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Tips for Taking Vacations over Christmas

Tips for Taking Family Vacations Over the Holidays

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Traveling to a new and unique vacation destination for the holidays, not somewhere familiar like a relative’s house, can be a challenging but rewarding trip. You get to take a vacation during a school break without missing school and sports and spend time relaxing with family members over the holiday. But you may also have to think through the logistics of “taking the holidays on the road” to make things go smoothly. We traveled last year to Mexico for our Christmas holiday with extended family, and here are some of my tips for taking a family vacation over the holidays.

Bring the Most Important Traditions With You

Especially for younger kids, traditions are an important part of the holidays so think about which of your family’s rituals can still take place on vacation.

Vacations over Christmas - The Elves

Kids may want reassurance that their elves or Santa will still visit them at a vacation destination.

On our trip to Mexico that meant our family brought stockings, elves that hide (we can touch ours), our favorite copy of The Night Before Christmas and every last ingredient to make frosted, decorated cookies. Keeping up with some of our special holiday activities made the kids feel like it was truly Christmas, even though we were in a new place with tropical weather.

Vacations over Christmas - Baking Cookies

Be sure to carry on your favorite family traditions while traveling, even if it means baking cookies in your bathing suit!

Try a Few New Traditions

Even though you may be missing some familiar holiday activities, vacation is the perfect time to try something new at your destination! We went jet skiing, had a family Christmas Eve dinner on the beach, and ate a traditional American turkey with Mexican-style side dishes for Christmas dinner. You never know, one of these things could become a new tradition!

Provide Reassurance About “Special Visitors”

One of kids’ biggest fears may be that Santa won’t know where they are on Christmas or be able to get into a rental house or hotel. Before you leave, you and your kids can visit the website Reroute Santa. Here you can fill in your name, home city and destination and watch as an elf delivers the message with your vacation destination to Santa. Before your eyes you will see a return letter from Santa letting you know that he got your message and “now he knows just where to deliver your presents.”

If kids are worried about Santa getting into a new location or a place without a chimney, then a note on the door or a cute pillow will help alleviate those worries.

Vacations over Christmas - Santa Pillow

If you’re planning to take a vacation over Christmas, make sure Santa knows he can still visit young kids!

Be Creative with Presents

For kids, opening presents is an exciting part of the holidays. If you are exchanging presents while on vacation you may have to be creative because of the limited suitcase space. Besides gift cards, some other ideas are:

  • Things that can be used on the vacation. For the Mexico trip my parents gave the kids snorkeling equipment that was put to use right away.
  • Local currency to spend during the trip.
  • “Homemade gift certificates” from you for items they can go online and order that will then be delivered as soon as you are home. For example, we gave the kids personalized Nike shoes where they can customize their own shoes and have them shipped.
  • Certificates for future trips, excursions or sporting events. We did this, and to make it more fun, we set up a scavenger hunt with the note detailing the trip as the last prize.

Although it takes a little extra planning, taking a family vacation over the holidays will provide special memories for years to come!

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Susan is an enthusiastic traveler and mom to a 11 year-old boy and eight year-old girl. Originally from North Carolina, Susan is a Southerner at heart, although…

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