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How to include missing links at your holiday reunion

The Indianapolis Star

Here are some suggestions on how to link with missing loved ones over the holidays:

By phone:

— Call the person and pass the phone around so everyone can say hi, or use a speaker phone.

— Set up a conference call.

— Use three-way calling, which lets you talk with two people at the same time.

— Fax photos, written material or children's art to the missing persons at your reunion.

By Internet:

— E-mail text messages and photos.

— Use instant-messaging, which can include voice and video chatting. Aim the camera at the family table, so it's almost like the loved one is there.

— Set up a family Web site. Many Internet companies provide them, including and

Other methods

— Plan for family members to toast at the same time, no matter where they are.

— Set aside time to remember those who can't be there, and those who've died in the past year.

— Buy a commemorative ad in the newspaper; include the missing person's photo.

— If the person is in a nursing home or hospital, make a banner and have it hung where they can see it.

— Record a message on a "talking" photo frame or photo album.

Special delivery thoughts:

— Send pictures or videos from the gathering.

— Send flowers, candy or a special meal on the day of the gathering.

— Send a series of remembrances over a period of time, such as the 12 days of Christmas.

Sources: Edith Wagner, editor of Reunions magazine (; Liz Dorn, spokeswoman for the SBC communications corporation.