10 ways to stay in touch with long-distance family

In the United States today, millions of children grow up hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles away from their grandparents and extended family members. But as new technologies (and some old fashioned creativity) make it easier than ever to connect with those who are far away, more families are finding innovative ways to share life and love across the miles.

Here are our 10 favorite ways to stay in touch with loved ones far away:

Touchnote provides effortless postcard and greeting card sending from your computer, mobile, or tablet. No need to visit the post office or buy a stamp. Buy a single card or a package of postcards and Touchnote will ship your personalized cards directly to family. Aren't you thoughtful!

Create a Kindred Prints photo booklet in a few taps on your smartphone. Every month you'll pull recent photos from your phone, Facebook and Instagram accounts. You can quickly select your favorite ones and approve the order. Kindred does the rest! Voila!

Hallmark features a recordable storybook, allowing you to record your own voice reading a story to a family member far away.

Create a Smash Book! The scrapbooking project for those of us that are less-than-perfect crafters. By embracing the imperfect, Smash Books make it easy to record memories and experiences in real time, so you can more easily remember and share memories.

Plan a StoryCorps intervieweither for over the phone, or for your next visit together. The organization, which records historical and personal interviews for posterity, has generated helpful suggestions for recording a conversation of your own, depending on the person you're interviewing. StoryCorps has made it easy, but now you have to ask the questions!

Make a Little Box of Sunshine! Create a fun package to get your kids to do and send to family that lives far away. Who doesn't love a care package with happiness boxed inside? You can keep the contents simple, it's the thought that really counts.

Book special dates on FaceTime where Grandma/Grandpa/other family and friends reads your child a story before bed. Ask your child to pick out the book — you can even mail it in advance.

"Mail a hug": Trace your hands, measure your arm length from wrist to wrist, glue together. It's not quite as squeezy as a real one, but a mail hug will do until next time.

Send inexpensive plastic cameras to your family members and include pre-addressed, stamped padded envelopes for their easy return. Go old school and develop the film and have your child share stories of his or her adventures over the phone.

Turn a family photo into a puzzle using one of several online photo services. Spend the time talking about family members and memories while putting the pieces together. You're a family, whether the pieces are scattered around the country (or the world!), or all nestled in tight together.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.


Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.


Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.


Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!


Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.


Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.


'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."


Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.


Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.


Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!


Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.


Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.


Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.


Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


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