• 50°

Hobbies on a Budget: Ways you can connect with far away cousins

By Sharon Williams

Contributing columnist

There are some people who have all their family living in the same community. But others like — us have — far away cousins. It’s important for us to stay connected even though we are miles apart.

Here are some easy ideas to help create connection and memories with far away cousins.

Staying connected across the miles take a little bit of work but not a lot of money. Sending occasional letters, texts and making time to get together can keep cousins close even if they live far away.

Cement memories with pictures: Periodic in-person get-togethers are crucial. We love getting together with the cousins and doing fun activities, but it can’t happen all the time. So when we do get together, we take lots of pictures. These pictures serve as visual reminders of time spent together even when though we can’t be together very often.

Send silly gifts: Sometimes it really is the thought that counts more than the value of the gift.

It’s hard to send a hug or a smile through the mail, but it is easy to send something that will show you care.

We ordered some super silly poop emojis and splat balls from Oriental Trading to add to our cousin gifts. We knew that all of the cousins of all ages would get a laugh out of opening a package with smiling poop.

Think about postage weight: Mailing care packages does not have to cost a fortune. It’s possible to send a fun gift without using large boxes. Stickers, tattoos, pencils or rubber bracelets are great items to drop in small envelopes and still deliver lots of fun.

Little finger puppets or small stuffed animals don’t add much weight to a package and can be lots of fun to pop into a fun cousin gift.

Don’t worry about age: Cousins can get by with sending fun stuff.

After all, it doesn’t really matter if you are 2 or 20, all boys have some things in common. The youngest and oldest nephew both share a love for “Star Wars,” splat balls and can laugh at poop, right?

Send a text: Now that some of the cousins are older, it’s important for us to send occasional texts. This is a great tool that helps us connect when we hear that they are having a bad day or just need a note from family.

Remember their schedule. Most teens are not supposed to get texts or calls during the school day and could potentially get in trouble with teachers.

So don’t send messages during school hours.

Don’t overload them with too many texts or pictures. Yes, you want to stay connected, but they don’t need to be bombarded with messages.

Don’t expect an answer every time. Sometimes it’s enough to just check in with them periodically without expecting a full conversation.

Notice the special things: Sure it’s important to remember birthdays and Christmas, but sometimes it’s the other things that are just as special! Did one of the cousins get sick, lose a first tooth or have a big day at school?

Send something a note, text or small gift to celebrate and show that you are aware of what is going on in their lives.

When it comes down to it, we know two things: cousins need to stay connected and distance should not be a factor.

What can you do today to help stay connected?

Can you send a fun package to the cousins in your life, make a phone call or reach out?

I’d love to hear your fun ideas for staying connected to the far away cousins in your life!

For more ideas about hobbies and life, check out Hobbies on a Budget (www.hobbiesonabudget.com).