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?
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.
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, NorthPole.com, 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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.