16 Thoughtful Gifts to Send to 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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November 01, 2021

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 two different colleges, moving to separate states and eventually living in two different countries. The irony is not lost on me.

Our 14-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.

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Spoil your loved ones and spread some serious holiday cheer with a gift from Harry & David. You can choose from hundreds of delectable treats, like Christmas cookies and Royal Riviera pears, or opt for the Grand Gift Box, which includes cinnamon swirl bread and peppermint bark. Harry & David will even deliver the treats to their door, so your loved ones don't have to lift a finger.

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Sometimes the best gifts are the ones they never saw coming. Instantly melt Mom or Dad's heart with this custom signpost listing the locations of all their kids and/or grandkids. Each arrow is painted with a "warmly weathered" finish and stationed on an oxidized steel bar that they can display in the backyard.

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Fact: Distance is no match for good old-fashioned friendship bracelets. Brighten their wardrobe and bridge the gap between you with a pair of these two-toned stretch bracelets. They're available in 13 different hues, so you can easily find a design they'll love and a matching one for your own wrist.

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Maybe you can't be there to read to your niece or nephew in person, but you can still share a story with them. Start with this adorable board book, which follows a poodle named Pierre who learns that waiting is hard but worth it! The charming illustrations and stuffed poodle will remind them of you, and keep them company until you're together again.

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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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Missing your favorite co-worker right about now? Let them know you're thinking of them and rooting for them from afar with this ready-to-ship "Way to Go" gift box. Inside, they'll find a new notebook, a thumbs-up candle and a pair of socks that support education and literacy.

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If you can't squeeze them in person, this cheeky throw is obviously the next best thing. The blanket is crafted from cozy cotton with a soft fringe trim, reads "Very Big Hug" in black text and will give them all the warm and fuzzy feelings every time they see it.

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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, "Side by side or far apart, family will always be close at heart." You can shop the look in ceramic and customize it with your own states.

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Make Mom or Dad feel like everyone's home for the holidays, even if you're celebrating separately, by surprising them with a 16-slot frame for their mantel. You can fill the squares with candids you and your siblings have taken throughout the year or use the professional shots from your Christmas mini photo shoots.

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$84.99 $55
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Give Grandma and Grandpa a way to see everyone and stay connected with their very own Echo Show 5. This compact device will fit neatly on their countertop and allow them to make hands-free calls to other Echo devices 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 or follow recipes step-by-step.

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Give your long-distance partner (or your BFF!) a little piece of you to take everywhere they go and mail them this custom keychain. You'll start by uploading a favorite photo, and then the artist will use acrylic pens to render it into an adorable keepsake.

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

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Let Grandma or Grandpa know that you're thinking of them, especially when you're far apart, by handing them this personalized pillow cover. The canvas material is nice and soft for their favorite chair and can be customized with multiple names at the top and bottom.

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