Have a festive and joyous experience over the holidays even when you’re in the middle of a relocation. With a bit of planning and a flexible, positive attitude, your special season can be one of the happiest times ever for you and your loved ones. Here are four ways to make merry while moving.
Assemble a Portable Holiday Kit
Singles, couples and families who are on the road during the holidays can still have a lovely celebration. Start by creating a full playlist of your favorite holiday tunes. In the car, plane, train or hotel room, you can always have your familiar background melodies playing to keep the season’s spirit alive in your heart.
If your family has a huge celebration each year, moving during the season can be tough for everyone. You can’t possibly fit in all of your holiday traditions while you’re in a hotel or RV. You can pick a few beloved traditions to honor while moving.
Pack stocking stuffers and the kids’ special stockings to hang on the hotel-room headboards. Select a few houses and figurines from your family’s epic tabletop Christmas village to create a tiny display in your RV.
Other ideas for your holiday kit include:
- Portable menorah
- Miniature nativity set
- Holiday books
- Twinkling string lights
- Tiny ceramic tree
- Hot-cocoa kit
In individual carry-along bags, pack a pair of holiday pajamas and one special outfit for you and each travel companion. Wearing special clothing on a holiday eve and on the holiday itself helps everyone remember that the day is considered a time for celebration — even when you’re in a strange location.
Plant a Special Tree
If you’re in your new home during the holidays, commemorate the move by planting an evergreen on the property. It may be too difficult to set up a full-size tree and decorations in your home when you’re surrounded by unpacked furnishings, but local nurseries in the area will have ball-and-burlap and container-grown trees to decorate now and plant later.
Pick an evergreen that looks lush and green without any brown needles. Spruce, fir and pine trees are common evergreen trees sold as “living Christmas trees.” Check the tag on the plant to ensure the tree will not grow too big for the planting area and will grow in your planting zone.
Bring the tree inside to decorate a day or so before the holiday. You can spray the tree with an anti-wilt product before you bring it inside to cut down on needle loss and help the tree retain water. Experts recommend that you keep the tree inside no more than a week to 10 days. Let the tree stay outside and acclimate for a week to 10 days before planting it as directed on the plant tag.
Rosemary plants are great small “trees” that are sold as container plants you can decorate during the holidays. Rosemary plants are actually fragrant herbs that grow year-round. Their smaller size makes them wonderful plants to add to small yards and apartment patios. Rosemary plants do well in the ground or in containers when properly maintained.
Volunteer in Your New Community
Whether you’re a family of one or a family of many, you can spread cheer to others by volunteering during the holidays. Helping out with projects run by service and charitable organizations is a great way to meet new people in your new neighborhood.
Some holiday traditions can be managed at the last minute. Volunteering during the holidays is not one of them. Most organizations select and schedule volunteers many months in advance of the holidays.
When you know you’ll be in a specific area over the holiday season, call several months ahead and try to be added to lists for volunteer opportunities close to your new residence. Your church, fraternity, union and other clubs and organizations may be able to connect you with volunteer opportunities in your new area.
Avoid the temptation to just show up at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Staff may be overwhelmed and won’t have time to accommodate you. However, you may be able to volunteer at the last minute by paying attention to local newscasts and websites in your new location. Charitable organizations and churches put out their calls for holiday help using social media as well.
Embrace the Changes
Many people relocate because two families have merged due to marriage or long-term commitment. Conflicts arise when people have different expectations for the holidays.
One person may want to open presents on Christmas Eve while the other wants to open them bright and early the next morning. One person may want all of the holiday food to be kosher while another person accepts that some food is not so kosher.
Because you’re all moving, no holiday will ever be exactly the same as the ones that came before. Cooperate and compromise so that everyone gets to enjoy the seasonal experiences they love best.
At the same time, create new and joyous traditions that are unique to your blended family. A trip to a theme park, a movie marathon or a cookie-baking-and-decorating session in your new home can be the fun, fresh tradition that brings everyone together.
Contact Bekins to help you coordinate your holiday move. We handle local, long-distance and international moves. Our relocation specialists help with military and government moves, too.