items that upgrade your video calls so you can celebrate together virtually or can create a sense of closeness by gifting matching items so your relatives always feel you near. These 15 gifts are the best products to bring your faraway loved ones closer during the holidays. The list includes ideas for fun and festive activities you can do remotely, ways to instantly show you’re thinking of your loved ones, and ideas to help you nurture strong relationships throughout the holiday season and beyond.
1. A Massive Snack Box For Movie Nights
Settling in on the couch with my family for a holiday movie night is common this time of year. And of course, the best part of any good movie night is the snacks. This snack kit features sweet and salty snacks with a mix of essentials: chips, cookies, candies, bars, popcorn, and crackers.
Grab a snack kit for yourself and send one over to your loved ones, then use a tool like Teleparty to watch your favorite holiday movies together.
2. Pictionary Air For A Virtual Game Night
If movie nights are a staple of the holidays, game nights are even more special. You can always just play your family’s favorite game over Zoom or Skype, but to take your game night from afar to the next level, grab Pictionary Air. It’s a new take on the classic Pictionary game and lets you connect with other users near or far — and it’s hilarious since you draw midair instead of on paper.
3. A DIY Baking Kit With Everything You Need For A Holiday Treat
Simply Flourless curates baking kits with everything you need to make a dessert at home (you’ll need to add your own refrigerated ingredients, though). The company offers a variety of recipe options ranging from brown sugar cinnamon hand pies to chocolate peppermint whoopie pies.
This makes a lovely sweet gift, but also helps you feel close to your loved ones by indulging in holiday baking traditions together even when you can’t share a kitchen. As a bonus, all of these baking kits are gluten-free, so they’re perfect for family members with certain dietary needs.
4. A Creative Cookie-Decorating Book
Maybe every year, your family gets together to bake and decorate holiday cookies with a recipe you know by heart. For an extra challenge, try picking a new design to try out from this cookie-decorating book. Keep things light and fun, or make it a family competition to see who can decorate the cookies the best — Netflix’s Nailed It-style!
5. The Lovebox Connected Messaging Device
When you’re missing someone, a text does the trick… but the Lovebox is way cooler. It’s a messaging device paired with an app to help you connect with your loved ones even from a distance.
You can send a message, photo, drawing, or animation through the app and it’ll show up on the recipient’s Lovebox when they open the lid. And if you turn the heart on the Lovebox, it’ll rain hearts back onto the sender’s phone. The heart vibrates whenever a new message is received and is such a fun tangible reminder that someone’s thinking of you.
6. An Echo Show With A Screen For Photo-Sharing & Video-Calling
To virtually connect with your loved ones this holiday season, you’ll likely use FaceTime or Zoom to chat face-to-face. The Echo Show offers you the chance to connect on a bigger screen (using a 2MP camera). You can also use it to have photos on display in your home. It’s another reminder of your loved ones who may not be able to attend your festivities.
7. An Artisan DIY S’mores Kit
Cozy up by a fire (or stream a fireplace video on YouTube) and connect with your loved ones via Zoom or Facetime over an artisan s’more or two… or three. S’moreology’s Seasonal Santa Baby S’mores kit includes enough delicious goodness to make six s’mores complete with crushed candy canes, artisanal graham crackers, and marshmallows. You can toast these bad boys over an open fire or broil them in the oven.
8. A Customized Acrylic Playlist
Music always brings people together, so take a few minutes and put together a playlist for you and your loved ones this holiday season. Then, grab this high-quality acrylic art piece from Amazon and customize it with your unique playlist code from Spotify — when your loved one scans the code, it’ll take them right to the playlist, so you’ll always feel connected through music.
9. Journals For Writing Letters
Remember the beloved The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series? Channel those vibes this holiday season by grabbing some simple journals from Amazon for you and your loved one. Throughout the season, write each other letters in the journals. Then, the next time you’re able to connect in person, swap journals! You’ll feel so loved, and it’s therapeutic to be able to write out your feelings when you’re missing someone.
10. Lamps That Light Up When You Touch Them
These handcrafted lamps are perfect for adding a personal reminder that you and your loved ones are connected. You’ll get a set of two lamps: one for your home, and one for someone else’s. You can set the lamps to be different colors, and when you touch your lamp, theirs will light up the same color as yours. You can add endless lamps to your group, so even if you’re connecting with family all across the world, everyone can be included.
11. A Photo Album Filled With This Year’s Memories
If you love crafting and have lots of memories to share this year, compile your favorite snapshots in an affordable DIY photo album. Fill the album with your favorite memories of the two of you (or your family as a whole) and send it off. You can even make two: one for you and one for them, so you can each flip through it whenever those feelings of loneliness or homesickness bloom during the holidays.
12. A Candle That Captures The Scent Of A Tree Farm
Scent memory is a powerful thing, and to capture some of the holiday nostalgia from afar, grab a holiday candle like this Balsam Fir one for you and your loved one. Every time you light the candle, you’ll know your loved one is enjoying the same scent.
If the tree scent isn’t your favorite, choose from any of KindredEssence’s soy candles. This brand focuses on high-quality, safe ingredients while creating beautiful hand-poured, handmade candles with scents inspired by the seasons.
13. A Letterboard So You Can Count Down Until You’ll Be Together Again
Sure, you can set up a countdown on your phone or Google Calendar. But for something a bit more special this holiday season, grab a pair of these felt letter boards and set up a countdown in your homes — anytime you feel sad or wish you were together, you’ll have a visual for when you can get together again.
14. An Amazon Fire Tablet To Stay Connected
Staying connected digitally is easier than ever with this Amazon Fire Tablet. It has plenty of ways for you to see or spend time with your loved ones: download games to play together, connect over video chat, and share digital photo galleries.
15. These Bond Touch Bracelets For A Physical Connection
Ever just miss getting a hug from your long-distance loved one? Staying physically connected with your family and friends is so much easier with these cool Bond Touch Bracelets. When you touch your bracelet, the matching one you give your loved one will vibrate to match. The bracelets are waterproof and have a battery life of up to four days, and even come with a mobile app where you can chat and see if you missed a vibration.