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Holiday Traditions and Connections

How Do You Stay Connected to Those You Love?

Real Simple readers share their strategies for staying in touch.

ScrapbookKate Sears

My oldest daughter just moved to Rome, and I miss her terribly. When she was home over the holidays, we loved to watch our favorite TV show while sharing a cup of hot tea. When she returned to Rome, we connected Skype, a software that allows users to make video-calls over the Internet. We also bought a Slingbox, which is a device that lets her remotely access our home TV through her computer. Through what we have installed, my daughter and I can sit and watch a show together while still enjoying our cup of tea and each other’s company―even if I’m in Texas and she’s in Rome. Of course, her nighttime is now my afternoon time, but it still works and keeps us connected.
Karen Williams
Longview, Texas
I print and send snail-mail postcards made from snapshots of everyday events in my life. Maybe it’s a photo of my nails sporting the new color I love. Or perhaps it’s a glimpse of a pretty winter sunrise, glittering across the frosty lawn. It’s like sending a quick e-mail, but with a personal touch.
Tabea Bruce
Woodinville, Washington
Almost everyone―my mom and dad, my three siblings and I, and some of my nieces and nephews―have cell phones with cameras. We all live far apart, so we keep in touch by sending humorous and cute pictures of our kids, special occasions (like school plays), and what the weather looks like outside. We even send photos of any great new items that we buy. It makes you feel as if you aren’t missing out just because you aren’t there to share it with them in person.
Andrea Keeshan
Citrus Heights, California
It’s the small things: remembering your friend had a doctor’s appointment and asking her how it went, popping in for a surprise random visit, picking up their favorite drinks while at the store, or leaving goofy voice mails that only they would find funny.
Rita Milano
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Our family started a website. Now we can all share stories, news, recipes, and pictures from across the country. It’s like a family reunion every time we log on.
Sarah Sanders
San Anselmo, California
I reach out in a consistent but random manner. I’m not good at keeping up with birthdays, anniversaries, etc. So I just send out a “happy whatever” card, e-card, or e-mail with pictures attached. This way, there is no required response or marathon catch-up sessions. It keeps us in touch and lets loved ones know I care.
Carol Chambers Crumley
Cleveland, Georgia
Because I’m extremely busy and live far away from family and old friends, I actually schedule catch-up time into my planner and look forward to it. This way, I can use my time and energy for long conversations on the phone or to write thoughtful letters or e-mails without interruptions.
Sajani Patel
Portland, Oregon
Our family is spread out throughout Oregon and Washington, so it’s difficult to get everyone together. We rented a house that is central to all our homes, and we enjoyed one another’s company there all weekend. We played games, watched old movies, and stayed up all night talking. We plan to make this an annual event.
Joann Severson
Seattle, Washington
I am still an avid note and letter writer, using stationery I have crafted myself. I include recipes I know a good friend will enjoy cooking (chocolate lava cakes), or I send book reviews to another reader friend. Other friends get coupons, trip recommendations, news stories, or a simple hello. At the end of the day, electronic chat is not my choice. I think a handwritten note goes miles toward making someone know he or she is cared about.
Sandi Kazinski
New York, New York

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