Does traveling out of town at Christmas seem overwhelming? Worried about how to bring Santa with you and still enjoy your trip? Here's 5 tips to help you manage Christmas at Grandmas this year.
One of my favorite things about the holidays is the chance to go home.
We have been so blessed as to be able to go visit my parents and family each year at Christmas. I know this is a super big blessing and I don't take it for granted. But it is a lot of extra work.
If you are looking at your first Christmas away from home with kids, you may be stressed trying to figure out how to bring Santa along for the ride.
After years of traveling Christmases, I've learned a few tips and tricks to help you if you are going out of town this year for Christmas. Don't worry, it's not as hard as it may first seem, you just need these 5 simple tips to make it an awesome Christmas away from home.
1. Get planning as early as you can
The biggest problem with going out of town for Christmas is that you end up shaving time off your "get ready" clock. Depending upon how long you'll be gone, you may lose a day or a week in your preparation time. I'm a terrible procrastinator so I usually am shopping and wrapping presents on Christmas eve. But when going out of town, you can't do that.
You need to get yourself organized as soon as possible. Use a planning guide like this gift planner to brainstorm gifts all year round for everyone on your list. Or make a private Pinterest Board for gift ideas for each of your kids. Then when your kids tell you they saw something or played a game at a friend's house in June, write it down on your list so you remember in December. This way you aren't struggling to come up with gift ideas at the last minute.
Once you know what you are getting everyone on your list, you can watch for sales and buy it as soon as possible. If you are ahead of the game and doing it months in advance...wow. You are amazing. But just do the best you can. Even if you are finishing up your shopping the day before you leave like me.
2. Wrap and label everything ahead of time
Don't think you're going to have time when you get to the other end of your trip to do some wrapping "on the side."
Every year I think I'll be able to take an hour and just wrap things before Christmas and it never happens. I never have free time or I find I don't want to lock myself away in a room where I'm all alone.
Don't do it. Just suck it up and wrap it all before you go. And be sure to label it. You don't want to get to Christmas morning and not be able to remember who's presents are who's. Just make it easy for yourself and grab some to and from tags.
3. Contain it all in a Sturdy box.
One you have your presents all wrapped, buy a big, sturdy storage container (with a lid!) and put it all in there. You don't want to find out Christmas morning that you forgot a present at home. Or get to Grandma's house and find the presents are broken because someone' stepped on the box or kicked it on the ride there.
I also recommend putting each person's stocking stuffers in their own separate bags. Put all the candy, fruit, books, little treats into a separate plastic bag for each person. Include the stocking in there too and tie it up tight. Otherwise you're going to end up with lots of little candies at the bottom of your container that you need to replace into stockings but will never work out evenly and Josh is going to wonder why Santa loves Henry more and gave him more Reeses peanut butter cups.
It can be a problem. (Not that I would know from personal experience. I just eat anything that falls out and then tell the kids Santa loves me more.)
4. Find a corner in the car or Grandma's house to stash it
Be sure not to tell your kids what's in the box (or your hubby if he's as bad as the kids when it comes to presents) and store it somewhere safe on your trip and then when you get to your Christmas destination. Otherwise you're going to end up with people trying to peek and not understanding why Santa's gifts are in the box and not on the sleigh.
I like to use my box as a luggage stool when I get to our Christmas house. That way my clothes are on top of it and no one thinks to look inside it. It becomes part of the furniture and therefore over looked.
5. Let it go and Enjoy your Christmas
In the end, whatever happens, just go with it.
If you find you forgot a present, just tell the kids Santa delivered it to the wrong address. Or that the elves got confused. It'll all be okay.
Just enjoy your trip and Christmas with your family and friends. That's what matters in the end anyway. That's the whole point of all the extra stress to go out of town for the holidays. Don't forget that and remember to enjoy it all.
I hope you do have a wonderful holiday and it's filled with safe travels and happy memories!