Thank you to Cricket Wireless for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.
**UPDATE** The contest is over, and the winner has been notified. Thank you!
Nine years ago, my husband and I packed up our two young children and moved out of the state where we had both lived our entire lives, and where all our family still lived. We love our new state, but we definitely missed everyone that first holiday season (and every season since)! We still try hard to stay close to our families over the holidays and to make sure our kids get to connect with their grandparents and aunts and uncles during the holiday season.
Here are some of the ways we stay close with our families during The Most Wonderful Time of the Year:
1) Give some little gifts
We always exchange presents with our family, of course. But the first year we moved here, Starbucks had these dark chocolate squares, flavored with peppermint and wrapped in shiny red paper—anyone else remember those? Can we start a movement to get those back?
Here’s the thing—we didn’t move to the moon, we moved to Colorado. Of course there are Starbucks stores here. But Mom tucked a little bag of those chocolates in with our presents, and it’s the one thing I remember out of everything she sent that year. Another year, my mother-in-law came out for Christmas, and brought an entire bag of nothing but Trader Joe’s products (before we had one here). I don’t think anything in that bag cost more than $4, but it was an awesome Christmas present. Sometimes it’s the little things—things you pick up that just remind you of a loved one…little things that make the receiver feel known and loved and let you know that these are your people.
2) Make an appointment to talk
It might sound silly to put a phone call on your calendar. But during this busy season, sometimes that’s what you need. Plan it and pick a time when none of the kids have sports or recitals to call your family, or pick the same time each week (like Sunday at 2 pm), and talk each week. Cricket Wireless can help you with this. They have some great online and in-store deals going on from November through early next year, including a $100 Cricket Shopping Card when you switch over to them from November 20-December 6.1
From November 30-December 3, they’re also offering half-off Cricket’s Samsung Galaxy S® series online only2 and a TON of other deals online. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is now $99.99, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is now $199.99, and the Samsung Galaxy S6 is now $249.99.
Get Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime for $29.99 when you switch to Cricket.3 You can also choose from four 4G LTE smartphones for FREE4 after a mail-in rebate Cricket VISA Promotion Card. Both of these deals are good through January 7, 2016.
3) Skype and send videos to each other
It feels like the kids have an entire month of recitals, plays, musicals, and other holiday performances. We try to share these with family—either live or by taping them and uploading to Facebook or to a secure storage site like Dropbox. Make sure you’re appropriate—you can send live video of things like band halftime performances or football games, but for formal piano recitals or church performances, you’re better off recording and sharing later. Or give Grandma and Grandpa a live performance at home — have the kids play or sing while you Skype. (Cricket’s plans are great for that, too, and the Samsung Galaxy S® phones they have on sale have an amazing amount of storage for saving your videos and pictures!)
Even if you’re not in the same place, you can share family traditions that bind you together. Share pictures of different family members doing the same thing. Look at pictures of past Christmases and other events with the family who can’t be there with you. Remember together!
5) Send pictures and texts whenever you happen to think of them
I tend to only send pictures of specific events — everyone posed in their Christmas clothes or one of the kids standing next to the tree we just put up. I’m getting better at just sending pictures of random things we do during the day. Send a quick text and a picture of the kids playing in the snow, or curled up on the couch reading. Little, daily activities we probably take for granted are important to grandparents and loved ones who can’t be there.
We miss our family a lot over the holidays — but really, it’s a good problem to have, being so loved from across the country.
Do you live near family? How do you stay connected over the holidays? Share your ideas in the comments for a chance to win this guy:
To win, just comment below with how you stay close to loved ones during the holidays (winner will be announced on December 15, 2015. The gift will be shipped to you by January 31, 2016. U.S. residents only, gift cannot be shipped to a P.O. Box.)
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1 Cricket Shopping Card Offer: Ends 12/06/15. Must submit rebate form by 1/4/16. New lines only. Excludes ports from AT&T. Req’s min. $40/mo. smartphone plan. Must be active & in good standing and make 2nd svc payment w/in 45 days to get Card. Activation fee: up to $25. Cricket Shopping Card: is a promotion card. This Card is issued by CenterState Bank of Florida, NA. Card may only be used toward purchases of Cricket wireless products and services in Cricket stores, at cricketwireless.com or to pay your wireless bill. Card is not redeemable for cash & may not be used for cash withdrawal at any cash-dispensing locations. Card is non-transferable and non-refundable. Funds are available for 150 days after the Card issuance, through the “EXPIRATION DATE” shown on the Card. Limit: 5. Restrictions &other charges apply. Svc not avail. everywhere. Offer subject to change & may be terminated at any time without notice. For cardholder agreement and complete terms and conditions, visit http://mycrk.it/RebateTerms. ©2015 Cricket Wireless LLC. All rights reserved.
2 Samsung Galaxy S Offer: Ends 12/03/15. While supplies last. Valid online only at www.cricketwireless.com. New qual. plan required on Samsung Galaxy S smartphone ($40/month minimum). Customers get instant discount at point of sale, taxes additional. First month service change & other associated fees due at sale. Restocking fee for smartphone return up to $25 may apply. Other charges and restrictions apply.
3 *Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime Offer: Offer ends 1/7/16. New lines only. Porting number required. Excludes ports from AT&T. First month svc charge due at sale. Cannot be combined with Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime Mail-In Rebate Offer. Activation Fee: Up to $25/line. Taxes, fees, charges & restrictions apply. Restocking Fee: Up to $25. Pricing, terms & restr’s subject to change and may be modified, or terminated at any time without notice. Coverage & svc not avail. everywhere. See store for offer details.
4 Valid 11/13/15 – 01/07/16 on Motorola Moto E ($49.99), ZTE Overture 2 ($39.99), LG Risio ($29.99), and Nokia Lumia 635 ($19.99). While supplies last. Submit rebate form by 2/6/16. Must port number from another carrier (excludes AT&T ports) and activate new smartphone plan (min $40/mo). Phone price/ tax due at sale. Void in CT, RI, and Miami-Dade County, FL. Promotion Card, issued by MetaBank®, member FDIC, or CenterState Bank of Florida, NA pursuant to license from VISA U.S.A. Inc., is not redeemable for cash & may not be used for cash withdrawal at any cash-dispensing locations or at automated gasoline pumps. Card may be used to pay for your wireless bill. Card valid where VISA debit cards are accepted for 150 days after Card issuance. Must be active & in good standing for 45 days. Must make 2nd service payment w/i 45 days of activation. Limit 5 offers per household. Allow up to 8 wks for fulfillment. Restocking fee up to $25 may apply. In-store activation fee up to $25 may apply. Other charges & restr’s apply. Offer subject to change & may be terminated at any time without notice. For Card terms, visit http:/mycrk.it/RebateTerms.