10 Thoughtful Gift Ideas for Long-Distance Friends and Family

You might not be together, but you'll feel closer than ever with these sweet and sentimental gift ideas.

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October 16, 2020

When we were kids, my best friend and I pinky-swore that we'd buy houses right next to each other one day when we became "real adults." So, of course, we ended up attending different colleges, moving to separate states and eventually living in two different countries. The irony is not lost on me.

Our 13-years-strong long-distance friendship has taught me a lot about staying connected, though, like how a simple "thinking of you" gift can always help bridge the distance. If you're apart from your own friends and family this year, try sending a token of your love with these sweet and sentimental gift ideas.


Send your sibling or childhood bestie some love from afar with a hand-poured scented candle inspired by your hometown. They'll love how the sleek glass container complements their decor, while the distinctive notes spark nostalgia for you and the place where you grew up together.

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Okay, we may have teared up a little when we saw this one. If you live a few hours away and won't be home for the holidays, add a special touch to Mom's tree with a pretty personalized ornament that reads, "The Love Between a Mother and Daughter Knows No Distance." You can shop the look in aluminum or ceramic and customize it with your own states.

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Make Dad feel like everyone's home for the holidays, even if you're celebrating separately, by surprising him with this 16-slot frame for his mantel. You can fill the squares with candids that you and your siblings have taken throughout the year or use the professional shots from your annual Christmas card shoot.

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If you can't squeeze them in person, then sending this "Very Big Hug" blanket from Calhoun and Co. is a pretty close second. The black-and-white throw is crafted from quality cotton with fringe trim and will give your favorite homebody all the warm and fuzzy feelings.

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$89.99 $75
17% Off!

Give Grandma and Grandpa a way to see everyone and stay connected until your next visit with this Echo Show 5. The compact device will fit neatly on their countertop or living room side table and allow them to make hands-free calls to another Echo device or via Skype. And when they're not chatting with their favorite people? They can use the crisp 5.5-inch screen to watch the news, check traffic and cook step-by-step with different recipes.

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$48 (Set of 4)

This year might have postponed engagement parties, bridal showers and weddings, but it can't stop all the love and excitement you feel for the happy couple. Lift their spirits and surprise them with a set of these sweet, celebratory coasters that they can use before and after their big day. Each one has a gilded edge, a colorful center and a note that reads, "Pop, Fizz, Sip, and Clink."

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What better way to spoil your crafty sister or sister-in-law than with a bouquet of flowers that she actually gets to embroider? The kit comes with everything she needs, from the wooden hoop to the colorful DMC thread, and will make a cheerful piece of wall art that she can enjoy for years.

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Miss grabbing lunch with your work spouse? Let them know you're thinking of them and already looking forward to your future outing with this ready-to-ship gift box. Inside, they'll find a portable salad container, reusable napkins, a glass water bottle, a bottle of simple syrup (for virtual happy hours to come), champagne gummy bears and a small box full of motivational messages.

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Maybe you can't be there to read to your niece or nephew in person, but you can still share your favorite books with them. Start with this beautiful box set from Rifle Paper Co., which features beloved classics like A Little Princess, Little Women, Heidi and Anne of Green Gables. The charming, illustrated hardcovers will remind them of you and make an adorable addition to their little libraries, too.

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29% Off!

We all have that one person with whom we love to split a bottle and watch reality TV or cheesy movies. Treat yours to a cozy night in with this thoughtful wine kit. The set includes all the essentials: markers for labeling glasses, a golden corkscrew and three stain-removing towelettes, plus a few fun extras like wine stoppers, fuzzy socks and "Time to Wine Down" coasters.

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