As the COVID-19 cases soar, and the lockdown is set into place (again) many of us are heading toward an unfamiliar holiday season. Some people will have their first Thanksgiving without extended family present. I am heartbroken about this, but I understand that it is important. This situation got me thinking: “How can I spread some love to our family from a distance?”. Pictures, videos, technology, and gifts come to mind. There are tons of cute ways to send fellow family members an update, family pix or videos, or adorable gifts that fit the season. Here are a few suggestions below.

Seasonal Gifts –

The Harry and David website has a bunch of great choices for “Thanksgiving gifts” for 1) under $30 2) under $50 or 3) under $75 I clicked on the “under $30” and was surprised to see a plethora of adorable and delicious items. Desserts, coffee, tea, and drink mixes were included in that section. The “under $50” included awesome items like a bloody-Mary kit, an assortment of pies, and even “Cinnabon” brand treats! The “under $75” category has beautiful choices such as quiches, salmon entrees, and “The Cheesecake Factory” brand items. Along with these choices, the website also offers gift baskets and towers. There are some very cute items. Soup gift baskets, seasonal gift baskets, and plenty of fall-centered gift baskets.

Shutterfly Customized Thanksgiving Cards –

Our family loves Shutterfly and their personalized gift and card ideas. When I looked up “Thanksgiving cards”, I was blown away to see one of the choices has a picture of each family member and a space for a short, customizable paragraph stating what they are thankful for underneath their picture. I will definitely be sending these out to Grandparents this year.

Jib Jab Ecards –

Currently, my 5-year-old son and I have been giggling for about ten minutes because we just put his face in a Jib Jab video. His character was dancing and singing a Thanksgiving song and we just couldn’t stop laughing. His little mouth was moving and everything. Jib Jab offers customizable ecards for an array of holidays that you can “share” on social media or send to others. The service is not free, unfortunately. It costs $24 for a year-long subscription. I think it will be worth it for the large variety of cards that we can make and how much fun we had in the short time of making our first video.

Flower Delivery –

Portland Florist here in Northeast Portland has some incredible arrangements and centerpieces that can be delivered to family members/friends. They also have and deliver wine, cake, pieces, coffee, and cookies. I can vouch for this company because it is two blocks away from my house and we adore the place and its offerings. They have a small coffee shop that is connected to the flower shop that we love to visit. The people are so kind, and they could certainly use some business during this COVID-19 crisis.

Donate Time Or Services In Honor Of A Family Member –

Donating is something to feel great about on its own. Donating under a loved one’s name can be a nice way of expressing your love this holiday season. My elderly family members would be absolutely tickled if I made a donation to a food bank in their name. There are plenty of ways to help the under-advantaged this Thanksgiving. “Feeding America” offers three ways to donate: 1) sign an ecard for a family receiving help through the pantry 2) feeding a family through a donation or 3) donating food. The website also suggests volunteering at your local food bank by helping to pack boxes, delivering meals to the elderly, or serving meals if your local food bank allows it at this time.

Utilizing Zoom For Holiday Activities –

I just bumped into an article that had some wonderful ideas for families who are apart this Thanksgiving. Some of the ideas include: a pre-dinner prayer through “Zoom”, dropping off various dishes on family member’s doorsteps (if close in proximity, of course), and a virtual pie-making party. I love these ideas! Not only can give a face-to-face “I love you” through Zoom, but we can keep up rituals and traditions through the app.

Although this unprecedented time has been amazingly hard: I continue to marvel at how humans have adapted their lives to fit social distancing guidelines. We have thrown drive-thru celebrations for graduation and birthdays, delivered heartfelt messages through face-to-face technology, and developed meaningful ways to show our loved ones that we care. I think the holidays will be tough, but we will persevere. My heart breaks for you all that will be missing your family this year. We are feeling the hurt too. But with these ideas, you can let them know them know that you are thinking about them. Best of luck to you all as we head toward our unconventional Thanksgiving and holiday season.