Every military family has a running timeline in their head. When you’re awaiting orders to a new duty station, you quietly countdown the number of holidays, summers, and months until the next move to ensure you utilize your pantry wisely and don’t make any big purchases in the months prior to a move. And that careful planning can go right out the window when you find out instead of a nice, calm season at home, you’re now moving during the holidays.
So, how do you tackle moving during the holidays? “Off-cycle” moves, as they are often referred to, usually happen in the September through December time frame. If your family is at a school, or a promotion occurs, then “the needs of <insert service branch here>” could mean a move during those months. Packing paper and boxes do not leave those warm and happy fall or holiday feelings though. How can one keep the holiday spirit going with a move? Here are a few tips!
5 Decorating Tips for Moving During the Holidays
Removable Window Clings
The cheap, easily removed and moved around window clings are a must-have when moving during the holidays. You can decorate the inside of your windows at the home you are leaving, and chances are the packers won’t pack them. Once your house is packed up, move those window clings to the windows of your car or van. And once arrived at your new duty station, those window clings can be moved to the hotel windows or the windows of your new home! Talk about getting your money’s worth out of those dollar aisle window clings!
No, these aren’t the same as carving a pumpkin or a giant Christmas tree, but putting them up (and down, and up again) still count as decorations! Plus kids love them, and they can take them up and down off your car windows on the drive too – doubling as a distraction on a long, cross-country drive!
Battery Operated Lights
One of the signals of the season in our home is the change in lights. Purple lights go up for Halloween, a flickering candle on the patio beckons the season, and of course those brightly colored icicle lights for the winter holidays. When you are PCSing, it isn’t as easy to haul around the tub of lights, or always have somewhere to plug them in.
Enter the battery operated lights. Michael’s has a selection (don’t forget to use your Michael’s military discount!) of battery-operated string lights year-round, and for fall through winter holidays there are even more. The lights themselves are on a wire so you can wrap them around a lamp at a hotel, around a stroller handle, or even in your car while PCSing. There is something magical in just sitting and enjoying the lights that makes it feel like the holidays. The strings are lightweight, pliable to wrap and unwrap and since they require batteries, no need for a plug! Move them around as rooms are unpacked to add to the festive feeling.
Mobile Tree, Menorah, Pumpkin, etc.
If the candles were actually packed by the movers, you can’t bring in a live Christmas Tree into your hotel room, or you don’t have the supplies to carve that pumpkin—what should you do? If you will be in the hotel or in temporary housing for a period of the holidays, consider getting one light-weight object symbolizing the holiday. Consider a small tabletop Christmas Tree or an ornament that you can hang representing the holiday you are celebrating on the road. It may be small, but the ability to have something representing the holiday that isn’t packed helps bring the holidays home, no matter how settled or not home is at the moment.
“Stained Glass” Craft
If crafting is one of the things you typically do during the holidays, but cannot do easily because of a move, consider a stained glass craft. Our partner at MilMomAdventures shared this one for Valentine’s day, but it can be easily changed up for a pumpkin, turkey, or Christmas tree. This craft idea kills two birds with one stone—craft time is accomplished AND a major decoration is done. Boom. “Carve” the pumpkin with this kit from Michael’s by adding a drawn face to it, or decorate a tree with colored paper as well as green. Like the window clings, contact paper can easily be removed from the windows of the house or hotel.
Blast the Music
While not specifically decorations, music sets the mood. According to Psychology Today, music can alter mood and relieve stress. Stress relief is necessary when PCSing. In addition, music is attached to memories. Blast that “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” belt it out in the car, and relive those childhood memories while building new ones.
Celebrating the holidays in a hotel, car, or moving is not the ideal made for a Hallmark movie. The holidays are about making memories, and the moving process will provide many opportunities for memory-making. You can enjoy the holidays wherever you are. Incidentally, if your deployed military spouse is a fan of the holidays these tips can be helpful to them as well. While deployed this past Christmas, my husband put up a gift card Christmas tree and strung Christmas lights up in his room.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out 5 Tips to Help You Get Ready for the Holidays
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