how will I get through the holiday season without all of my cookware, baking supplies and decorations?
No, things are not the reason for the season, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel like the holidays without a few mementos or your favorite recipes.
So for those of you that are facing the prospect of celebrating on the road or with your things in transit or storage – here are 7 ideas to help you get through the holidays without your household goods.
1. Pack a few of your favorite things with you.
Sure, not everything can fit in your car(s) or suitcase, but a few favorites can. Maybe it’s a family heirloom or your kids’ stockings or a menorah that really helps you celebrate, whatever those few things are – pack them in your suitcase!
No, you won’t have room for everything but those few meaningful pieces will help put you in the spirit and make wherever you’re staying feel a bit more like home. Whether you’re in a hotel room or an empty new home – put those few things up and you’re sure to feel more in the spirit.
Plus, Santa will know just where to stop with those stockings hung on the hotel dresser with care.
2. Don’t forget to pack your favorite recipe and rely on pre-cut or prepared foods for your cooking needs.
Whether it’s the pot and 2 pans in an extended stay hotel or the ones you stashed in your car for your final destination, you probably don’t have everything you need to cook your traditional holiday favorites.
Check out your local grocery store’s produce and frozen aisle for pre-cut vegetables, prepared sides and even desserts to minimize prep and cook time in what is surely an understocked kitchen. This allows you to enjoy the tastes of the holidays, without all of the work or usual supplies.
3. It’s a great excuse to meet your neighbors.
My husband and I once moved right before Thanksgiving and immediately met our neighbors across the street. They were nice enough to invite us over for their family Thanksgiving dinner – not only was a home-cooked meal just what we needed after days on the road but we also got to sit on something besides our air mattress for a few hours.
Not every neighbor will invite you over, but it was great to have some hospitality when we were far away from home, and at the very least you’ll have a friendly face to smile and say hi to as you walk the dog or find your mailbox.
4. It’s a great reason to volunteer.
Find a soup kitchen, veterans home, USO, your new unit or local church that is looking for volunteers for holiday events. It will be a great introduction to your new community and a way to give back. Who knows – maybe it’ll be something you’ll want to do every year or you’ll meet a group of people that will become your newest friends at that duty station.
5. It’s a great excuse to explore your new duty station.
Maybe every year you buy pastries from a local bakery, well now’s the time to find your new bakery!
Instead of missing the old, discover the new.
You’ll find options for your favorite new bakery (or deli or bar) and satisfy that holiday craving. Take the time to explore your new neighborhood, learn about the community and hopefully, find your new favorite places. And by exploring your new duty station, you’ve got a leg up on how to navigate the grocery store when your household goods do finally arrive.
6. Enjoy your family traditions with a new twist.
Maybe you go look at holiday lights every year or roast chestnuts, if you can, find a way to continue your family’s traditions. If you’re on the road from Point A to Point B – see if one of the towns you’re stopping in for the night has a holiday market or light display or another event that fits into your own traditions and work that into your trip. It’ll create a special memory for your trip and holiday season.
One friend told me she and her husband visited the local Zoolights on their first Christmas away from home and while they were living in temporary lodging; she said it was nice to have something special to do together and created a lasting memory.
7. Plan your winter PCS around your family.
Are you moving from coast to coast and able to stay with family along the way? Instead of skipping your family holiday celebration (and breaking the news that you can’t come), join the fun with your parents, in-laws or cousins. Not only do you get to spend the holidays together but you’ll enjoy some comforts of home as well!