I was blessed to grow up with an extended family who gathered regularly. My mom had five siblings and they have continued to gather for holidays, adding children and grandchildren over the years. Our Christmas gatherings have always been particularly epic, with up to 50 of us celebrating together at a hotel, swimming and eating and enjoying lots of great conversation!
As the years went by, I realized these extended family Christmases are not the norm for everyone. Family members move, lives get busy, and the holidays are more complicated to organize than ever! We don’t live in the same town as either set of our kids’ grandparents and, until this year, we had nieces and nephews living 18 hours away. It takes some work to stay connected with extended family during Christmas, but it doesn’t have to be hard! Here are a few ideas to connect with your extended family during the holidays!
3 Ways to Connect with Extended Family This Christmas
FaceTime Story Time
When extended family lives far away, use technology to spend time together this holiday! Getting to talk to grandparents, aunts and uncles, or cousins via video is fun, but you can also get creative. Try this idea: find a meaningful book and send it as a gift to your family members, then arrange a video chat date to read the book together! A sweet book to use for this idea with younger children is God Bless My Family. The book celebrates the special love shared with parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles, so it would be a great fit to share with any family members. You could also choose a special Christmas book – make it something your family will remember!
If you have extended family living nearby, but you won’t be able to gather on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, plan a fun cookie baking day in the weeks leading up to Christmas! This would be a great tradition to start to enjoy family time together and get holiday baking done at the same time. With younger kids, bake some sugar cookies ahead of time and let them decorate while other baking happens. Make sure you eat some of those sweet treats together, too!
Christmas Card Prayers
I absolutely love receiving Christmas cards from friends and family all over the world, but after opening the cards, they often get tossed to the side and forgotten until the next holiday. I love the idea of gathering the cards received each day and praying over the families they represent! While this doesn’t involve actual physical connection at the time, praying for others involves extra thought and creates a special bond at the same time. If you’d like to take it a step further, have the kids help write out postcards to send back to each family telling them you’re praying for them!
Family is such a blessing and the Christmas season is a great time to let them know how much they mean to you! Make the time to connect with your extended family this holiday and start some new traditions at the same time!
What are some creative ways you purpose to connect with extended family over the holidays?