Skip to main content

5 Tips for Celebrating the Holidays with Faraway Family Members

Making holiday plans when you live far away from your loved ones can be extra tricky — especially with kids in the mix! Learn how to plan for a fun and low-stress holiday season with your long-distance relatives.
mother and child Facetime using tablet on Christmas
Updated: December 1, 2022

1. Behold the Power of Facetime/Skype

Let’s face it: Sometimes a big trip during the bustling holiday season just isn’t feasible with little ones. If a plane or car ride isn't an option, technology is the next best thing. Set up a time to Skype or Facetime with your family and friends. My son is lucky to have two sets of living great-grandparents, and we always Facetime on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other major holidays. Plan ahead and set up a specific time to have a video call while your kids are opening their holiday gifts. Our relatives love seeing my son's excitement first-hand. Even though we're celebrating in two different countries, it feels like we're together!

boy with grandfather

2. Get Creative with the Dates and Locations

While it's ideal to celebrate holidays on their actual date, it may be worth considering a pre- or post-holiday celebration. Traveling a few days or weeks after the holidays may mean less traffic and stress. It gives everyone something to look forward to, and allows children to enjoy gifts over time. We really enjoy traveling after a holiday because it makes us feel like the celebration lasts longer. You might even consider celebrating the holiday somewhere in between you and your faraway relatives. Meeting somewhere in the middle is a nice compromise, and it means that no one has to deal with the stress of hosting!

3. Plan Well for Long Trips

If you've got a long ride ahead of you, research locations that have kid-friendly activities to help break up the trip and your holiday plans. This year, my family is headed on a four-hour ride to celebrate Christmas with my son's grandparents. (Santa, if you're reading this, my wish is for no traffic!) My son is a wonderfully wild 2-year-old, and that means that we will need to stop at least twice. Great spots are indoor playgrounds or trampoline parks, a toy store to pick up something special, or a family-friendly restaurant. Don't forget to pack iPads, or rent several movies from your local library. In case the goin’ gets tough, keep a bag of new toys and trinkets (of the affordable, Dollar Store variety) to introduce on the hour.

4. Recreate Your Child's Routine

Staying somewhere overnight? Bring your child's must-haves like blankets and lovies. Recreating his nighttime routine can help him sleep well and feel safe. While it's unrealistic to stick to your exact schedule, do your best to keep your child in a typical routine as best you can.

boy decorating Christmas tree

5. Make Handmade Gifts

Can’t be together with your long-distance loved ones on the actual holiday? Never underestimate the power of a handmade gift to bring a smile to their face. There are so many wonderful ideas, but a few of my favorites include: hand-painted ornaments, framed artwork, a photo album of yearly highlights, and homemade cookies. These 15 homemade holiday crafts are sure to please.

Please leave a comment to share your own gift ideas and tips for celebrating the holidays with faraway family members! Sending you all good vibes for wonderful holidays filled with lots of love and joy!

FamilyEducation Editorial Staff

About FamilyEducation's Editorial Team

FamilyEducation is a trusted leader in parenting and pregnancy… Read more

Join the Family

Your partner in parenting from baby name inspiration to college planning.