Christmas morning. Our kids race to the tree, toddling their way down the stairs to see if Santa came. My husband and I grab our coffee, sit on the couch and take in the scene. Life doesn’t give you too many moments like this. With the last gift opened, we look at our watches, take one last look around and announce, “That’s a wrap, kids. It’s time to move.”
If you’re moving this holiday season, you may need a quick pep talk. I’m here for you. My family and I moved from Knoxville, TN to Chicago, IL on December 26th. I feel your pain. Now that I’ve lived through a holiday move, I can tell you that it’s not that bad. Well, it’s not much worse than a move any other time of the year. Here are the pros and cons of moving during the holidays.
The Pros of Moving During the Holidays
Family and Friends Offer Their Homes To You
Family and friends seem more amenable to opening up their home to you as you transition from one place to another. The holiday spirit is alive and well at this time of year. We received more sympathy and help with our holiday move than any of our other moves. When we moved from Tennessee to Illinois, we stayed with family in Ohio through New Year’s Day. That transition period provided a respite in the midst of the moving chaos. We could enjoy the magic of the holidays and treat our stopover as a mini-vacation.
You Can Enjoy The Holidays with Lower Expectations
You can only worry about so many things at once. With so much of your worry meter spent on moving logistics, you will naturally spend less time stressing out about the holidays. Maybe you’ll turn down an invitation to a holiday party that you don’t really want to attend or you’ll decide not to purchase unnecessary gifts. Overall, your expectations for the holidays will be much lower in terms of both emotional and physical needs. You may even look back fondly on this time of a simpler holiday.
Starting School Mid-Year Can Be a Great Thing
An added benefit of moving during the holidays is that starting school in the middle of the year can be good for your child. Both teachers and students alike take an active interest in the new student. This is less true when it’s the start of the school year and everyone is new to the teacher. Your child will receive specialized attention, which can help with the transition of starting somewhere new. Many people I’ve interviewed moved mid-year and (so far) unanimously agreed that starting school in the middle of the year proved beneficial for their child.
The Cons of Moving During the Holidays
The Stress of the Holidays Can Get to You
I probably don’t need to tell you this, but moving during the holidays means holiday stress plus moving stress. It’s a double whammy in some ways, although it doesn’t have to be. In order to keep the worry level down, focus on the things you can control. Get an early start on the moving logistics, use my checklists to keep things easy, and begin your holiday shopping as soon as possible.
Winter Weather May Cause Additional Delays – Be Prepared
Murphy’s Law was made for moving. If you’re moving during the holidays, something that often goes wrong is winter weather. Be prepared for travel snafus as flights and moving trucks may be delayed. Pack additional clothing and snacks with these delays in mind. Consider how you will keep your new home clean on moving day if a snowstorm hits. Set up an area by your front door with towels or tarps to keep the snow and water off your new floors. If you’re moving to a place with colder weather, buy your winter clothes and boots before you move. It’s not as easy to find snow pants in January as you might think. I learned the hard way.
Nostalgia May Hit Even Harder at this Time of Year
Many of us brush the sentimental side of moving under the rug, so it often hits us unexpectedly on moving day. Moving during the holidays may include an extra dose of nostalgia. Whenever we move I inevitably play the “This is the last time” game in my mind. Sure it’s tough when you think “This is the last time we’ll eat at this restaurant together”. However, it doesn’t compare to “This is the last time my son will hug me in front of this fireplace on Christmas day.” The sadness will be there. All we can do is prepare ourselves for those moments and remind ourselves about the happy moments that await us in our new city.
Hang In There
There are positives and negatives to moving during the holiday season, but I would say that the balance tips in favor of a holiday move being a good thing. The end of the year often makes us reflect on our lives and we look forward to a fresh start in the New Year. That’s what moving is all about, too. Even though we may feel stressed out about moving at this time of year, it’s a chance to appreciate what we have and to feel excited about what lies ahead. I wish you luck on your holiday move. If you’ve already survived moving during the holidays, what was your coping strategy?