I have lived most of my life in or near my hometown. But we run into the long-distance thing because many family members have moved away.
We see three of our children often. Two, though, live across the country with their families. We miss them a lot, especially during the holiday season. If it weren't for social media, it would be much harder. But we can show each other photos, and videos, and send messages and emails.
Shopping for gifts can be done online, or by catalogue, and delivered to their distant doors at the tap of a computer key (and a credit card number). Or with some planning to get things mailed off early enough, we buy some presents and saturate them with as much love as we can squeeze into the parcels.
We get to see photos of gifts being unwrapped, grandchildren's laughter and bright eyes and parents' smiles. Love is typed, spoken in a video chat, and thus exchanged.
Life was chaotic when all our kids used to be home for the holidays. Lots of people in the house, and usually they would come with their partners. The tree would be crowded with an avalanche of presents. A few of my kids would sit and shake the parcels, but that's another story.
Things were hectic but natural, I guess you could say. Now, with half the family living a long distance away, a little more advanced planning is necessary.
Those kids are not going to come bursting through the door any time soon, so it's important to plan the contact you want.
Do you want to Skype? Work out when you want to do it and make a date, everyone's December schedule fills up quickly. Want to share an actual morning or evening of gift opening and decorations? Make sure someone takes as many pictures or videos as possible, because if you forget till everything is done ... it's done.
Camera-shy? Prone to stage fright? Hate your hair? Does your mind go blank when you're put on the spot in front of a web cam or Skype screen? Too bad. Get over it. This is the way you can make contact, and it matters for your children as much as it does for you. Maybe more. Especially if they are the ones far from home.