30 answers

Traveling with Santa??

With Christmas approaching, I need to start making plans and have a question...
For the last couple of years I have refused to travel at Christmas partly due to having to haul/hide all of the Santa gifts on the way there and then haul it all back....unfortunately for us this means spending Christmas "alone" with no extended family around, so I am reconsidering.

For those of who travel at Christmas...how do you handle the Santa situation? Any pointers to make it easier?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

We always tell my daughter and now will tell my son that where ever their stocking are hung is where Santa will find them. So when we leave to head up to my parents we always take the stockings and rehang them there.

Ship packages to the location like at Thanksgiving. For larger items, leave at the house with a note from Santa.

The last time we traveled at Christmas time I did most of my shopping online at Amazon and other sites with free shipping. I had the gifts shipped to my sister-in-laws and wrapped them when we got there. Then we shipped them back home.

More Answers

I've never had to deal with this, but I like the idea of having 2 Christmases - one where you are, and one when you get home. Tell the kids you're going to write to Santa letting him know you'll be out of town and to please deliver the presents to your house so you don't have to carry them home on the plane. Ask for only a couple to go to where you are going to be if you think other family will give "santa" presents. I'd ask the family NOT to give Santa presents, as you really don't need to be dragging stuff all over the place. Then you can have a 2nd christmas when you get back with your and santa's presents. Heck, what kid would complain about 2 christmases? :)

1 mom found this helpful

We travel from Dallas to Denver every year for Christmas. What we do is to hang up our stockings here, then when everybody's loaded in the car, I run in to get something I "forgot", and quickly fill the stockings and put the santa gifts under the tree. In Denver santa visits also and brings stocking gifts, but the other gifts are all from family. We do reindeer food and cookies for Santa in Denver. When we get back home, usually after the New Year's, the kids find that Santa has been here and left gifts for them. That way we get to enjoy the time in Denver with extended family, but still have a family Christmas at home, and the kids don't seem to mind that it's a week late!

We've got four kids, ages 3-8, and have been doing this since the oldest was 2. It works well for us.

1 mom found this helpful

We have had to travel the last 3 years for Christmas. Here is what I do:

In front of the children, I "dial" (it's easy to fool kids into thinking you are dialing) the North Pole and asked to speak to Santa. I then have a conversation with "Santa" about the 2 children. I tell him we have to travel on Christmas day and could he put them on the list for "early delivery". We usually get the delivery on the 21st or whatever works best. I pretend to listen to Santa and make comments like..."Oh you have to check your good/bad list to see which one they are on" etc.

I only wish I had set up a video camera while I did it because the hopeful looks while they waited to see if they were on the "good girl/boy list" and not the "bad girl/boy list" and the high fives for being on the good list were absolutely priceless.

Anyway, we have a regular Christmas with Santa gifts just a couple days early. It worked great and if we have to travel again this year I will do it again.

1 mom found this helpful

We have always had this problem since our family is also out of town. What we do is pack the kids up in the car, put the movie on and get them all settled in for the drive to Houston. Then my husband or I runs into the house to get out all of the Santa gifts and stuff the stockings. We also leave a note from Santa to the kids saying something like he hopes we had a fun time at Grandma's and that he went ahead and dropped off our stuff while we were gone. In the past the kids have also left a note for Santa telling him that they would be at Grandma's Christmas morning but would be back home on the 28th. That way Santa knows where to leave the goodies. The kids are always excited to drive back home and have "Christmas" all over again. Hope that helps!

1 mom found this helpful

Mail the gifts ahead. We have traveled several times at Christmas and that has always worked for us! It just means finishing up your shopping a little sooner. Mail them at least 3 weeks in advance to take advantage of cheaper rates. If you wait too long, you'll pay higher shipping costs! I've also taken advantage of buying online and having the items shipped to our relatives' homes, so they are waiting when we get there.

1 mom found this helpful

We write a letter to SANTA and let him know that we are going to be out-of-town and ask him if he can make SPECIAL arrangements to come to our home early... every year HE is so nice and comes early!
If we are out-of-town for Christmas-- Santa makes a "special trip" to our house the weekend before we leave We have Christmas eve on Sat. night and "Christmas Morning" on Sunday morning. Then we attend the 5 o'clock mass Sun. night and go out to a NICE dinner. Santa then comes again on actual christmas eve/christmas morning and delivers our stocking stuffers and a few books.

1 mom found this helpful

Ship packages to the location like at Thanksgiving. For larger items, leave at the house with a note from Santa.

Hi, I would say instead of hauling the gifts with you... simply pack them in a box and ship UPS or DHL and they will be there waiting for you when you get there! that way the kids wont see you get them out and your family can put them in a safe hiding place for you. I have friends who travel this way all the time with just shipping their luggage, its cheaper than checking your bags on an airplane (depending on size) and it usually does not get lost and its insured with UPS free up to 100.00 then you can pay more for extra insurance.

Hope that helps!
A. J

We have traveled every year since my daughter was born. (she will be 6 this year) We basically do Christmas twice. She gets a stocking wherever we are on actual Christmas (and usually at home as well) but her large Santa gifts are at home and we do Christmas when we get back. Since we have done this from the beginnning she is usually not dissapointed in the scene under the tree. We do have gifts for her where we are traveling, but they are usually from us and other family in case she sees them somehow in our travels. Maybe one or 2 small things from Santa. Just having him fill her stocking makes her know he didnt forget her and there will be things here when we get home.

Almost all our extended family is out of state, basically all within 40 miles of each other in Ohio. Not being there for Christmas for ME would be super hard, it just wouldnt feel right so it is worth the trouble to make it work for now.

I'm not sure if you are driving or flying, so that can definitely impact your plans. We travel to VA every other year at Christmas on a driving trip. My husband packs the Santa stuff first, usually in dark trash bags, then packs everything else on top. We usually buy less bulky gifts those years, then give a bigger gift on my daughter's birthday. My sister faces the same issue, and she always buys BIG gifts for her daughter. Typically, they bring the smaller gifts on the trip with them, and then explain that Santa visited both Grandma's house and their own house. So, when they get home from the trip to Grandma's, my niece has one or two big, bulky gifts at home which were dropped off by Santa while they were out of town. The way thay manage this is to have a relative or friend go in and set up those gifts in their living room after they leave town. This seems to work well for them.

Hi KC:

My family lives 3 hours away and we have a routine that's worked well since my two children were born. We go to church and the in-laws house on Cahristmas Eve and have dinner and opens presents, then come home. On Christmas morning, we get up a little early and open our presents and the Santa gifts...have a light breakfast and load the car with the other family gifts and drive up north...we do presents and Christmas lunch/dinner with the family in Oklahoma...spend the night with one of the relatives up there and come home the next day....workd great!

Good Luck!


We travel from Texas to Indiana every year and for the past two years we have written a letter to Santa asking him to visit our house early. We have had our "santa" the weekend before Christmas the past two years and it has worked out really well.

We have family in VA, AZ, LA, and GA, so we travel every Christmas with three children - 1 year, 4 years, and 18 years. We told the kids that Santa knew that we were going to Grandma's for Christmas, so he brought the presents early for us. But, he would leave the stockings at Grandma's house. We have a set of stockings that I ship with a few really awesome stocking-stuffers, and we open presents about 3 nights before we leave.
I just pack up a box and UPS it to the destination.
Now, none of the family buys gifts for the kids; they just send money and I buy the presents. If we go to my mom's house, I order the "presents from her" online and have them shipped to her house. I do the same if we go to other relatives' homes.
It's a pain, and it takes some planning, but it is worth it to have the kids spend holidays with their grandparents/great-grandparents.

Hey KC,
We traveled our first Christmas in Dallas and we went back to California. I shipped my family's gifts to them before we went for our visit and then they had gifts for us. We all got to open our gifts together but I didn't have to take them with me to California. After we came back to Dallas, my family shipped our gifts to us so we didn't have to travel back with them. It didn't cost too much--it was just toys. The clothes we got we packed in our suitcases to bring back. We knew we would probably get clothes so we didn't pack to much to go on our trip.
Hope this helps.

The last time we traveled at Christmas time I did most of my shopping online at Amazon and other sites with free shipping. I had the gifts shipped to my sister-in-laws and wrapped them when we got there. Then we shipped them back home.

We travel every year at Christmas, and typically to my family who are a 15 hr drive or two plane flight away. We have always left Santa presents at home, and my mom gets some for their stockings there. It's never anything big but they are always excited (5, 5, 9, 11). And the best part is when we get home, days after Christmas, and they run in to get the presents that Santa left them here.

We also leave the gifts from us at home under the tree, so they only get other family gifts on Christmas Day. It works out well to spread it out a bit and we don't have to mail or pack gifts to bring with us (and back!).

We are a Christmas traveling family. It has been hard and yet well worth it at the same time.
We too write a letter to Santa letting him know at which house we will be at that year, and the best way to get in without waking any of the other kids there.
We ship our presents to the respective house so the gifts are there (and ship home)...we also do stockings so those are shipped and hidden at the house.
It has turned out well for the 12 years we have been doing it. Since our get-togethers are limited it is a good time for the little cousins to play with each other.

We've done almost all the options. We've shipped things ahead and then we had to ship the large items home again. I think I spent over $100 on shipping that year. We've tried to go small with gifts and packed them in the suitcase without the kids seeing it. The kids seemed a little disappointed by the scene under the tree. The best thing seems to be to have Christmas ahead of time. One year we had a huge box show up with a return address of Santa's Workshop. I think we had a note that said that the elves were helping Santa out and shipping some items ahead of time. The kids loved it and talked about it for years. I would suggest the Santa at home is the best thing. I've had friends leave the gifts under the tree as they left and when they get home from their trip, Santa has come to visit. Good luck! Have fun with it.

Hello K C,

We are always traveling at Christmas. My husband's family lives in Austin, TX and my family is in Georgia. It is hard. We decided to have Christmas for our two children (Olivia, 3 and Benjamin, 2) before we leave to go on our Christmas vacation to visit family. We do take some of the smaller gifts plus their stockings for them to open on Christmas morning at my mom's house.

I hope this helps.


In my house Santa always came the day before we left town. Then he would visit again where ever we were staying but with only one or two gifts, usually a really special one.

We traveled almost every Christmas with our sons. Of course it was a hassle, but it was worth it. Take collapsable bags/luggage to bring home the loot (or ask relatives for gift cards). And gift cards for the relatives that you are going to visit are a great idea. Or you can leave a day or two earlier and shop after you get there. We quickly found out that relatives that wanted to see us for the holidays were not expecting big presents in bulky packages: they really just wanted us to be with them. As for our children, we had Christmas after we returned home. Sorry to be a wet blanket, but we never made a big deal of Santa and it totally freed us from all the hassles of keeping up the pretense. Gifts were from the people who loved us and thank you hugs and notes were required.

santa will still come to your house while you are gone...just make arrangements with a friend who will be around! What a surprise when you return home!

I would absolutely recommend traveling...christmas time is the best, especially with lots of family and friends! I would suggest that you mail boxes of christmas presents ahead of you...that way you dont have to travel with "santa". and then take an extra suitcase so you can travel home with santas goodies without mailing them. good luck! you can do it!

We always tell my daughter and now will tell my son that where ever their stocking are hung is where Santa will find them. So when we leave to head up to my parents we always take the stockings and rehang them there.

I usually ship them WEEKS in advance to make sure they get there on time. And then we just leave a few at home and have "Santa" come to our house when we are gone. You can do either or both. When we leave it at the house, I just have someone come over and set them out. It makes it so much easier!

Hope that helps!

We never gave in to the travel idea. However, we are not very close with our families.

Christmas is very special to us, as is Thanksgiving and we refuse to travel. It is our family time. If someone would like to join us, they are more then welcome to but when we had daughter 13 yrs ago, I said then, we will NOT be a family on the road on Christmas.

This works for us. We have family traditions that are very special to us.

ONE year (about 3 yrs ago) , we relented and went to see family for Thanksgiving. It was an ok trip and our daughter met family she had never seen and never will again.

On the plane trip home, my daughter asked me....."Mom, when we get home, can we make OUR THanksgiving dinner?"

That comment was all it took for us to know that what we have as a family of 3 IS the special family/tradition for her.

Good luck on your decision.

One year we traveled for Christmas and I bought almost everything online and had it shipped to my in-laws then wrapped it there. I think they enjoyed checking the boxes for me to see what the kids were getting before they were a million tiny pieces all over the floor.

Another year we were house sitting for friends. Their boys were getting a bike and golf clubs so we put it at there house by the Christmas tree on one of our visits.

I don't know the age of your boys, but we managed to convince our girls that it was Christmas on the 24th since we were traveling on the 25th. They didn't know that things didn't close down or anything and went right along with it. So I guess the age of your boys is a consideration.

I've heard of friends celebrating Christmas either before or after with Santa. Maybe a neighbor can leave gifts under the tree for you to find when you return or have it before you leave so they have new gifts to play with along their trip.

We frequently travel over the holidays. First, we make the travel part of the 'surprise'. I pack the kids and have everyone ready to go. When the kids wake up in the morning, there is an airplane ticket or a fun to-do driving travel bag by their bed.

In regards to the gifts, I buy most things online and have the items delivered to our destination. then the grown ups have fun wrapping when the kids are asleep. It's actually easier than trying to hide everything around the house!

Being near family is one of the wonderful parts about the holidays and it's so important for our children.

You could leave most of the gifts at home and have Santa come tonyoir house while you are gone, the
when the trip is over enjoy those gifts. Of, as we did one year, do some special vacation things but have fewer presents.

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