Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Gift Basket for Faraway Family Members

I know very well what it's like to have family who live far away. When I was growing up, my grandparents and aunts/uncles and cousins lived across the ocean. When I had my own kids, their grandparents and aunts/ uncles lived on the other side of the country. Now that my sister has 2 small children, the youngest of whom I've never met, this being far away has hit me again. How can we show far away family, especially when children are involved, that we want to be close and stay connected?

We could design a gift basket for family members who live far away, just to say we care. We would put into it several mementos that make the distance between us seem smaller.

If we have young children, we could send grandparents a digital picture frame. In case you're wondering what a digital picture frame is; it is a device about the size and shape of a picture frame that has a LCD screen. The screen displays multiple photos in a slide show format, and it connects to the Internet via the phone line to download new pictures and information to display. You use your computer to upload photos to a website and every day the frame uses the phone line to connect to the website and download any new photos. This is an ideal way to send digital photos of the family to grandparents who lack a computer and/or the skills to use one.

We could also include a DVD, or a video depending on the equipment we and they have, of some recent activity; perhaps our child scoring a goal at soccer or performing in a recital, or even just a family picnic or something like that. Photos are great, certainly better than nothing, but they just don't show you what the child is really like as well as video does. They don't give you as much of a feeling of being there as a movie does. We could also include a tape (either audiotape or videotape) of our child giving the recipient a special message.

Of course we could always send regular photos too. One idea to make a photo special is to cut out the shape of the children (the important part) and have it glued onto a plastic block so that it stands upright by itself. Another idea is to frame the photo in a magnetic frame that is suitable for the holiday so that it is easy to put on the fridge. I have one on my fridge right now that is a heart frame for Valentines Day. You can often get these at places like Target. We could include a picture the child has drawn or painted, or even a small thing the child has made himself if the child likes to do crafts.

Of course, most of these ideas are not just for children and grandparents, although I know that the time when you feel the farthest away from your family is when either you are a child away from grandparents, or you are away from a small child, especially a grandchild. These ideas can be applied to any faraway family members. When family members move away is when they most need to know that we're thinking of them. A gift basket would be a great way to reassure them of this.

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