How to Stregthen Family Relationships During Holidays


My family is spread out all over the country. My parents live in Central America where my dad is working, my brother lives in North Dakota, and my sister lives in Las Vegas. Having extra time off of school and work during the holidays is a great way to reconnect and strengthen family relationships that may or may not have been a little bit neglected during our regular busy lives.

Brothers and sister sitting by Christmas tree with hot chocolate

I love having extra time off of school in December to spend time with my family and friends. With my family spread out all over the place, it's more important than ever to connect with family during the holidays.

How to Strengthen Family Relationships During the Holidays

Here are 5 ideas to help you connect and strengthen relationships with your family, near and far, during the holidays:

1. Family dinners

Being busy during the week, it is nice to drive to my sister's house out of the city and eat a (not burned, like most of my home-cooked meals) dinner with my family one night a week. Getting to catch up, see what my nieces and nephews learned during the week, and share stories with my sister has become one of my favorite times of the week. Plus, studies show that eating dinner as a family can have some positive benefits for your kids.

2. Meaningfully Connect ... Virtually

Virtually connecting is a great way to spend time with family that live far away. Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangout, etc. are all ways to connect in meaningful ways virtually. Steven Mintz of the University of Texas-Austin, an expert on the history of the family says, "There is a tremendous anxiety over disconnection in our modern world. ... We've embraced technology because it has really allowed us to maintain in real time a connection to people we really care about."

3. Sending Notes Via the Post

One of my favorite things in the world is getting mail. I have no idea why, but I live for the moments when I open my little mailbox and see an envelope with my name on it. Icing on the cake is when I get a love note, encouragement note, or just a simple "I love you," from someone in my family. What's better than getting? Giving, of course. Go and write a cute, quick note and mail it someone in your family. It will make your day AND theirs!

4. Phone dates

Living out of state from your family can be hard. Especially during the holiday season when there is a huge emphasis on being with your family. Scheduling a weekly phone call to connect with your parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. can help make sure you are actively invested in each others' lives.

5. Add Traditions

Are there new additions to your family? Are you spending the holidays for the first time with: step kids, new sister-in-law, or your dad's new girlfriend? Well, a study shows that 75% of all families in America are non-traditional. The same study also showed that adding new traditions that include these new family members can strengthen your overall relationship.

What things do you do to strengthen relationships with your family over the holidays?

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.

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Brooke Johnson


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