Moving during holidays is the last thing anyone wants to do. Most people are wasting away time at work looking for the best deals and stuffing their faces with all kinds of yummy treats. But sometimes a holiday move is unavoidable. Don’t let an end-of-year move turn you into a Grinch! The holiday moving advice below will help you stay merry throughout the process.
Get Started ASAP
If your move is set for December and you can’t change that fact, start to get ready in September, or even August. Stock up on packing tape, boxes, Sharpies and anything else you think you might need. You can pack away all your fine dishes and entertaining accoutrements. No need for any of the flatware you normally use around the holidays.
Even if you end up using a professional packing service you can save time, stress and money by storing away little-used items way before your moving date.
Create a Checklist
Okay, the holidays are the most stressful weeks of the year and moving is one of the most stressful events you will deal with in your life. Put them together and you have a recipe for disaster. Stress overload will wreak havoc on your sleep quality, health, complexion, and waistline.
Create a moving checklist, as well as a holiday checklist to keep you on track. When you are confident things are going as planned and you are right on schedule, you will be able to relax and enjoy the time you do have to spend with family and friends.
When you are already stressed and exhausted, you absolutely do not want to then also have the responsibility of moving heavy boxes and furniture. Plus, driving a moving truck just takes stress to a whole new level, especially if you live somewhere that sees a lot of snow during the holidays. You have enough to deal with. Let the professionals take care of it, so you can be settled in a day, rather than dragging the process out. Plus, a strained back puts a real damper on holiday festivities.
Packing is so time-consuming and typically the most dreaded part of moving during holidays. It will take days to consolidate everything into boxes and disassemble furniture. Then, you have to reassemble and unpack your new place. At least hire packers for your current home. They can get everything done last minute, so you can leave decorations up and have one more dinner with loved ones before everything needs to be ready for the movers.
And when you go with the professionals to box everything up, save a few small holiday decorations that you can bring yourself to the new place. A small wreath, a short set of lights or anything that can get you in that celebratory mood. It will add a nice touch your new home as you unpack and get settled in.
Whether you are single and moving cross-country or have a family and are simply moving across town, there is no reason why you can’t have your main celebration a different day, and then a mini acknowledgement of the day on the actual holiday. If you are leaving town gather with everyone a week prior. If you have kids, have them write a letter to Santa explaining the situation, and have Christmas morning a different day when everyone will be home and Santa can make a special trip during the night.
Orphan Dinner Party
If you are in a new city, consider having an “orphan” dinner. Perhaps, ask around the office if anyone would be interested in having a potluck. There are probably a surprising number of people who have nowhere to go for the holidays. This is a great way to get to know everyone.
And if all your kitchen equipment is packed away in boxes or in a faraway storage facility, use the potluck as an opportunity to find quality takeout places in your new neighborhood. Encourage new friends to do the same and you can have a smorgasbord of local eats to sample.
Crank up the Tunes
Crucial to keeping up the holiday spirit is a steady diet of holiday music. The right version of “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” or “White Christmas” at the right time could be just the thing to pull you out of your moving-addled mind, just when the packing and jostling gets most intense.
When you move during the holidays, you might not know the local radio stations that blast 24-hour Christmas music. Be sure to have a holiday playlist loaded on your phone or MP3 player. Or, better yet, cue up the holiday music station on your favorite streaming app. It will be crucial to maintaining a sense of normalcy throughout your relocation.
When you are busy, you are more likely to grab convenient, unhealthy food. When you are sad, you are prone to binging on sugar. If you are stressed over getting ready for the move and sad that your holiday is not what you want it to be, you may choose a lot of junk food for comfort because of emotions. This will affect your mood and sleep quality. It is more important than ever to take care of yourself during this transition.
Since holiday treats are everywhere during the season, try to choose more healthy alternatives, like juice smoothies in the morning instead of that trendy salted caramel latte that the coffeehouses bring back every December. And see if you can pick up healthy granola bars at the local health food store instead of super-rich cookies for your holiday cookie swap parties.
Being in a new place during the holidays can be lonely, but nothing will make you feel better than giving back to the community. Find a local soup kitchen, animal rescue, charity event, etc., and volunteer to help. You will be surrounded by people who truly appreciate you being there, and that’s a wonderful feeling. Moving during holidays can be turned into a positive by meeting new people and putting your best altruistic foot forward.
Start a New Tradition
Maybe you always hosted Christmas Eve dinner, but this year, with all the packing and planning, you just don’t have it in you. That’s okay. Go out for dinner. Outsource all the cooking and cleaning to that fancy steakhouse in your new town. Who knows, you might even like the break so much, next year will bring another visit to the same joint and a wonderful new tradition.
Set it and Forget It
If your budget allows, plan a nice vacation to the sunniest, sandiest beach you can think of and find yourself a storage pod or container to fill up a few weeks before the move. Then your trusty moving company will just pick up the container, take it all over to your new pad and unload, as you sit and sip Pina coladas. Or daiquiris. Whatever floats your boat.
The key to this strategy is a laid back attitude and an experienced, trustworthy moving company. If you’re the type that needs to hover over the precious flat screen as it gets gently guided into the new living room, this scenario might not be for you. But, if you can, breathe deep, find that Zen place and let someone else take care of it all.
Mind Your Kids
One of our favorite pieces of holiday moving advice is to keep the little ones involved in the process. Have them pack up a few of their toys and stuffed animals and let them tape up the boxes. Maybe even decorate them. Letting them have an ownership stake in the move will get them excited and engaged.
On the day of, find ways to keep them occupied. Either pony up for their favorite babysitter to chase them around while you are supervising the furniture or send them off to the movies or a Chuck E. Cheese-style establishment.
Foster the Familiar
The holidays are all about keeping alive memories of seasons past. That is kind of hard to do when you are literally changing your surroundings and getting ready to inhabit a new space. Do you have a favorite ornament that your grandmother made especially for your when you were born? Or a special decorative ceramic handprint that you made in nursery school in the 1980’s? Be sure to keep that separate from the mountains of cardboard boxes you have prepared for the movers.
Just seeing that small reminder from holidays past can get you through the most stressful time of your move. Maybe even have a new ornament made to commemorate the move to the new house. You can sit in front of the fire 20 years from now, staring at it and remembering that crazy time you moved just a week before Christmas.
Have a Back-Up Plan
Moving during the holidays means moving right at the beginning of winter, when the weather could be at its most unpredictable. Rain, wind or snow could come barreling down at any moment. Or you could have a cold, dry day that won’t impede any move. But if that blizzard does come, you need a plan to deal with all the contingencies.
Know the local storage facilities in your current area or your new city. Try to contact them beforehand to get a sense of the process of acquiring some space for moving truck full of snowed-in belongings. It won’t be a fun problem to have, but it will be much easier to swallow if you budget and prepare for it ahead of time.
Moving during holidays, while not ideal, can be turned into a positive. Channel the energy and spirit of the season into your move and you will be surprised at how balanced you can keep yourself. It takes a bit of effort, but the better things in life often do.
If you are moving around the holidays or any time of the year, contact our FlatRate Moving crew and we’ll be happy to help.