How Do YOU Do Christmas...if You Travel?

Updated on December 13, 2011
S.B. asks from Omaha, NE
14 answers

My husband and I are considering going "home" (St. Louis) for Christmas with our two boys, 14 and 9. We have lived in Omaha for almost 9 years and have not celebrated a Christmas in St. Louis since 2002. Our oldest does not believe in Santa and the 9 year old is seriously questioning his existence. I don't want to have to tote a bunch of gifts to and from (just don't have the room). I know that lots of families travel for the holidays so how do YOU do it???

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone! I guess I should have been more specific. I have shipped all of our gifts FOR people in St. Louis so those are already there. The gifts for the boys--from grandparents, aunts/uncles, etc.--are a different story since everyone sends their gifts or money to our house. (We don't normally travel and weather could prevent us traveling...) So...I have to take all the boys' gifts from these people to St. Louis and then home. Luckily, I have done the shopping for the grandparents and bought (relatively) small items, although they still take up space in my trunk.

I think the biggest question I was asking was how to go about opening the presents from "Mom & Dad" and "Santa", if we're not at home on Christmas morning. I love the idea of opening before we leave...but saving one or two to open when we get back. ...and having a neighbor put out the Santa gifts is brilliant!!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Dec 25 is also my son's birthday. We have spent the holidays with DH's family since 20 years before DS was born and that is not going to change. We give him the option of getting his presents from us before we leave or when we get back (we usually go for 5 days). He always picks before we go (he will be 6). He gets plenty of gifts from the rest of the relatives on his birthday and we don't worry about it.

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answers from Denver on

This year I told my kids (much younger than yours) that Santa was making a special trip to our house because we are traveling to NY and would be stopping by the night of New Years Eve (we return that morning) with all their gifts.

They didn't question it at all....

In the past when we've traveled I've had a friend come over and put all the presents under the tree so they were waiting when we returned...but didn't want to deal with kiddos going crazy wanting to open gifts the day we return from a week in NY...

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Memphis on

We celebrate Christmas at our house prior to leaving for the family houses 9 hours away. One present from Santa is held back and brought along to be opened Christmas morning. We only do one Santa present and it is usually nice but not the coolest present either (those should be from Mom & Dad). This works well for us.

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answers from Jacksonville on

We ordered all of our gifts online and shipped them to my parents house. That way they are waiting there for us when we fly in, and we can wrap them when we get there. Most people know we have to fly back and forth so they get us gifts that are easy to pack. Toy my daughter loves that are too big to come with us get shipped home, toys that are too big to pack that she wasn't over the top about stay there to be played with next time we come to grandma and grandpa's house.

P.S. With all the free shipping deals going on, I think we only paid shipping for two gifts. :)

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answers from Santa Fe on

We open the big gifts (ones from mom/dad and Santa) at home once we get back. I do order and have shipped to the grandparent's house some gifts though. If nothing is big in size we do it all at the grandparent's house (another state) and nothing at home. Relatives who are not there mail things to our house and we have a 2nd xmas at home when we get home.

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answers from Madison on

We travel by plane every other year to spend Christmas with my parents. If we will be at my parents, we have Santa come to our home before or after our trip. We have a special arrangement with him on the years we travel. :)

When at my parents, we exchange gifts with my parents and have stockings hung for small items from Santa. It would be too hard/expensive to bring along all our presents for the kids. We then have a separate celebration with Santa gifts when we return home.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Dec 25 is also my son's birthday. We have spent the holidays with DH's family since 20 years before DS was born and that is not going to change. We give him the option of getting his presents from us before we leave or when we get back (we usually go for 5 days). He always picks before we go (he will be 6). He gets plenty of gifts from the rest of the relatives on his birthday and we don't worry about it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You Can:

SHIP THEM IN ADVANCE. If you are flying you can not travel with wrapped gifts! or Also, I order gifts online and ship them to my parents house. I wrap when I get there. It's also great time for me and my mom to sit, talk and wrap presents together. She considers are time together a great gift.



answers from Savannah on

We are going to be staying with family out of state this year as well. Here is our plan: We will have a stocking for our son when he wakes up, just so we can have those cute pictures in Christmas PJs. And When we get back home, since our bodies will be wide awake from another time zone, we will have our family Christmas, which we will set up right before we leave for the airport on our way out the door.


answers from Dayton on

My family traveled from Florida to Ohio every year until I was 17 (when we moved).
Almost all the gifts had been purchased before hand and taken along.
My parents had a minivan. 3 kids and a dog.
And a roof carrier. We were packed to the gills.
Could you rent a larger vehicle?

One year we all got Cabbage Patch Kids...they all traveled back and forth w/ us. Lol.One year I got a stereo...that was opened at home.

GL!!! H&HMomma has a good idea there w/ the friend putting the stuff under the tree while your gone. :)
That would have been hard for us (as kids) though because we did not return home until New Years.


answers from Washington DC on

Well...Santa brings 3 gifts to our kids. When we traveleld to Disney World in 2009 for Christmas, he put their big gifts in their stockings and gave them to them early...on their seats when we got in the car to go. The boys got DS's and my daughter got a digital camera. The other gifts we planned to be small enough to pack under blankets in the back. So Santa still found us in Orlando, even though we're from Maryland.

Can you ship them ahead of time? And do the mom and dad gifts when you get back?



answers from San Francisco on

We only travel 1 1/2 hours, so I will not get into the logistics of getting the gifts to and from, because our situations are very different.

However my son realizes that Santa just knows where he is going to be and never makes a mistake...



answers from Dallas on

I ship our gifts to my inlaws house whenever possible. We wrap Santa gifts for the travel time - if we have to bring them. Then open them and put them unwrapped under the tree.
With my kids, though, they are pretty oblivious to details and the 8 yo is just now starting to question Sanat. Our elf flies to grandparents - we give him detailed instructions on how to get there - LOL.
It is carting all the gifts home that is a challenge. We have a truck, so that helps, but one year my son received a Thomas Train Table and we had to ship almost all the gifts, except the table home via UPS.



answers from Houston on

Suggest gift cards to anyone wanting to give a gift and explain you don't have room to bring home large gifts. That way you don't have to worry about anything breaking or lost parts or anything.

We have waited until we arrived to get gifts, so we didn't have to lug everything there. We have also mailed gifts to where we are staying. One year we just brought 2 presents for our LO we knew he would like so he'd have something nice to play w/away from home, and left the rest of the gifts at home.



answers from Santa Barbara on

I have had my daughter's friend here from Rhode Island for Christmas and her mom shipped everything out in advance via UPS. I put her on the plane back home with an extra suitcase and paid the baggage fees.

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