Traveling At Christmas? Tips To Help Santa Find Your Family!

Are you traveling at Christmas with children who believe in the magic of Santa Claus? Are they worried Jolly Old St. Nick won’t find them if they aren’t home for Christmas?

Holidays 2013

Been there! With no immediate family nearby, traveling at Christmas was routine. No problem before kids. Big problem after the kids! Their biggest fear? That Santa Claus couldn’t find them if they weren’t home for Christmas.

Yikes! What’s a Christmas traveling family to do?

Nine Santa Strategies For Traveling Families

If’ you’ve traveled at Christmas with kid who believe in Santa Claus, then you know it’s not always easy managing their concerns that Santa won’t know where they are. We’ve traveled multiple times with our own Santa believing kids, and along the way I’ve learned a few strategies to ease those concerns.

Each and every one of these nine Santa strategies for traveling families has successfully been put to the test with our own Santa believing kids.

1. Send A Special Video Message from Santa

With Portable North Pole, you can create and send a customized video message, complete with your kids’ names in the message. Just think how excited they will be when Santa himself tells them that he knows where they are!

Video Message Tip #1: Have Santa’s message delivered a few days before you leave home. We did, and our son was happy to know that Santa knew he was traveling at Christmas.

Video Message Tip #2: If Santa is only delivering gifts at home, and not your travel destination, include a comment about this in the message.

2. Deliver a Special Letter from Santa

Write a letter from Santa telling the kids that he knows they are traveling, and that he won’t forget them. Have it “magically appear” on Christmas Eve. Be festive and creative with the letter! And be sure to put it in an envelope addressed to your travel destination, and with The North Pole as the return address.

Portable North Pole

Santa Letter Tip #1: Don’t pen the letter yourself. Your kids may recognize your writing!

Santa Letter Tip #2: Not feeling creative? There’s lots of online elves to help create that perfect Santa letter, including Portable North Pole,, SantaClausHouse,com, and FreeLettersFromSantaClaus.

3. Ship Select Gifts To Your Destination

Select two or three highly prized gifts and ship them ahead to your Christmas destination. If you are visiting family or friends, ship the gifts to them and ask that they hide the gifts until you get there. If you are staying in a hotel, wait until after you’ve checked in and the kids are out of sight before picking up the shipped gifts.

Christmas Gifts

Air Travel Tip: Don’t pack wrapped gifts. Airport security may require they be unwrapped at security check-points, and you could end up ruining the surprise.

Road Trip Tip: If bringing the kids’ gifts in the car, make sure you tuck them safely away so the kids don’t find them.

Hotel Tip: Call the hotel in advance to check for any special shipping requirements.

4. Pack the Christmas Stockings

Nothing says Christmas like stockings hung by the fireplace. What to do when traveling? Bring them with you! Once at your destination, hang the stockings up. Then on Christmas Eve, after the kids fall asleep, slip a few goodies from Santa into each stocking.

Hanging Christmas Stockings

Stocking Tip #1: Pack a few Command Hanging Hooks to hang the stockings with.

Stocking Tip #2: Put a letter from Santa into the stocking.

5. Decorate With Ornaments From Home

Pack several special ornaments from home. Once at your destination, have a family decorating party and make that room merry and bright. The kids will enjoy a festive and familiar touch of Christmas from home.

Holiday Decorations

Decorating Tip #1: Use several Command hanging hooks to create a “rope effect” from which to hang the ornaments.

Decorating Tip #2: Have each child choose one special decoration to bring.

6. Bring a Coveted Family Tradition With You

Incorporate a portable yet special family Christmas tradition into your travel plans. Perhaps its’s the oh-so-popular The Elf On The Shelf. Maybe it’s a special Santa Claus plate for Christmas Eve cookies. Or maybe it’s both! Bringing a little of Santa’s magic with you can help the kids remain confident that Santa knows where they are. Especially when he takes a bite out of that cookie!

Christmas Cookies

Our Traveling Family Tradition: Our “at home” Christmas Eve tradition is a special plate of home-made cookies and reindeer treats for Santa and his reindeer. When traveling, we bring that same Santa Claus plate with us, and let the boys pick out special treats for the plate. Yum! Midnight snack anyone?

7. Ensure Gifts Are Under the Tree Back Home

If you can’t bring the kids’ Christmas gifts with you, make sure they are placed around the tree or on the kitchen table back home before you return. Find a trusted family member or friend to play Santa Claus while you are away by placing the gifts in a pre-determined location. Just imagine the kids’ excitement when you get back home!

Christmas Trees

Gifts Back Home Tip #1:  Have “Santa” snap a photo of the gifts and send it to you. Show the kids that photo on Christmas morning as “proof” that Santa didn’t forget them.

Gifts Back Home Tip #2: Include the photo in a letter from Santa. The kids will think he took the photo!

8. Enjoy a Local Christmas Tradition

Find a holiday tradition for everyone to enjoy at your destination. Book a special Christmas Eve dinner. Attend a local fireworks display. Drive around neighborhoods all lit up for the Holidays. Stroll through a local park or gardens decorated for the Holidays. Partake in a festive Hawaiian Christmas Luau. You get the idea!

Celebrate Christmas Traditions

PreBook Tip: Prior to departing,, search for family Holiday events at your destination and book reservations if required.

Our Most Favorite On-the-Road Christmas Tradition: Sledding after Christmas Eve Dinner in Yellowstone National Park.

9. Track Santa Claus on Norad

Follow Santa as he delivers gifts across the world, and to your home. Just go to the NORAD Santa website or app, and follow Santa Claus and his reindeer as they make their way across the world.

Find Santa

How We Tracked Santa One Year: We used the NORAD App so we could follow Santa where ever we were – and where ever he was. My kids were so excited knowing that Santa would soon arrive in their neighborhood.

What’s Your Santa Strategy for Family Travelers?

Have you traveled with children who are afraid Santa won’t find them when they are away from home for Christmas? How have you handled this dilemma?

Do you have a magical Santa strategy for traveling families to share? If so, do share with us! Help others traveling at Christmas keep it merry and bright for their kids.

Happy travels!

Images from: Postcard via DanielRamirez (Flickr), Santa’s Letter from PortableNorthPole, Gift Boxes via Michael Wyzsomierski (Flickr), Stockings from PersonalCreations, Ornament from CommandBrands,  Elf and Cookies via CBiederman, Christmas Tree via HikingArtist (Flickr), Fireworks via Underground (Flickr), Castle Lights via Keiichi Inoue (Flickr), and NORAD.


    • carolbiederman says

      Thank you Amit. It was fun to write … kind of like a walk down memory lane of Christmas past.
      Hope you are having a great weekend!

    • carolbiederman says

      Hi Rhonda, thanks. We’ve taken the kids’ stockings with us, threw in a couple of gift cards, and some candy, and they were good to go! All easy enough to pack.
      Happy Holidays!

  1. says

    Hey Carol,

    I don’t have kids and I don’t travel during the holidays but these are really great ideas.

    Now I knew about the first one, I think I learned about that last year or the year before so I thought that was such a cool idea.

    When we were young we would always go to grandma’s house so my parents just told us that he always knew where we were and of course I believed them. Ah, the good old days.

    Thanks Carol and fabulous.

    Adrienne recently posted..How To Grab The Attention Of Your Target AudienceMy Profile

    • carolbiederman says

      Hi Adrienne, many thanks for the kind words. I tried the “he always knows where you are” but my youngest asks too many questions! He wanted “proof.” So we had to come up with ideas over the years to placate his concerns about Santa knowing where he was.

      I’m with you the Holiday traveling! After last year’s “close call” to being stranded due to a snow storm, we are staying put this year. Now I just have to entertain two boys off school for ten days straight – while working.

      Happy Wednesday! Hope your week is going great.

  2. says

    Wow Carol ! I love all of those ideas!

    For families that travel at Christmas with little ones your ideas are very creative and using them will make things so much easier for the entire family and so much more exciting too. Kids love Christmas and they add so much excitement to the season and I love that you do so many things to ensure that your kids are happy and comfortable with being away from home for Christmas.
    Sicorra recently posted..Calling All Bloggers: New Year, New You #GiveawayMy Profile

    • carolbiederman says

      Hi Sicorra, thanks so much! It was like a walk down memory lane writing this post, thinking back to all the times we’ve had to convince the boys that Santa would find them no matter where they were. Probably my most challenging one was when we were in Yellowstone National Park for Christmas Day. That’s when I thought of the stockings. It worked!

      Happy Wednesday!

  3. says

    Hi Carol,

    Fantastic ideas for anyone taking Christmas on the road – I’ve only ever been away from home for Christmas as an adult and it must be a real challenge if you have kids, not to spoil the magic. The thing about Santa is, his sleigh can go anywhere, can’t it, so I don’t see why that should ever need to be a worry :)
    Susan Neal recently posted..How Keeping a Journal Transformed My LifeMy Profile

    • carolbiederman says

      Hi Sue, thanks! It is a challenge being on the road at Christmas with kids who believe in the magic of Santa. And since we do not have any family nearby, we’ve spent quite a few Christmas’s traveling to family, or traveling to find snow. And that’s why we had to show the kids that Santa really can go anywhere if you just believe.

      Happy Friday!

  4. says

    These are wonderful ideas, Carol! Now I want to be traveling at Christmas just so I can use a few of them. We are generally home for Christmas as the bulk of our family lives nearby. I can imagine though for families who do travel, making sure Santa finds them is a top priority! Have a great weekend!
    Shannon recently posted..Blog Round-Up: Week of December 9, 2013My Profile

    • carolbiederman says

      Hey Shannon, thanks! Travel experiences worth sharing, huh! We don’t live near anyone in our family, so for many years, that’s what we did – either travel to them, or travel to find snow. I would prefer to stay home, and in fact, this year we are, but it feels kind of odd. That’s ok, we are up for making our own “at home” memories this year.

      Happy Friday!

  5. says

    These are some really great ideas! I know as I kid if we traveled, I would have been very, very concerned about Santa finding me! :) Growing up, my family pretty much lived with 10 minutes of each other, so the only problem was getting me to go to sleep on Christmas Eve so Santa could visit. Now I’m the one who moved thousands of miles away, but I still make it home for Christmas and Santa still manages to find me! :)
    Tanya recently posted..Redemption Peanut Butter FudgeMy Profile

    • carolbiederman says

      Hi Tanya, Thanks! Yes, my youngest boy was very concerned about Santa finding him, so I had to be creative. How awesome that you grew up around family – I did too, and now that I too am thousands of miles away from most my family, I really miss it, and am kind of sad that my boys don’t have that large family gathering like we used to do when I was a kid. My brothers and sisters have moved around and it’s hard to get together at that time of the year. So glad that you are able to make it home!

  6. says

    These are such sweet ideas! We used to bring all the kids’ gifts to Grandma’s house a day’s drive away. Plus we packed the gifts for the extended family there. After a while it just got to be too much. (We have 4 kids.) Staying home for Christmas became our new holiday tradition. We drove to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving instead & brought all the gifts for extended family at that time. Much easier!
    Maggie recently posted..How to Make Beautiful Christmas Twig DecorMy Profile

    • carolbiederman says

      Hi Maggie, thanks! Bringing the gifts with us hasn’t been an option as our travels involved flights. So I had to be creative with the kids and Santa.

      We are staying home this year for Christmas. My youngest begged to be home this year for Santa, and since this could be our last year in the believing world (he just turned 10) we decided to stay home for him. Feels strange, but nice., not having to pack things up, figure out how Santa will find us this year. Looking forward to just hanging at home.

  7. says

    Hi Carol,

    Sorry for being a little late – just caught up with things with the kids getting ready for their holidays too :)

    Although we don’t travel during the holidays, but because the kids also get their break during this time, it’s fun at times, whenever we do visit my Dad or other relatives. Oh yes…I’d first read of the North Pole video of Santas at Carolyn’s blog last year I think, and loved the concept of the card Santa sends, I think it’s SO lovely and personal, isn’t it? Wonderful list of ideas indeed.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice weekend :)
    Harleena Singh recently posted..Do Miracles Happen in Real LifeMy Profile

    • carolbiederman says

      Hi Harleena, no worries! I’m running late too! And I’m still not caught up. Hoping to be some time in January. :)
      We are actually staying home this year. Feels odd but I’m liking it. And so is my youngest. He really does not like traveling at Christmas. He’s the reason I came up with all these ways for Santa to find us!
      Happy Sunday to you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge