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15 Creative Ways to Stay in Touch with Family and Friends

 Despite our best interests to keep in touch with people, over the years, we may easily lose touch with one another. But there are steps we can take to ensure that we strengthen our ties with those we miss. The ideas below are especially good for family members, young and old. Take a look:
1. Create a cookbook
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If cooking is your forte, prepare a cookbook that your loved ones will treasure - and one that may last for generations. This is a great way to be able to carry over traditions that are true to the family. Furthermore, when they come to use your recipes to entertain family and friends, they likely do so as a desire to stay close. 

2. Create an audiobook

If you don't get to see your grandkids enough, make a recording of yourself reading a favorite's children's book for a niece, a nephew, or a grandchild. This is an especially good idea if you live miles apart, or if you're leaving for a long business trip or a hospital stay. You can also end the message by leaving a sweet good-night message for the child. 

3. Assemble a scrapbook of your adventures
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A scrapbook is a great way to let a loved one into your family's daily life. Include Polaroids, postcards, newspaper clippings, travel brochures and handwritten anecdotes you've collected over the course of the year. 

4. Create an online photo album

For computer-friendly family members who are far away, create an online photo album. You can do so on sites like shutterfly.com, or snapfish.com, adding pictures from birthday blowouts, weekend trips, and impromptu dinner parties. This will give them a good idea of the names of all the friends you regularly mention over the phone. You can also share personal video clips of special occasions on sites like vimeo.com and dropshots.com.

5. Create a video tour of your house
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If you've moved into a new home, create a video tour of your house, showing folks around room by room. Describe to them how you've decorated and where all the furnishings came from. And if you received a housewarming gift from the video recipient, be sure to point it out to them. 


6. Embark on a joint project

Do you and your loved one share a similar hobby, why not embark on a joint project? For instance, if you and your mother share a passion for crochet, you could make a blanket together. In case you're wondering how this may work, select a pattern and yarn, then trade off on the job every week or two. Another idea? Work a tough puzzle together. When one of you gets stumped on a crossword clue, mail it to the other, until eventually, you have completed the whole puzzle together. 

7. Start a long-distance book club 
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Mail each other books that you've read, with your thoughts, insights, and analyses written in the margins. 

8. Know someone who is notoriously bad at responding?

When sending a letter or a postcard, try to include a blank, stamped postcard addressed to you. This should entice even the laziest writer to scratch out a response and drop the postcard in the mail.

9. Share a lazy Sunday morning
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Create the experience of hanging out together via the internet: Brew a fresh pot of coffee, toast a bagel and settle in for some good conversation and caffeine over Facebook or Skype. 

10. Ritualize your visits with good friends

Making time for one another can get difficult. So choose one day a year and plan to get together on that day every year no matter where each of you may be stationed.

11. Send your partner a custom-made photo calendar
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Each month of your photo calendar feature a different image of the two of you together at one of your favorite places, or celebrating a holiday that you had had that month. It's a great opportunity to highlight special occasion, including your anniversary, your children's birthdays - marking the dates you have planned to spend together. 

12. Write an old-fashioned paper letter

And with it include souvenirs from the experiences that you and your partner have shared: photo-booth pictures and concert-ticket stubs.  

13. Send plant cuttings or half the seeds from a packet
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Send seeds or plant cuttings to your partners, and share photos as your gardens grow. Even though a plant is no stand-in for a partner, it's still nice to shower attention on a living thing - and it also serves as a vivid metaphor for keeping a relationship in bloom. 

14. Set up your own personal video-conferencing system

This is a great way to stimulate the feeling of a face-to-face conversation. All you need is a webcam, install conferencing software, and start getting your lover's stories in living color with hand gestures, smiles and all. 

15. Make them a first-aid kit
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Address all minor crisis that may come up for your loved one while you are gone. This can also be used in other means. For instance, if you know they can never figure out how to work the DVD player, leave him a detailed list of instructions when you go away. Or prepare a couple of batches of their favorite meal to freeze for days that you are not there. 
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