Usually, the holidays are a time to come together and reconnect with family and loved ones, especially if they’re spread out across the country.
But that’s not possible for everyone this year. Due to the spread of COVID-19, the CDC still recommends caution when choosing to travel over the holidays, as transmission risk rises the more people gather from multiple places. As such, many people could be spending the holidays with only their immediate household—which could be a household of one.
So how do you show people you care about them when you’re miles apart? You can set up virtual dinners or phone calls. You can also show appreciation and love through writing. Here are three ways you can show your loved ones you’re thinking of them and commemorate this unique holiday season.
For the digitally inclined: Flex your texts
Depending on your family dynamics, you may already be in a text chat with the people you’d usually see over the holidays. But there’s a craft to sending the perfect “Happy [insert holiday here]” text—emojis, well-wishes general enough to apply to your Aunt Ida and your Gen-Z cousin, a time of day when everyone can respond, a quick pass to screen for any autocorrect mishaps—all of these factors can affect the perfect message. For example, you could send a text a few minutes before you’d all usually be sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner, letting them know that you’re thinking about them and bemoaning that your sweet potatoes just aren’t as good as Grandma’s.
And while a group text is tried and true, it may be nice to send more personalized texts this year, especially to friends and family who you know have had an especially hard 2020. Let each person know you’re thinking about them by sharing a cherished memory or checking in on a topic you touched upon the last time you communicated. Of course, you can call these family members, but seeing things written out can offer comfort even after you’ve hung up the phone.
For the long-form scribe: Pen a letter
If you’re looking for a way to connect with your loved ones more tangibly, try pulling out a pen and paper and sending a letter. You may not have the time, the energy, or the stamps to send a long letter to every person you care about—so pick one or two, like a cousin who you only get to see once a year or a pal you usually do Friendsgiving with. You may have to ask these folks for their addresses, but that’s part of the fun! Let them know that a piece of snail mail is coming their way.
You can start by sharing an anecdote from the past few months, like a new recipe you tried, a new trick your dog can do, or a way that you’ve made your home more comfortable. If you want, you can ask them to write back with what they’ve been up to. Whatever you choose to write about, a friendly letter will let your recipient know you’re thinking about them, whether it’s through a shared memory or general well wishes.
For the creative cat: Craft a keepsake
Handcrafted holiday cards are a great way to memorialize the holiday season. Whether you’re eager to show off the results of your virtual hand lettering class or you want to do some freeform watercolor, your creative voice will make your holiday greetings feel special. While this option takes the most effort, your recipient will feel the care you took to create something special for them.
There are infinite ways to craft a unique and personal holiday card. Consider asking your recipient for their favorite colors and basing the card around those hues, or including a quote from a shared favorite author. You can even go the digital route and create a photo collage of past holiday celebrations.
Taking the time to send messages of love and appreciation can really make a difference—especially this year. Your text, letter, or card will make your loved ones’ holidays brighter.