This will be our family’s first holiday travel season with Penelope and I look forward to introducing her to a time of the year that I really enjoy. Spending time with our family is very important to us – especially over the holidays – and my husband and I each come from a fairly large family, so there are lots of celebrations to be had!
In order to visit our family, travel is involved. Anyone with a tiny human knows that travel might as well be a 4-letter word. Although this is my first go-around, here are a few things I’m thinking as we head into this holiday travel season to help keep everyone smiling.
Set Some Limits
I’m doing what’s best for my little family – even if that means sometimes saying no.
We are so lucky that every aunt, uncle and cousin (and there are lots of them!) wants to be involved in Penelope’s first holiday season, but unfortunately a majority of our family gatherings require a couple hours drive. If we said yes to every single celebration, we would be going-going-going for the entire season. That’s a lot of hours in the car, and honestly, Penelope doesn’t do that great in the car – she is a mover and a shaker. I have to set some limits to make this work.
So my husband and I had to strategize, and here’s what we came up with: We are choosing one gathering with each side of our families over the entire holiday season.
Also, there’s a new family on the block to accommodate – my own. We need some time at home to figure out how just the three of us will celebrate together and create our own traditions, too. I’m looking forward to that time the most (if I’m being honest).
If you can’t be home, bring home.
To overnight or not to overnight? That is the question.
I’m doing whatever is easiest for us based on the situation, and when I can, will make sure that Penelope is tucked into her own bed. I am going to look at the big picture to make the determination: what we did the previous day, how full is that day, and whether or not the gathering is planned in the evening close to bedtime.
There are times when staying overnight just makes sense, and for those occasions, I’m planning to take pieces of home with us. Simply taking her sound machine, bedtime books, and her breeze playard with a sheet that smells like home will re-create that familiar experience for her. On past overnight trips this has worked perfectly… let’s cross our fingers it works again!
Build in extra time if possible and don’t rush under any circumstances
I try to live by this everyday and I feel like it is especially useful during the holiday time. Our normal days feel much more calm if I’m not worried about an exact schedule. Holiday gathering start at 3PM and we don’t get there until 4PM? I’m not stressing. The party doesn’t start until we walk in anyway! Getting there late but having everyone in a good mood beats on-time-and-cranky any day.
So these are the three things I’m thinking about as I head into my first holiday season as a mama. But it’s my first time, so I’d love to hear from all you traveling pros – what are your holiday traveling tips?
Written by Nicole C., a 4moms brand ambassador and FOLD contributor. Read more about Nicole here.