Awesome Long-Distance Birthday Ideas

It doesn’t matter if it’s your partner, sibling, parent, child, or simply your BFF, being separated by distance is always hard. It can make you very jealous of people who get to see each other all the time. But birthdays can be the toughest of all. You want to make them feel extra special and loved, but you are there.

Birthday Party in A Box

If you can’t be there in-person to throw a birthday party, send them one in a box. You can DIY this. It is a super fun surprise, complete with card, balloons, confetti, sweet treat, and a personal note from you.

Best of all, most of the work is done by you.

Make a Video

Record yourself singing or saying happy birthday. You can send it privately, or make a public declaration of those long-distance birthday wishes on Facebook or even YouTube.

You can also make a cute montage. There are a lot of sites that allow you to easily create a video montage from friends and family and make their birthday even more special.

Send a Smile-a-Day

Glass jar with colored notes with blur and toning

Sending someone you love a whole bunch of open when notes is a great idea. Notes are a long-distance relationship gift that keeps giving for weeks.

But if you want to take it up a level, and get crafty, fill a glass jar or tin with personal notes, and customize the colours, trim, and package it cute. It will be gorgeous and personal. You can’t go wrong with it.

Throw a Virtual Birthday Surprise Party

Use Skype or Facetime or any kind of app like that, to connect friends from different locations to host a virtual party.

Make it even more fun by a party horn, and a hat to all those included in on the birthday surprise.

Advent Calendar

You’re probably used to advent calendars for Christmas, but what about making one that counts down to a birthday. Whether beautifully handmade or store-bought and re-done there are some lovely designs ideas out there.

The hard part is getting it done and sending it a month in advance.

Send Balloons and Flowers

Get balloons filled with helium, find the perfect flowers arrangement, and put them in a large box. You need to find a company that can safely send flowers overseas, so they are still intact when the birthday person opens the box.

Unfortunately, latex balloons stay afloat for a very short time with helium, so perhaps try Mylar balloons if you are sending in the mail.

Take Them on an Online Shopping Spree

Everyone enjoys online shopping. You can use all the different sites and apps to surf the web with someone anywhere else in the world. Surf some fun shops together and have a great time.

Let them pick a fun gift, your treat.

Even if you don’t end up purchasing a lot of things, you will find lots of fun items to laugh about.

Map Art of a Special Place

The most meaningful gifts are usually personal, so whether you get crafty yourself or let a professional artisan handle it, a map of a place full of shared memories is a beautiful and creative way to say that you are thinking of them.

Telegram Them

Even though email is awesome, but once in a while, it’s fun to do things the old-fashioned way. When it comes to communication you can’t get much more old-fashioned than sending a telegram.

Telegram stop charges one flat rate to send a telegram anywhere in the world, so it won’t be expensive.

Send a Birthday Countdown

Send a whole week of envelopes or small boxes leading up to the big day.

Label each envelope or box with which day to open each one. Put in a fun note, memory, photo, or treat in each one up to their birthday.

Whatever you choose to do, sending long-distance birthday gifts to your loved ones will most definitely make them smile.

A Sentimental Scent

Neurologists say that smell is linked with memory more so than any of our other senses, so try and find a scent that reminds you of a place that you were at together. Gift the feeling of cuddling up at home together in the scientifically-proven best way possible.

A Ticket To Meet

When you’re in a long-distance relationship, time together is the best present you can gift. Travel to see each other is a must, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a present too. Consider buying a ticket for the person to come and see you, or the other way around.

Use Happy Pictures

Remembering the good times you’ve had makes you happier. If you’ve got photos of the two of you having fun, why not pull some of these together to create a highlight reel of happy memories.

You can do this the old-fashioned way with photos and a glue-stick. Find the perfect photo album and make start putting it together.

If a photo book is not your thing, think about buying them an electronic photo frame and loading it up with happy pictures.

A Special Cut Out Card

Store-bought cards are so boring and not personal. Make your cut out the card and truly express your feelings to the person you are making it for. Make their day by sending them your very own handmade and beautiful card with a unique message from your heart. It is guaranteed that they will appreciate the effort you put in and they do not need to know how easy it was to make.

Because wooing them in real life isn’t an option it that moment, these are the things to offer makeshift dates, cuddles, and more to let your people know that they’re always on your mind. Some are mushy gifts and some are more on the practical side, depending on if you need to up the romance or simply make their life easier, but no matter what you send them, they will be thankful for it beyond words.

How To Find The Perfect Gift For Senior Family And Friends

Seniors are a discerning bunch; they have often lived rich lives, developed a wide range of hobbies, and probably have all the equipment they need at home and in the garage. This can make gift buying a challenge. How to ensure you don’t succumb to the typical present of perfume or socks this year? By thinking a little out of the box and getting them something they never expected – including art, fitness and experience based gifts!

Art is the Gift that Never Fades

The effect on art on the human psyche has long been studied, with recent studies showing that both contemplating and creating art, can help put us into a mindful mood, lower stress, and make us feel more positive. Imagine the face on your parent or grandparent when they realize that you have bought them a gift that will engross and entertain them for many years to come. Art has a wonderful ability to adapt to our frame of mind, and keen art lovers know that the way we view particular paintings or sculptures changes as time goes by.

Keeping them Fighting Fit

Doctors are constantly warning us of the dangers of the sedentary lifestyle; in seniors, it is particularly important to stay active, since strengthening muscles and bones will help them avoid falls and fractures, and a bit of daily cardio will ensure they keep obesity at bay. One cool gift mature persons love is a fitness tracker, which will indicate how many steps they have taken on a given day, and also track their heart rate and other statistics. Most trackers are lightweight and come in a number of colors, so finding the right model for your loved one will be easy.

Giving an Experience

Find out what items on your friend or family member’s bucket list they have yet to achieve. While buying them a ticket to the Maldives might be a little more than you bargained for, they may list down experiences that you can make possible – for instance, a soothing massage at a luxury spa, a lovely meal at a romantic restaurant, or a night at a hotel they have always dreamed of staying at. Another gift mature people love, is entertainment – tickets to the opera, perhaps, or to a classical music concert. Do they love a band they haven’t seen perform in ages? (e.g. the Rolling Stones or similar)? Nothing is quite as fun as watching one’s favorite band perform!

Gifts for seniors can be so much more exciting than unimaginable gifts such as ties, socks, or grooming products. Would you like to receive any of these gifts? Probably not. Give the mature person in your life something that will ignite their imagination or improve their health. If you can, surprise them with an experience that will provide them with a wonderful memory for many years to come.

Recreating A Victorian Christmas: It’s Not As Difficult As You Think By Eve Pearce

539770-bigthumbnailA winter festival has been celebrated since pagan times but it wasn’t until the Victorian era (1837-1901) that traditions that are associated with Christmas really took off and the season began to resemble modern-day Christmas.
You may have thought that Christmas cards, Christmas crackers, turkey dinner with too much punch and opulent toy store displays were symbols of the commercialism that comes with today’s festive season, but they actually had their origins in Victorian times.

Christmas Cards

The Christmas card was born in 1843 when wealthy business man, Henry Cole, hired an artist to design a card for Christmas.  The artist drew a family around the dining table and it contained a festive message.  The cards were sold for an impressive one shilling each, putting them out of the reach of most ordinary people.  The expense meant that children were encouraged to make their own, before mass printing techniques in the 1880’s brought the price down.

To make your own Victorian Christmas cards, just follow these simple steps:
1 Create lace effect paper using strips of ordinary plain paper and cut out a scalloped edge.  You can do this via a template or draw your own.
2. Place a folded cloth under your paper to protect your table and then use a pin to make lots of tiny holes in your paper – this will give it the appearance of lace.  If children are making the cards, please ensure you supervise them.
3. Stick your ‘lace’ paper along the edge of a piece of white card.
4. Stick a Victorian picture onto the front of your card – or if you want to have a go at recycling you could use pictures from last year’s cards or cut them out from leftover Victoriana gift wrap.  Examples of the types of illustrations that adorned Victorian cards can be found from an original collection at the Library of Birmingham.
If you are unsure, you can also watch an instructional video by the BBC.

Christmas Crackers

In 1847, a confectioner called Tom Smith was looking for a new and inventive way to sell sweets with a bang.  He had discovered the sugared almond ‘bon bon’ in France and wanted to make it more popular with his customers in Britain, so he began by wrapping the bon bons in paper tissue with a love moto. The idea for the cracker was inspired by the sound of a log crackling in the fireplace. Tom thought that to combine the wrapped sweets and motto with a crackle would make them more appealing for Christmas.  He experimented with chemical compounds until he found one that made a bang when the paper was torn. The iconic cracker had arrived.

You can make your own crackers:
1. Take the cardboard inners of three small toilet rolls and measure out some tissue paper the same length as the cardboard rolls.
2.  Place double sided tape along one edge of the tissue paper, roll up the toilet rolls and stick down.
3. Roll up a second sheet of paper tissue that is slightly shorter than the first sheet.
4. Tie a ribbon at the neck of your cracker and remove the end toilet roll, then place a cracker snap inside, with double sided tape at both ends to secure it to the tied end of the cracker.
5. Place sugared almonds and a love motto in your cracker and tie up the remaining open end with another ribbon, sticking down the second piece of tape on your snap.
6. You can decorate your crackers with bows, pieces of fabric or Victoriana images.

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Turkey Dinner

Turkey was the meat of choice for upper class Victorians on Christmas day and it gradually replaced the more traditional choices of beef and goose, until by the start of the 20th century, it became the most popular seasonal dish.  You could opt for goose if you want to try something both traditional and different.
Charles Dickens described a Christmas dinner of roast goose with sage and onions, gravy, mashed potatoes and apple sauce in his famous novel, ‘A Christmas Carol’. It’s really easy for you to have the same.

1. Preheat your oven to the temperature suggested for your goose.
2. Remove giblets and excess fat from the cavity – you can use this fat to spread over the goose to enhance the cooking.
3. Stuff the neck cavity with sage and onions – slice your own onions to add to the mix as this tastes far more superior than packet sage and onion.
4. Pierce the skin with a fork, add a small amount of salt and pepper and rub butter into it. Place on foil on a meat tin in the center of the oven.  You will need around 2 hours, 45 minutes of cooking time for a 4.5kg goose.
5. Transfer to a serving dish and leave to stand for 20 minutes before you carve as this will retain more of the flavors.
6. Add home made mashed potatoes with butter and a spoonful of apple sauce.

 Christmas Trees

Pagans used to decorate fir trees in their winter festivals but the traditional of the Christmas tree began when Prince Albert got one for Queen Victoria. The Illustrated London News published a drawing in 1848 of the prince and Queen and all their children surrounding an elaborate Christmas tree decorated with candles, home made decorations and sweets. After seeing the drawing, the public followed suit.
You can go traditional by choosing a real Christmas tree and decorating it with handmade paper ornaments and sweets you can hang from the branches. If you want to go all out, you could even try real candles.

1. Get clip candle holders so you can safely attach your real candle to your tree
2. Don’t place any other decorations above your real candles
3. Always light your candles from those at the top of the tree down, so you don’t accidentally set fire to your clothes
4. Make sure you count the number of candles you place on your tree and what position they are in
5. Have candle snuffs and a fire extinguisher in case of an emergency
6. Only have your candles lit for short periods of time and never leave your candles unattended
7. For a safer option, you could use LED tea lights in your clip on candle holder – while not strictly Victorian, LED’s are a no flame light.

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Christmas Presents

Macy’s Department store in New York was one of the first to create a Christmas toy display in their window in 1897, the first time themed displays had been tried.  However, as toys were handmade they were expensive and out of the reach of most parents so the average Victorian child received a stocking containing fruit, nuts and if they were lucky, sweets.  You could try this by choosing a traditional knitted stocking (or knitting your own) and adding fruit and nut selections and some sugared bon bon’s.  You might want to include some back up presents too and diffuse any Christmas drama.