Has the economy grounded your holiday travel plans? When money is tight, traveling out-of-state to see your family over the holidays is tough on a budget.
It’s not the end of the world however. Just because your family is out of state doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate the holidays with them. Here’s five budget friendly ways that can make celebrating the holidays with out-of-state family members possible even when traveling isn’t an option.
1. Take a video of holiday decorations & festivities where you live. My family is spread all over the northwest and it isn’t too often that we can get together for the holidays. One way we all get to share holiday experiences is by making video clips of holiday celebrations and preparations where we live. Christmas trees, holiday decorations, tree lighting ceremonies, snowmen building, caroling, and other fun holiday celebrations are turned into a holiday video that is then posted on-line for all of us to share. Viewing how others are enjoying the holiday is a wonderful way of being there in spirit even when travel is impossible.
2. Send gifts by mail. To accompany a homespun holiday video should be some Christmas presents. Even on a budget, it’s possible to whip together some homemade cookies and candies for your out of state family, along with handmade treasures such as soaps, knitted scarves, original poetry, a “holiday mix” CD you’ve assembled, or homemade jewelry. For the best budget friendly shipping rates, holiday gifts should go in the mail at least four weeks ahead of Christmas and sent parcel post.
3. Agree on a time to light advent candles. Does your family have a tradition of lighting advent candles every Sunday in December? If so, it’s nice to have some budget sized advent candles of your own that you can light the exact time that your out-of-state family is lighting theirs.
4. Set up a family holiday chat on Facebook. When my 20-something son was stationed out of the country last Christmas, being able to chat via Facebook was a great way to have an almost normal conversation. Networking sites such as Facebook provide a way for the family to get together for a visit even when spread all over the US.
5. Pick up the phone and give them a call. When I was a kid, a phone call was the only way possible for our family to extend “real time” holiday greetings to family members who lived overseas. A personal telephone call continues to be the very best way to join your out-of-state family in celebrating the holidays. If your cell phone plan doesn’t include free long distance, a budget friendly option is to purchase a long distance calling card at your favorite discount department store.