Making Christmas festive while on the road

While the song might say, “There’s no place like home for the holidays,” being on the road offers the excitement of places new and getting away from it all. Particularly, if staying at home means endless hours of decorating, baking cookies, and trying to make a day “perfect.” Instead of feeling relaxed with that holiday glow, you’re left feeling frazzled and about ready to bite someone’s head off.

Being on the road also avoids the let down feeling after presents are opened, the food has been eaten and darkness has set in because it’s winter and 5:30 pm (or therabouts), at least if you live in the northern hemisphere. However, being on the road can be a let down if you like the holiday trimmings and want to have some visual markers that a special time of the year is in one’s midst.

I’ve been on the road a few times on Christmas, and being one of those people who adore the holiday, but also adore travel, I have found a few ways to combine the best of both. Tinsel is a good place to start.

One Christmas we headed to Nepal to trek from Jomsom to Pokora on the apple pie trail. In my backpack, I packed a long tinsel garland, a silver musical bell that shook and played three Christmas songs when you smacked it, and stocking stuffers for the friends we were traveling with. I asked for everyone to give me one clean sock to put their loot in, including those gold foil covered chocolate coins. We also did a name draw where each of us received on nice present from someone in the group. Christmas Eve I pulled out the the bell and the garland to decorate the small, rough guest house we were staying at for the night. We also had gifts for the guest house owner, her kids and our guide and sherpas.

Another Christmas was spent in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It was my son’s first Christmas, and my daugher was nine. I bought some wall decorations, Santa hats and their stockings with us in our suitcase. While shopping Christmas Eve, I found some more Christmas ornaments to add a festive flair to our hotel room.

Last year, we went to Florida for Christmas. Christmas Eve was spent in Orlando. My four-year-old, soon to be five year-old, was happy to see traveling didn’t mean forgoing Santa and a tree. I bought a small table top tree, ornaments, a nativity scene and my kid’s stockings along. The tree even lit up. In each hotel room we decorated the tree and hung up the stockings. It established each place as “home.” Redecorating the tree went fairly quickly, and repacking was a me and kids’ task. The ornaments fit in a tupperware container so packing was easy and kept the ornaments from getting tangled. Toilet paper squares work wonders.

And, don’t forget to bring a favorite holiday CD along with you. Music works wonders for creating a joyous mood. If you have any ideas that you’ve tried on the road to help make the season bright, let us know.