It can be hard to live far away from grandchildren – especially during the holidays, when family time is emphasized in commercials and print ads all over the country. Many out-of-state grandparents feel like they’re missing out on their grandkids’ lives when they miss out on gift opening, family dinners, and other family holiday traditions. They may even just miss the everyday activities to do with grandkids.
If you can’t be with the family during the holidays, we have some ideas to help you at least feel like you are. With Christmas just 10 days away, we’ve compiled a list of 10 ways to celebrate the holidays with out of state grandchildren.
Send a long distance hug. Cut out two handprints, glue them to the ends of a long string, and mail it with a note that instructs them to wrap it around them whenever they need a hug. Grandkids will get a kick out of being able to get a “hug” from grandma or grandpa and everyone will be impressed by your creativity.
Use technology to your advantage. With the advancement of technology, there are a number of ways to keep in touch including using social media and video chats. Create a holiday Pinterest board that only you and your grandchild contribute to. Use video chat to be there for gift opening and see your grandchild’s reaction when he or she opens the present you sent. You can also turn on video chatting during dinner and enjoy a meal with the family. It will feel like you are seated right at the table.
Read a holiday-themed book over the phone. Purchase two of the same book and send one to your grandchild. Read the book over the phone while he or she follows along.
Share photos. Send your grandchildren a disposable camera and ask them to take pictures for you. Include an envelope and postage so parents can send it back. Not only will your grandchildren have a blast taking pictures with their very own camera, but you’ll get a glimpse into their daily lives and a laugh looking at the pictures they take.
Keep a holiday journal. Send a journal back and forth leading up to the holiday. Fill it with gift lists and notes about how excited you are for the upcoming holiday. It’s a new spin on the average old-fashioned letter and it will allow you and your grandchild to save and look back on your correspondence.
Share an advent calendar or other holiday countdown. Purchase two advent calendars (or other holiday countdowns) – one for you and one for your grandchild. Countdown together by opening each day at the same time over the phone or video chat. You can make it even more personal by customizing it. There are many products out there that allow you to fill each day with your own small gift or message.
Track Santa together. On Christmas Eve, go to www.noradsanta.org to track Santa’s journey around the world. Your grandchildren can keep track of how close he is to your home and theirs.
Begin a tradition. Start a holiday tradition that the grandkids can look forward to each year. Having a tradition that only they participate in will help them feel connected to you.
Make them a part of your life and holiday. Ask them to make or pick out a holiday decoration for you to put up at your home. Make sure to send them a picture of it too. They’ll feel included in your life and have fun finding something just for you.
Kiss them every day. Send a jar of Hershey kisses for them to enjoy a kiss a day from grandma and grandpa. You can put enough kisses to last until the next time you see them or to countdown the holiday.
You can use many of these ideas year round. If that’s not enough and you find yourself wanting to move closer to the grandkids, we can help! A reverse mortgage for purchase may help you move into a new home that’s closer to the family and you’ll never have to make a monthly mortgage payment on that new home for as long as you live in it!*
*Homeowner is still responsible for taxes, insurance and property maintenance.