By Tim Johnson
Moving as a kid is bad enough; moving over the holidays might seem to be a peculiar form of child abuse.
I should know. I moved from New York to Texas over the Christmas/New Year holidays in the early 80s when I was in elementary school.
However, although it was hard leaving friends and making new ones in a strange, unfamiliar place, the move itself was relatively painless because my folks made all the right moves.
They kept us involved in the process right from the get-go: They told us about the houses they were looking at and asked us what us kids were interested in having. When they bought the house, they took photos to show us. They visited the schools and took pictures to show us.
And when we moved, we made it a sort of mini-vacation: we stopped at hotels along the way that had lots of kid-friendly stuff – pools, gamerooms, etc. – and we took in the local sites. What might have been a drive of dread was a genuinely fun time that I'll remember the rest of my life.
And we didn't view it as a 'lost' Christmas. Although we were on the road over Christmas Day, we stopped at a relative's house along the way and celebrated with them. And when we got to Texas, we set up Christmas decorations so that the house had a festive air.
While the actual relocation adjustment was hard – Texas was mighty different from New York in them days -- we created memories in our new hometown that helped us think of it as a home long before we had spent much time in it.
How are you planning your move?
If you wait to move until the major holidays are over so that you can celebrate Christmas and New Years with all the friends and family in your hometows, this might be a good way to say goodbye and create some lasting memories.
But practically speaking, if you do all the gift-opening in your old home, you might be creating more work for yourself by having to pack any holiday decorations and presents from the holiday after all your regular packing is done. Is this extra work worth it?
If you choose to celebrate the holidays in your new hometown, this could be a good time to create new traditions with your family in a new home; just having holiday decorations up at your new place might help your kids feel better in their new home.
However, decorating a new home while unpacking everything else might prove a logistical challenge -- not to mention finding the right boxes with all the holiday presents...
Whichever way you do it, get the kids' input on every aspect of your relocation (where it makes sense, of course). The more involved they are, the easier it will be.
And remember to tell the kids: Wherever they live, Santa will find them. He's like the IRS that way.
Your Next Move: