25 Thoughtful Gifts to Send to Long-Distance Family and Friends
You might not be together, but you'll feel closer than ever with these sweet and sentimental gift ideas.
When we were kids, my best friend and I pinky-swore that we'd buy houses right next to each other one day when we became "real adults." So, of course, we ended up attending two different colleges, moving to separate states and eventually living in two different countries. The irony is not lost on me.
Our 15-years-strong long-distance friendship has taught me a lot about staying connected, though, like how a simple "thinking of you" gift can always bridge the gap between us. If you're apart from your own family and friends this year, try sending a token of your love with these sweet and sentimental gift ideas.
Spoil your loved ones and spread some serious holiday cheer with a gift from Harry & David. You can choose from hundreds of delectable treats, like the Grand Gift Box, which includes cinnamon swirl bread, seasonal pears, trail mix and other delicious sweets. For more gourmet food gift ideas, head over to Williams Sonoma and treat your loved ones to a gorgeous gift set, crate or basket of ready-to-eat goodies and pantry staples to enjoy during the holidays.
You're never too far away to wine together. Show your favorite person how much you care (and add one more vessel to their collection) with this stemless wine glass. Simply select the two states that you'd like to engrave, and the artist will take care of the rest.
Build even more excitement for an upcoming visit by surprising your loved one with a new weekender bag. They'll smile from ear to ear when they see this handsome duffel from Calpak, which boasts a roomy central compartment and a separate pocket for their shoes. It's also available in seven different colors so that you can find the right finish for their unique style.
If you can't split a bottle of rosé and watch your favorite reality shows in person, then this gift set is definitely the next best thing. Treat your long-distance best friend to the ultimate girls' night with some essentials from Knack. The beautifully packaged box contains a Corkcicle Stemless Cup, Happy Place Eye Gels, a tin of question cards, champagne gummy bears and a bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling rosé.
Make Mom or Dad feel like everyone's home for the holidays, even if you're celebrating separately, by surprising them with a digital picture frame for their mantel. You and your siblings can send photos or small videos directly to the Frameo app, and your parents can immediately view those special moments.
Fresh flowers are nice, but why not send your crafty sister or sister-in-law a bouquet that she can keep forever? This embroidery kit is a fun activity and thoughtful gift in one and includes everything she needs to recreate those beautiful blooms. When she's done, she can display the hoop on a wall or shelf.
Send your sibling or childhood bestie some love from afar with a scented candle inspired by your hometown. Each candle is made from natural soy wax and comes hand-poured in a sleek glass jar. You can choose from 24 major cities (or all 50 states) and trust that the fragrance will spark some serious nostalgia for you and the place you grew up together.
Maybe you can't be there to read to your niece or nephew in person, but you can still share a story with them. Start with this adorable board book, which features a poodle named Pierre who learns that waiting is hard but worth it. Plus the stuffed poodle will keep them company until you're finally reunited.
Missing your favorite co-worker right about now? Send the message loud and clear with these positive affirmation pencils. Each writing tool has an encouraging phrase stamped into the side, plus a silver tip that will add a bit of shimmer to their desk. They'll think of you and how you're cheering them on from afar every time they have to take notes.
Distance is no match for good old-fashioned friendship bracelets. Brighten their wardrobe and bridge the gap between you with a pair of coordinating birthstone bracelets. The stylish design features a delicate gold-plated chain and a glistening charm that absolutely radiates in the light. Best of all? The bracelet is completely adjustable to ensure a great fit on her wrist.
When you can't squeeze them in person, this cozy throw makes a pretty good stand-in. Give your parents, partner or college-aged kids all of the warm and fuzzy feelings with this "Very Big Hug" blanket. The accent is woven from snuggly cotton, has a soft fringe trim and is suitable for the washing machine.
Okay, we may have teared up a little when we saw this one. If you live a few hours away and won't be home for the holidays, add a special touch to Mom's tree with a pretty, personalized ornament that reads, "Side by side or far apart, family will always be close at heart." You can shop the look in ceramic and customize it with your own states.
If you spend hours connecting over FaceTime or WhatsApp, then make the time more comfortable by gifting your loved one a new phone stand. This clever accessory will put their device at the perfect angle and even includes small rubber pads on the bottom to protect their furniture from scratches. Need more ideas? Try a portable charger, a grip for their case or noise-canceling headphones for when they're in public spaces.
Give your long-distance partner (or your BFF) a piece of you to take everywhere they go with this custom portrait keychain. You'll start by uploading a favorite photo, and then the artist will use acrylic pens to render it into an adorable keepsake.
Sometimes the best gifts are the ones they never saw coming. Instantly melt Mom or Dad's heart with this custom signpost listing the locations of all their kids and/or grandkids. Each arrow is painted with a "warmly weathered" finish and stationed on an oxidized steel bar that they can display in the backyard.
Let Grandma or Grandpa know that you're thinking of them, especially when you're far apart, by sending them this personalized pillow cover. The canvas material is nice and soft for their favorite chair and can be customized with multiple names at the top and bottom.