Holidays Across the Miles


Gift Boxes WrappedIt can be especially tough when you’re in a long-distance relationship and can’t be together for the holidays—whether it be because of military or job circumstances, or because you each plan to spend the holidays with your families on opposite coasts. You might feel added pressure to come up with a meaningful, memorable gift on a tight budget that’s already stretched from buying plane tickets to visit each other, or from paying two separate rents. And yet it can be hard to know what your significant other wants for Christmas when you’re not there to see her eyes light up as she browses a certain catalog, or hanging out in the living room with him and his friends when they all start talking about a great new video game they want. Still, there are things you can do to make finding the perfect present a little easier. Here are some long-distance relationship holiday gift ideas:

  • Give your sweetie something you can do together even while you’re apart, such as a book you can both read and discuss, or a board game you could play over the phone.
  • If you have a visit planned in the next few months, give something you can experience when you’re together. Look for tickets to a concert, play, or sporting event that coincides with your visit. Or, if you two prefer to stay in to make the most of a short visit, a board game is a great choice for a night in together. One that I got as a gift in my long-distance relationship and loved is Photo-Opoly—it’s very similar to Monopoly, but you can customize it with your own property names and photos of places you’ve gone together.
  • If you won’t see each other for a while, why not still give the gift of an experience? Get two tickets to a venue in your s.o.’s city, so he or she can attend a concert or play with a friend.
  • If you don’t see each other often, a homemade gift can be especially meaningful in a long-distance relationship—and easy on the budget, too. The Get Rich Slowly personal-finance blog has a great comprehensive list of do-it-yourself frugal Christmas gift ideas.
  • Along the do-it-yourself gift route, I also love the suggestions for color-themed surprise packages from the Oh Happy Day! blog (these would make a sweet care package if you’re spending Christmas apart), and the surprise balls at Not Martha would make great stocking stuffers.
  • Another great long-distance relationship gift idea is a photo calendar with pictures of the two of you. You can make these lots of places–in-store or online at places like Walgreens and FedEx/Kinko’s, or through online photo sites.
  • Even though you might not have as many opportunities to pick up on hints of what your s.o. wants for Christmas, still keep your ears open. You never know when they’ll say something like “these slippers are falling apart,” giving you the idea to get him or her some new slippers.

Whatever long-distance relationship holiday gifts you choose, remember to check the Postal Service’s holiday shipping guidelines, to make sure those packages arrive on time.

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