35 Thoughtful Gifts to Send to Long-Distance Family and Friends

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

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November 13, 2023

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

Harry & David

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 the Grand Gift Box, which includes cinnamon swirl bread, pears, trail mix and other delicious sweets. For more gourmet food gift ideas, head over to Williams Sonoma and treat your loved ones to a gourmet nut set or even an Italian Pantry Gift Crate to enjoy during the holidays.

Etsy | YayPersonalizedGifts

You're never too far away to wine together. Show your favorite person how much you care (and add one more vessel to their collection) with this stemless wine glass. Simply select the two states that you'd like to engrave, and the artist will take care of the rest.


Build even more excitement for an upcoming visit by surprising your loved one with a new weekender bag. They'll smile from ear to ear when they see this handsome duffel from Calpak, which boasts a roomy central compartment and a separate section for their shoes. The duffel comes in five colors (and a few limited-edition ones) so that you can find the right finish for their unique style. And if they already have the perfect bag? Swap in a comfy in-flight throw blanket, an ergonomic neck pillow or a cheeky "Love This Journey for You" travel kit.

Uncommon Goods

For the grandparents who can't be there to witness the milestones for themselves, we suggest this incredibly thoughtful and innovative video book. You'll upload a 10- or 20-minute "message" (think the baby's first steps or the older kiddos singing carols just for Grandma and Grandpa) and select a special cover. Then the experts will convert everything into one precious, physical keepsake.

Uncommon Goods

When words fail to convey just how much you miss your person, there's always the language of flowers. Let these dainty, sky-blue blooms do the talking, and send your long-distance loved one a mini bouquet of forget-me-nots. This kit has everything they need to grow the flowers at home, from seeds to a soilless grow medium. You can also easily send the same message with a forget-me-not bracelet, necklace or trinket tray.

From $45
Artifact Uprising

What do you get a long-distance little one, you ask? Try a board book featuring some familiar faces. We love this design from Artifact Uprising because it features thick pages and a solid spine that's perfect for small hands, and you can customize the layout with your own photos and text. In turn, baby will feel your love even if they haven't seen you in a while.

$38 $29
24% Off!

Send your sibling or childhood bestie some love from afar with a scented candle inspired by your home state. Each candle is made from natural soy wax and comes hand-poured in a sleek glass jar. You can choose from 17 major cities (or all 50 states) and trust that the fragrance will spark some serious nostalgia for you and the place you grew up together.

$74.99 $59.99
20% Off!

If you can't split a bottle of rosé and watch your favorite reality shows in person, then this gift set is definitely the next best thing. Treat your long-distance best friend to the ultimate girls' night with some essentials delivered right to her door. The set includes a stemless wine glass, Belvoir Farm Elderflower & Rose Lemonade, sparkling rosé cordials, popcorn, Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Raspberry Squares and more.


There's something so sweet about snail mail. Set the intention to stay in touch — whether with a best friend or a partner — by sending them this "Year of Connection" card kit. Inside the box, they'll find 52 cards (that's one for each week) they can use to write to you, along with a journal to jot down important things they don't want to forget.

$3.82 (Each)
Etsy | claraandmacy

Missing your favorite co-worker right about now? Send the message loud and clear with these positive affirmation pencils. Each writing tool has an encouraging phrase stamped into the side, plus a silver tip that will add a bit of shimmer to their desk. They'll think of you and how you're cheering them on from afar every time they have to take notes.


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 features a poodle named Pierre who learns that waiting is hard but worth it. Plus the stuffed poodle will keep them company until you're finally reunited.

From $17.56
Etsy | UpsideOverDesign

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.


Distance is no match for good old-fashioned friendship bracelets. Brighten their wardrobe and bridge the gap between you with a pair of coordinating semi-precious bracelets. The stylish design features multi-color beads on an elastic band, so the accessory will feel nice and light on their wrist. They'll think of you every time they wear it!


If you spend hours connecting over FaceTime or WhatsApp, then make the time more comfortable by gifting your loved one a new phone stand. This clever accessory will put their device at the perfect angle and even includes small rubber pads on the bottom to protect their furniture from scratches. Need more ideas? Try a portable charger, a grip for their case or noise-canceling headphones for when they're in public spaces.

From $17
Etsy | ByZoeW

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

From $20
Etsy | ShoreToLoveGifts

Let Grandma or Grandpa know that you're thinking of them, especially when you're far apart, by sending 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.


Fresh flowers are nice, but why not send your crafty sister or sister-in-law a bouquet that she can keep forever? This embroidery kit is a fun activity and thoughtful gift in one and includes everything she needs to recreate those beautiful blooms. When she's done, she can display the hoop on a wall or shelf.


Make Mom or Dad feel like everyone's home for the holidays, even if you're celebrating separately, by surprising them with a digital picture frame for their mantel. You and your siblings can send photos or small videos directly to the Frameo app, then your parents can instantly view those special moments.

Etsy | CalhounAndCo

When you can't squeeze them in person, this cozy throw makes a pretty good stand-in. Give your parents, partner or college-aged kids all of the warm and fuzzy feelings with this "Very Big Hug" blanket. The accent is woven from snuggly cotton, has a soft fringe trim and is suitable for the washing machine.

From $155
Uncommon Goods

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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