Picture this: you just spent a great week or so with your family. Not only were you able to see your immediate family, you were able to travel to see your significant other’s family, as well. And — bonus points for you — it was all smooth sailing: Christmas cookies, a visit to Santa, lots of long dinners and late nights spent catching up. How can you sustain this closeness and continue to be a part of everyone’s life year-round, despite the distance?
Allow me to share a few tried and true (by me) ideas to relieve your post-holiday hangover:
Make Sunday night ‘FaceTime night’
Sunday Scaries are a real thing, especially coming off an extended holiday break. Getting back into your routine can feel overwhelming. Brunch has come and gone and your to-do list is looming — time to iron, pack lunch, and figure out who will come home and let the dog out each day this week. Despite all that, at my house, Sunday evenings are the time my parents and I have set aside for our FaceTime catch-up.
Making this a habit keeps us connected and loops each other in on plans for the week, plus we have the opportunity to swap weekend recaps. It’s also a chance to discuss what was just on our favorite news-magazine program that we have just watched simultaneously, which leads me to…
Organize a simultaneous TV/podcast binge, then schedule a weekly recap
You spent a little too much time over Christmas talking about Netflix with your cousins — and that’s okay! It’s fun to reconnect over your shared admiration for Eleven. Since you seem to be caught up on “Stranger Things,” pick a season of an old favorite, or choose a new series to watch simultaneously, then schedule a recap each week.
Email, text each other, or send a series of Snaps — anything works. You can fill the void until the next season returns, expand each other’s Netflix profiles, and stay in touch, all at once. This also works for books and could force you into getting that library card that you definitely need.
Drop a note in the mail
Last Christmas, our family was down a key member — my husband’s Aunt Nancy passed away that October, and her presence was missed dearly. In her honor, each family member wore a purple item (her favorite color) to Christmas Eve dinner. Her husband, Peter, has gone above and beyond that small gesture — carrying on Nancy’s favorite pastime of sending cards to loved ones for special or not-so-special occasions.
Dropping a note in the mail is a simple but sweet way to let family members know you’re thinking of them outside of birthdays and holidays. It also lets those close to you know that they are in your head and your heart.
Plan if you can: schedule the (sibling) trip
Always wanted to see the Bay of Fundy? Ready to eat donuts and explore what’s so hip(ster) about Portland, Oregon? Big or small, make a list of destinations with your siblings and investigate potential trips to take together. Planning the trip will keep you in touch in the months and weeks leading up to the adventure! And planning ahead will help ensure that you actually make it happen.
If funds stand in your way, take turns rotating between the cities in which you live and explore new things to do in each locale. If you live in the same place (lucky you!), make a list of excursions that are within a two-hour drive and set out for adventure.
It’s no small feat to be able to see all of your family around the holidays, let alone enjoy the experience! You may not live near each other, but you can still deepen your relationships with your cousins, siblings, and parents. Incorporating one of these small gestures can help you keep in touch after the holidays.