Letters to Santa are written, Christmas trees decorated, and stockings hung by the fireplace as children the world over anxiously await the arrival of Christmas. Christmas is a truly magical moment in many children’s young lives. But what’s a family to do when they are far from home during this special time? How does one ensure an anxious child that Christmas will arrive, no matter where in the world they happen to be?
With a little planning and forethought, ensuring your kids don’t feel they’ve missed out on Christmas isn’t all that hard! Here are eight favorite, family-tested ideas to bring the magic of Christmas when holiday travel takes your family far from home.
1. Send a Portable North Pole Video Message
Ensure your kids that Santa Claus won’t forget them, even if they aren’t home for Christmas! With Portable North Pole (PNP) it’s easy to create and send customized messages direct from Santa himself. Messages include your child’s name and a photo. Imagine the astonishment when they hear Santa say their name. See their eyes light up when they find their photo in Santa’s magical book.
Traveler Tips: Use the free PNP mobile app to ensure Santa’s message is available wherever in the world your family might be. Schedule Santa’s message to be delivered before heading out for the holidays, letting the kids hear for themselves that Santa knows they will be away.
2. Deliver A Special Letter From Santa Claus
Have Santa write your kids a special letter telling them that he knows they are traveling over Christmas. Have it “magically appear” on Christmas Eve. Be festive and creative with the letter! Address the envelope with your travel destination, and finish it off with a North Pole return address. Sprinkle some magic fairy dust (also known as gold glitter) inside the envelope for the final effect.
Traveler Tips: Don’t pen the letter yourself! They might recognize your handwriting. Or use a service like Personalization Mall to create Santa’s letter. If staying in a hotel, ask the front desk to deliver Santa’s letter to your room.
3. Track Santa on Christmas Eve with NORAD
No matter where your family is on Christmas Eve, NORAD will keep everyone on top of Santa’s magical journey across the globe. NORAD uses strategically placed high-tech Santa Cams to capture images of Santa and his reindeer as they spread Christmas cheer all over the world, including your own neighborhood. NORAD can help ease an anxious child that Santa isn’t going to miss them, even if they are not home.
Traveler Tips: Use the free NORAD mobile app on Christmas Eve to ensure your kids that Santa will be flying over both their home neighborhood, as well as where they are that evening.
4. Bring the Christmas Stockings
Nothing feels more like Christmas than stockings hung by the fireplace. Even if it’s a faux fireplace in a hotel room! So bring those stockings with you for some home-spun Christmas magic. On Christmas Eve, add a few special goodies after the kids have fallen asleep. Throw in a note from Santa letting the kids know he might have left a few gifts at home. Add to the excitement with a photo of Santa’s gifts under the tree back home.
Traveler Tips: Traveling light? Ship the stockings and stocking stuffers ahead of time. Include Command Hanging Hooks for instant ease of hanging the stockings. Enlist the help of a family member or friend to put gifts under the tree and take a photo after you have left.
5. Pack a Coveted Family Tradition
Bring a coveted family Christmas tradition with you! Perhaps it’s the family Elf On The Shelf. Maybe it’s a special Santa Claus plate for Christmas Eve cookies, a few special holiday ornaments, or that special Lego Santa and reindeers. Bringing a small piece of Santa’s magic from home can help the kids remain confident that Christmas is anywhere that they are!
Traveler Tips: Plan a family room decorating party with a few special, easy to pack ornaments and the Christmas stockings. Pick up some cookies and reindeer treats at a local store to place out on Christmas Eve.
6. Experience a Local Christmas Tradition
Create your own special holiday magic by participating in local Christmas traditions. Drive around neighborhoods all decked out for Christmas. Stroll through a park decorated with festive holiday lights. Attend a Christmas service. Enjoy a holiday theatre production or nativity play. Book a special Christmas Eve dinner, feasting on local cuisine. Experience the spirit of Christmas as the locals do!
Traveler Tips: Plan this one in advance. If reservations are required, book early. Then just get out and enjoy the local holiday festivities!
7. Create a New Family Holiday Tradition
Use this time away as an opportunity to create a new family holiday tradition. Spend time at a local animal rescue shelter, sharing special holiday treats. Donate time at a food kitchen for the less fortunate. Go ice skating or sledding. Experience a festive holiday sleigh ride. Starting a new family tradition both engages the kids and it creates memories sure to be treasured for years to come.
Traveler Tips: Adding your own spin to your family’s holiday traditions enhances the experience for generations to come. It also engages the kids in the moment!
8. About That Elf On The Shelf!
Does your home have a resident Elf on the Shelf? Don’t leave him home! Keep up the elfish shenanigans while on the road. Yes, you might have to be a bit more creative to ensure the Elf doesn’t get “caught in the act” but it’s all worth the smile on your kids’ faces!
Traveler Tips: If a special Elf isn’t currently part of your family’s traditions, perhaps this is the time to introduce him. Yes, I know, maybe you don’t buy into the whole elfin magic thing, but it sure is an easy way to bring some home-spun holiday magic on the road! It’s also how our elf became a part of this family.
How Do You Travel with Christmas Magic?
Traveling at Christmas was quite stressful for my youngest child. He was very concerned that Santa would forget about him, or not know where he was, and he missed the comforts of our own Christmas traditions. Each and every one of these 8 tips are tried and true methods we incorporated into our own holiday travels to ensure him the magic of Christmas would be where ever he was, whether at home, or 3,000 miles away!
How about you? Have you traveled with kids over Christmas? Did you add something special to your travels to ensure the magic of Christmas was with your family where ever they were? Do share your ideas to bring some home-spun magic of Christmas on the road!
Truck image by pixel2013 via Pixaby. Santa Letter via PersonalizationMall. Santa Village via NORAD. Stocking image by Salihan via Flickr. Other images by C.Biederman.