In the modern era of communication technology at the tip of our fingertips, it’s no wonder that long- distance relationships are still a common reality for many. These relationships are just as important and impactful as any more traditional style relationship. While long-distance relationships may take work, they aren’t as difficult as they once were.
These relationships also take many forms, from platonic friendships to child-parents relationships to those romantic in nature. Each of these can come with difficulties and each their own rewards for maintaining and cherishing them. One way to show your long-distance loved one that you are thinking about them is to send them a gift, though choosing one can be difficult too. What kind of gifts is best for long-distance relationships? What is the most meaningful? And what can help you maintain your bond with a person who has gone away? With this guide, we hope to help you choose the perfect gift for your loved one!
WHAT KIND OF long distance relationships WOULD YOU BUY A GIFT FOR?
There are many types of relationships, and each can be equally important to us in different ways. There might be any number of reasons we’re looking for a gift for someone far away from us. Here are some of those long-distance relationships you may be looking to find a gift for.
ROMANTIC PARTNER ON A LONG TERM TRIP
Sometimes, life can take us away from the ones we love. This can be a short-term arrangement like a business trip or a longer-term one in the case of family emergencies or job relocation. Visiting one another becomes more difficult the longer the distance, leading to the need for each person to put additional effort into the relationship.
One partner may work a job that requires frequent travel. This can lead to a sense of loneliness even when both partners are secure in the relationship. This travel can be domestic or take one person out of the country for a few days up to a few months depending on the type of business. When you can't be there physically with one another, it often helps to have some form of physical keepsake or gift to help you feel connected to one another.
PARTNER LEAVING FOR TOUR OF DUTY
Anyone who is active military - or has dated someone in the military - knows how difficult it can be to maintain relationships once you leave for active duty. Deployment usually lasts anywhere from six to twelve months. That’s no small amount of time to be away from the people you care about – friends and family alike.
Sometimes that deployment may take servicemen and women out of the country for this length of time, making visits difficult (especially in combat-based deployment scenarios). While we often think of deployment in terms of combat positions, soldiers often see deployment for training purposes, on subs or other naval vessels, and even administrative work.
CHILDREN LEAVING FOR COLLEGE
While you might hear jokes about “empty nest syndrome,” having a child leave for college isn’t always easy for either parents or the child! When our children move out of the house, we can find ourselves missing them as much as we enjoy the newfound quiet in the home.
It may also be that your kids miss being home as well! Moving out of your childhood home can be scary and intimidating. Whether it’s moving into a new apartment to work or a dorm room to study, it’s a huge change from everything a young adult has ever known. If they move far from home, it can be difficult to maintain the same level of contact with friends and family.
As parents, you’ll want to maintain that connection you’ve always had with your kids. As a young adult,you may find comfort in getting calls or gifts from parents who live far away.
BEST FRIEND MOVING AWAY
Some of the most important relationships in our lives are not necessarily romantic in nature. Some friendships last decades, often through major life changes and geographic distances. However, having a close friend move away after many years of being able to plan dinners or last-minute get-togethers can leave you feeling unsettled in a friendship. Big life changes can take people to new places, whether it’s a new job, marriage, or even just the need for a change in scenery.
It changes the nature of your relationship in some very real, and sometimes difficult-to-navigate ways. Long-distance friendships – like any other kind of long-distance relationship – work differently than those close to home. Sometimes, enacting a habit of sending one another gifts can help make it feel like you aren’t losing touch.
WHY IS gift giving SO IMPORTANT IN LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS?
Long-distance relationships require effort. They have all the stresses (and rewards!) of a typical relationship with the added element of not being physically present for what may be big moments in one another's lives. For many, gifts are an important, often even imperative – part of the relationship. But what do we send gifts to our loved ones who are far away? Why is gift-giving so important in these situations?
KEEPING ONE ANOTHER IN YOUR THOUGHTS
The biggest reason to practice gift-giving in long-distance relationships is simply that it shows you care and allows you to keep one another in your thoughts. Gift-giving is always a great way to show that you are thinking about the recipient of the gift. It's why the act of gifting the gift often matters more than the amount you spent or the type of gift you are sending. Granted, it does matter that you put thought into the gifting and made it something personal.
HIGHLIGHTS THEIR SUPPORT SYSTEM
When you send a child off the college, they can often feel alone. The freedom of their future may be tempered with some trepidation and the feeling of being untethered. The same can be said when someone starts a new job across the country or is deployed to a new place. One way to show someone they aren't as alone - especially in a new place – is to gift them something to remind them of where they came from. The right gift can remind a person that they have a friend or loved one back home rooting for their success. It reminds them that they’ll always have someone in their corner no matter what happens.
No one is immune to homesickness. It can strike at any moment, even if you’ve traveled away from home before. One of the best ways to combat homesickness is to keep a little piece of home with you. That’s where a gift can come in! If you know your loved one may feel homesick during their time away, you may want to gift them with something that reminds them of home or makes their current living space feel a little homier.
THE BEST long distance gift IDEAS
Absence does make the heart grow fonder – but sometimes sending your loved one a gift to remind them of your love helps. Here's our list of unique, memorable, and meaningful gifts for long-distance relationships that should meet anyone's needs.
1. DIGITAL PICTURE FRAME
Sometimes, sending one photo just isn't enough – especially when you know your loved one will be away for a longer time. Digital picture frames are more popular than ever, especially with an older demographic. These frames allow you to share an album's worth of photos with one display on a photo-quality LED screen. Most of them are wi-fi compatible and can play video as well. Most range anywhere from $60-200 depending on the features you want.
You can pre-load these frames with dozens (or even hundreds) of photos to help keep them connected with you, their families, and other loved ones. Even better, you can update them in real time if they are connected to wi-fi! Digital frames are great for families with children when one parent has deployed. Your loved one won't miss any big family moments!
2. BONDED TOUCH BRACELETS
Touch-bonded bracelets are one of the newer items on our list and, unsurprisingly, one of the most popular for long-distance relationships. Long Distance Touch Bracelets come in a pair and are rechargeable, waterproof, and Bluetooth-enabled. The subtle design helps keep them incognito, especially when you can customize the color of the bands.
You download the app to your phone, pair the bracelets, and then send one off to your loved one. From there, you just tap the pad on yours when you want to send a slight vibration to the matching bracelet. The vibration mimics a gentle physical touch, and the bracelet lights up one of several colors. You can use them to simply show your loved one that you are thinking of them or even work out your own secret code.
3. CREATE A CUSTOM ADVENT CALENDAR
If you are counting down the days until you see your loved one again, a fun way to make the time pass quickly could be to create a custom advent calendar for them. You can purchase a blank calendar with multiple small boxes you can fill with snacks, photos, trinkets, and even hints about what you have planned for the next time you visit! It’s a cute DIY way to keep you both excited about spending time together again soon1
If you want an inexpensive alternative, My Advent allows you to create an online version for free using photos, videos, and more!
4. CREATE A CUSTOM PLAYLIST
Great gifts don't have to cost a lot! Who doesn't love the modern equivalent of a mixed tape? This DIY idea is one of the simplest ways couples have shared their feelings for decades. While you once needed to create a physical tape or burn a CD (yes, some of us are that old!), today it’s so much easier!
If you are missing your significant other, you can create a collection of songs with Apple Music, Spotify, or Youtube and then send them a simple link to the list. As long as they have internet access, they should be able to listen to it anywhere! And if they don't, you can always download your favorite songs to a USB drive (like this one shaped like a cassette tape) and physically mail it to your loved one.
5. A CUDDLY PILLOW
You’ve likely heard of The Boyfriend Pillow. This oddly shaped pillow resembles the chest and arm of a person, giving you something to snuggle with at night. While the original shape might be a little too close to a gag gift, you may find that gifting your loved one with another oversized pillow to sleep with at night can help if they feel lonely – or have trouble sleeping alone.
A classic body pillow is always a good choice if you want to make sure it's something practical but you can have a little fun with it, too. We really like this cuddly tiger plush for a cute option or this l-shaped pillow if you want something for a side sleeper.
6. INFINITY NECKLACE
If you are familiar with the infinity symbol – which resembles a figure eight on its side – you likely know what it represents: the limitlessness of eternity. It's been around since the Ancient Greeks and is still used regularly today! What better symbol to represent the promise of life and togetherness?
You can find many types of jewelry with infinity symbols either engraved upon them or incorporated into the design. You may also find pieces that combine the symbol with other elements like birthstones or accent gems. With a piece like the Personalized Two Name Infinity In Goldyou can have both your names shaped into the infinity symbol for a custom jewelry piece your partner is sure to love.
Interested in an infinity necklace? Check out The Complete Guide to Buying a Personalized Infinity Necklace.
7. CUSTOM PHOTO SOCKS
If you are looking for a cute, relatively inexpensive gift for a loved one, why not consider printing your face on a pair of socks for them? Sure, it might sound ridiculous; but that's also the point of these cute custom socks from My Face Socks.
If you aren’t comfortable putting your own face on them, you can also have them printed with a family pet (because who doesn’t miss their furry best friend when they are away from home?). The site has other items you can customize as well, including all kinds of apparel!
8. COUPLES PENDANTS
At its core, couple necklaces are designed to show off the love that you share for another person or the love shared between two people. These necklaces come in a variety of styles, from the infinity necklaces we mentioned above to a combination of names and birthstones.
We love this Engraved Unisex Dog Tag Necklace With Birthstones that features two birthstone accents and a brilliant blue background. If you want more information about our pendants, check out this guide to Couple’s Necklaces.
9. LONG DISTANCE TOUCH LAMPS
These lamps are great for friends, family members, and romantic relationships. The Wi-Fi Long Distance Touch Lamps just need to be connected to a wireless network then they are ready to go! Much like the touch bracelets we talked about above, you only have to touch the top of your lamp for it to activate the color-changing element in the paired lamp. You can say "good night" or "good morning" without saying a word. It's a great way to let someone know you are thinking about them even on a busy day when you may not have time to make a call.
10. COORDINATE BRACELETS
If there's a place important to your relationship, then a matching pair of these Wanderer Coordinate Bracelets may be just the thing you need. It could be the location of your first date, your shared hometown, or even the spot where one of your proposed.
These bracelets are great for romantic partners or sharing something with your BFF. You can choose the color, style, and coordinates, then you'll be able to always bring such a special place with you.
11. COUNTDOWN CLOCK
Can’t wait until you’ll see your loved one again? Why not gift them with a countdown clock that can be programmed to give them something to look forward to when they might be feeling down (or when you’re both missing one another?
This cute Reusable Countdown Clock is inexpensive, easy to set, easy to use, and can countdown to any date as far as 999 days in the future. It’s the perfect way to save the date for the next time you’ll get to see your loved one in person. Even better, you can reset the clock and reuse it for your next visit.
12. CUSTOM ENGRAVED CARBON WALLET
Sometimes, practical gifts are the best, especially if you are buying something for a loved one with minimalist and more masculine tastes. Slim metal wallets have become more popular over the years compared to their bulkier leather or canvas counterparts.
Metal wallets, like this Slim Money Clip Metal Wallet, are a nice, durable alternative to a traditional style. Many of these can even be engraved with your loved one’s name, initials, or a personalized quote.
13. BIRTHSTONE DOG TAGS
If your partner is a member of the armed forces, you may spend months without seeing them while they are deployed. It can be difficult to find any gift that is practical in that situation. They likely won’t be able to carry many non-essential items with them depending on where they are sent and their job in that location. What about a customized dog tag they can wear?
If you have a family together, one great option is to gift them a tag with the names and birthstones of the family members on them – like this Personalized Dog Tag Necklace with Birthstones. This is especially great for young families with children, as it gives them a piece of the whole family to take with them wherever they go.
14. MOLESKIN JOURNAL FILLED WITH YOUR LETTERS
You don’t have to be a writer to make use of this inexpensive gift idea. You only have to write from the heart! Moleskin journals are affordable, classy, and have a subtle exterior that holds more than the outside might expect. Especially when it's filled with your thoughts, letters, sketches, and even the occasional photograph tucked inside.
If you don't feel comfortable filling an entire journal on your own, you can always try one of the fill-in-the- blanks versions like the You and I Memory Journal, I Wrote a Book About You, What I Love About You by Me, and Our Story: A Fill-In-The-Blank Journal of our Relationship.
15. STREAMING QUALITY WEBCAM
These days, it's easy enough to do a quick video chat through your cell phone. While not as good as seeing your loved one in person, it offers a good way to catch up with those you're missing the most. But cell phone video chatting can be of questionable quality and often difficult to hold for long periods. With a webcam, you can both sit down for a long chat any time of the day with little more than a computer and the right piece of equipment.
If you want a webcam that offers fantastic quality and for a decent price, you really can’t beat the Logitech C922 Pro Stream Webcam. It’s one of the most highly rated models that will give you a clear image and pretty good sound!
16. FRESH FLOWERS
Who doesn’t love flowers? They are ubiquitous when it comes to meaningful gifts for your loved ones. You can send them just about anywhere in the world and for any occasion, including “Just Because.” A beautiful bouquet is a lovely surprise for someone after a long day and will always make your loved one think of you. Services like 1-800 Flowers deliver anywhere across the continental United States and many international locations as well.
Flowers aren’t only for women, either! While many men want to admit to enjoying conventional arrangements. There are other options. You can also consider gifting them a plant if you’d rather give them something that lasts a bit longer. House plants liven up living spaces and provide the recipient something to care for.
17. HAVE THEIR FAVORITE FOOD DELIVERED
We all have those busy days when cooking feels like the last chore we even want to think about. If your loved one seems particularly stressed or too busy to take care of themselves properly, you might consider having their favorite foods delivered. You can order some local take-out for them or even do a quick grocery order through one of the many delivery services to take some of the stress out of their day.
Worried about your loved one eating more than ramen noodles and the occasional piece of fruit? You can always think about gifting them with a subscription to a meal delivery service like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron. This might especially be appreciated by a child going off to college for their first semester (especially during mid-terms or final week).
18. HEATED BLANKET
Nothing beats cuddling with your loved one in real-time. However, if you can't be with them when the nights start getting colder, you may want to think about getting them a substitute in the form of a heated
blanket! These are generally portable, easy to use, and will make your loved one feel cozy and warm even when they are all alone. The options for heated blankets are endless. You can find machine-washable options, blankets made of a variety of materials, and even battery operated.
If your loved one is traveling to a cold climate, you can’t go wrong with getting them an electric blanket to keep them warm on those chilly nights!
19. SYNCHED FITNESS TRACKERS
Are you missing your gym buddy? Here’s a great option for you to keep each other on track and accountable despite the distance! Maybe you can’t make that gym date with your bestie if they’ve moved out of town, but you can still keep up with one another with a pair of gym fitness trackers.
One of the most popular brands is Fitbit, which makes several different types of trackers. If you each have one, you can keep up with each other's workouts and physical activity. This can be especially fun if you are both into physical fitness and exercise. It’s a great way to do something “together” with a friend or a significant other even if you aren’t close!
20. MATCHING RINGS
We don’t necessarily mean engagement rings for this idea (though if you’re ready for that step – congrats!). There are many types of rings popular for couples. For long-distance couples, they may be a great way to feel close to the other person even when you are far away.
If you are in the market for a unique style of ring, you can always get one that is engraved as well. You can have your names engraved on the inside of both if you want a matching set. Another option is sending one to your significant other with a special quote, a significant date, or simply a few words expressing your feelings.
One option is this Sterling Silver Open Cuff Finger Ring made of anti-tarnish .925 Sterling Silver. The subtle design may not seem obvious but once you have the piece engraved, it becomes a one- of-a-kind item.
21. BOOK OF LOVE POEMS
Another inexpensive option for literature lovers is a book of love poems. Not all of us are writers but we can all appreciate the love and longing that we experience in life, especially written in prose by an artist. Some of our favorites include Bright Star: The Complete Poems and Selected Letters by John Keats, Love Poems by Pablo Neruda, and (of course) The Love Poems of Lord Byron.
If you want to make the experience more intimate, you can always text your loved one with a specific page or poem for them to read on a given day.
WHERE CAN I FIND unique gifts FOR LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS?
If possible, it is always nice to shop locally. You never know what kind of custom or one-of-a-kind items you can find at your local farmer's market or artisan fair. You can usually find stores in your downtown area that specialize in locally made products and services at an affordable price!
For most of us, the easiest place to find exactly what we are looking for is online.
- Etsy - When it comes to handmade items, Etsy.Com has you covered. Purchases from Etsy typically support independent creators from across the world. Their global marketplace is hard to beat!
- Messages in Metal - You can find any of our products we’ve discussed online at our website – Messages in Metal. We specialize in engraved rings, monogram necklaces, infinity pendants, and much more! If you want custom engraved on sterling silver or gold jewelry pieces, we just might have exactly what you're looking for! Interested? Why not check out 10 Things You Should Know About Handmade Jewelry.
- Amazon - For mass-produced items, electronics, and home goods, Amazon typically has the best selection available. You’ll find great deals on products you might otherwise overlook.
Never discount the power of a homemade gift! Many people would prefer something you made, created, crafted, or wrote over something store-bought. You can never go wrong with sending your loved one a handcrafted scrapbook, love poem, heartfelt letter, or personalized photo frame. These are timeless gifts for a reason.
LONG DISTANCE GIFTS frequently asked QUESTIONS
Looking for quick answers to your questions about long-distance relationship gifting? We just might have you covered!
What’s a good unique gift to give to my long-distance boyfriend?
Finding the perfect gift to share your feelings long-distance can be tough but fortunately, there are many ideas and options to choose one that will fit your life and your boyfriend perfectly! Here are just a few:
- One of the most popular long-distance gift ideas for couples is a long-distance touch bracelet set. These work by vibrating any time one person touches the bracelet, allowing the other person to feel it.
- You could send him a short video to discuss any upcoming plans you have or even send a video greeting card that lets you record a message and then slip it into the mail.
- Another idea we love is making him a custom long-distance care package! You can fill it with things he enjoys as well as some personal items to make him think of you.
What is something special I can give my husband who is going away on a tour of duty?
The best type of gift you can give a serviceman leaving for active duty is something easy to pack and travel with. Depending on how long they are deployed, they may appreciate something practical or easy to keep with them. A great tactical multi-tool can come in handy in any situation whether at home or on a tour of duty. Even better, you can get a multi-tool or pocketknife engraved with your initials or a short message to him.
Care packages are also great options. You can send them some of their favorite snacks, playing cards, headphones, stationery, or even hygiene products like a shave essentials kit. A good care package is filled with their favorite stuff that might be hard to get where they are.
How much should I spend on a long-distance relationship gift?
Your gift budget depends entirely on your overall budget. You can absolutely splurge on a nice piece of jewelry or a paired electronic device if you have the money. However, there is no absolute rule when it comes to giving a gift to someone you love. You could spend 10$ or 300$ - but at the end of the day, it matters that you choose something thoughtful and meaningful for the person you are gifting to.
Don’t have a lot of money to spend? No problem! You can always go the DIY route and create something for your loved one instead of purchasing something big. By grabbing an inexpensive frame, you can create a photo collage filled with memories of the two of you. Alternatively, you can get a notebook and fill it with letters, sketches, memories, or even favorite quotes.
The most important thing is to get them something that lets them know they are in your thoughts despite the distance.
How can I keep my long-distance relationship strong while we are apart?
The key to a long-distance relationship just may be the key to every relationship – communication! Communication is the backbone of every successful relationship. Speak with your partner frequently, let them know how you are feeling, and listen to them equally. While you don't have to have a set time to speak every day or week, it helps to keep things flexible while still making sure to make time for one another. You should reach out to them at other times, too. Don't be bound by specific times or a schedule. If you are thinking of them, you can always send a text message or pick up a gift to send them. There are many ways to keep your relationship feel intimate despite geographic distance.
It helps to keep reminders of your relationship – and your loved one – around you as well. You can frame a photo near your workspace, do things “together” or similar things you can talk about later, and focus on the long-term wants for your relationship. You should always make time to visit one another as well. It’s important to see each other regularly whenever you can!
If I want to send my long-distance partner a care package, what should I put in it?
Making a care package can be more challenging than it sounds, especially when you aren't sure what you should pack into it! While a lot of the items might depend on the person, here's a list of things we think are sure to please just about everyone:
- Their favorite snacks – candy, chips, jerky, crackers, etc
- Their favorite perfume, cologne, or aftershave
- Their favorite movie
- Small, inexpensive gifts (a mug, shirt, pair of gloves, etc)
- Countdown calendar to the next time you’ll see each other
- A gift card to their favorite store, restaurant, or coffee shop
- A picture of you or of the two of you together
- A handwritten note to show them you are thinking of them
What is a special gift I can give a child who is moving away?
Gifts for children vary greatly depending on their age and interest. For a very young child, you might consider a special plush with a message inside. Build-A-Bear has a large selection of stuffed animals and characters. Many of these can come with a recorded message inside, including the ability to record your own.
If you have a child leaving for college, you might want to get them something a bit more sophisticated. Most gifts they'll want are likely practical things for their new dorm rooms – a coffee maker, noise-
canceling headphones, etc – but what about a gift for those times they might be missing home (or you)? You could send them a framed family photo (or a digital photo frame), a basket of comfort food, or a pendant in the shape of home.
LETTING ABSENCE make the heart GROW FONDER
Long-distance relationships take patience, love, and work to thrive. If you're here looking for gift ideas, you're already off to a great start to making your partner, family member, or friend feel cherished and cared for despite the distance.
December 15, 2022 by Conor Daniels