A cross-country move can be an exciting time for any family, but it can also be a sad time for those who you are leaving behind. When a job opportunity came up for my husband, we made the decision to move from Maine to Missouri; leaving my entire family and my home on the East Coast.

Finding ways to stay in touch with my family, especially during the holiday season, has become a fun way for me to keep the lines of communication open across the miles. It has also become a great lesson for my two children on the importance of staying in touch.

Here are eight tried and true tips to help you and your family stay connected with loved ones.

  1. Handmade Items Show aunts and uncles that they’re being thought of year-round by sending them something special that your child has made just for them. It can be something as simple as a coloring sheet from school or a craftier project that was made at home with your help. Applesauce ornaments are fun and easy to mail (see above in slideshow). Bonus: they smell great, too!
  2. Handwritten Letters Invest in some nice children’s stationery from websites like www.Shutterfly.com or TinyPrints.com and have your child’s name or initials printed on them. If they’re not old enough to write, compose the letter as if they were the ones writing it. Seal it up with a monogrammed sticker from iomoi.com.
  3. Pictures Documenting your kids’ milestones is easier than ever with the use of camera phones. Click away and send your pictures via text or upload them to your social networking site of choice. If you use the photo-sharing app, Instagram (Instagram.com), you can order prints on Printstagr.am and have them sent straight to family members. Or, for just $1, you can send a photo as a postcard using Postagram (PostagramApp.com).
  4. Handprint Pottery This one is a no-brainer. Can you say playdate? Take your kids to a local paint-your-own pottery studio, such as The Painted Pig or The Firefly Studio, and let them get messy with paint. Pick out a set of coasters or a mug for your tot to paint and stamp on their handprint or footprint. Your family will feel like they’re part of your child’s milestones and they’ll have a homemade keepsake.
  5. Telephone If your schedule is already hectic, then try to make a phone date with family members. This assures them that they are a top priority and you are teaching your children that a simple phone call can brighten someone’s day.
  6. Blog Not only is this a fun way to document your child’s life, but far-away family will feel included in the everyday workings of your life. Sites like WordPress.com are free and easy to set up.
  7. Skype There’s nothing better than face-to-face time with grandma and grandpa, even if it’s on the computer. Skype is free and the sign up process is easy. Visit Skype.com to get started.
  8. Social Media Facebook isn’t just for teenagers. Grandparents are catching on and it’s fun to see the responses you get from posting a child’s video from their first school play or the most recent picture from today’s park adventure. You can also upload videos of your child singing their A, B, C’s for the first time or of your 1-year-old taking her first steps.