How to Handle Kids Gifts for Christmas Away From Home
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Whether you are packing up the car or hopping on a plane this Christmas, the traveling family's biggest dilemma is how to get the gifts to your destination in one piece. Here are some ideas to keep your Christmas joyful and manageable.
The less gifts you need to transport the better. Think small and flat, think gift card. You can buy music downloads for teens and even electronics and DVDs are pretty easy to cart around. Another great gift that doesn't take up space is tickets to a special event. I'm buying tickets to the traveling production of Annie for my daughter this year. Older kids will love concert tickets too.
It's also a good idea to downsize literally. Buy less. I know it's hard to imagine, but your children will still love you on Christmas day even if you buy half of what you normally would. While shopping, keep in mind that feeling you have every year on Christmas afternoon - the one where you wonder what you were thinking!
If there is something they really wanted that you're unable to transport, you may have to get creative. I know one person who had a friend go to her house while the family was away and set out all the gifts as if Santa had been there.
This option may work if your kids are a) older, or b) easily fooled. If you kids are older, they probably won't mind opening their gifts early, especially if there are more gifts waiting for them at your destination. However, you can really spoil the Santa thing for little kids if you're not careful. Make sure you have a well-crafted story in place about why Santa is coming early. Better yet, if your Santa typically brings just one or two presents, or even just the stocking, explain how you have let him know where your kids will be on Christmas and then take just those items with you. Open your children's gifts from you ahead of time.
If you are physically transporting gifts with you, your best bet is NOT to wrap gifts ahead of time. This can be a big pain for the person doing the wrapping because you'll have a very short time span in which to complete the task. You'll also need to think of a way to transport the gifts without ruining the surprise or killing Santa. If you can use a large suitcase, great. If you're flying, this is about your only option if you want to take gifts with you.
If you'll be visiting friends or family for the holidays, you can order gifts online and have them shipped to your destination. You could also ship pre-wrapped gifts ahead. Make sure you allow for double shipping time. You also may want to split up gifts into several boxes in case one gets lost.
If you have time you could shop at your destination.
Whatever you decide, you'll still have to get the gifts home. Don't forget to take into account gifts kids (and adults) will receive from other at your destination.