It’s the eternal struggle: Do you spend the holidays in the comfort of your home, where traditions can live on, memories are strong, and family members can drop in and out as they please? Or, do you take the extra days off and jet away to a vacation rental somewhere warm and sunny (or if you prefer, snowy and cozy)?
Maybe if you can find a way to capture the magic of being home for the holidays, and bring it to wherever the next flight out takes you, you don’t have to choose – Christmas will follow you wherever you go.
Here are our tips on making your holiday vacation rental feel a little more like home for the holidays:
1) Get a tree.
It may seem obvious, but most people wouldn’t go through the trouble of getting a Christmas tree (or any other holiday decorations you traditionally use) while staying in a vacation rental – especially if their trip is a short one. But bringing that sense of home and holidays wherever you go will be worth the effort – whether it’s getting a mini-table top version, bringing an artificial tree, or asking the property owners if they’re OK with you going all out and going to the local Christmas tree farm; You won’t regret it when you wake up on Christmas morning and see the glow of the lights with presents underneath – just like home. Which brings us to the next tip..
2) Bring (or buy) gifts.
A lot of the time families will go on trips in lieu of getting each other gifts – which is a great idea in terms of saving money, avoiding wasteful spending, and not adding extra junk to already full lives. However, it can make for an anti-climactic Christmas morning when everyone walks into the living room of the vacation rental to gather around the tree and there’s nothing there. Even if you’re trying not to spend much on gifts, or save room in your luggage, you can still pick a few token items and trinkets to wrap and open on the big day. Bring or make a handmade gift to wrap in the most Christmassy paper you can find and set under the tree. Buy something you know they’ll need and want anyway (sunscreen or a towel on a beach holiday? A good book and a bottle of Baileys for a winter getaway?) and will appreciate opening on the day of. The simple act of unwrapping something and being surprised can do wonders for Christmas spirit – no matter how big or small the package inside.
3) Eat the same food
The beauty of staying in a vacation rental as opposed to a hotel is that you have your own private kitchen to cook up a feast with all your favourite traditional dishes. Even if you have to modify a bit for weather/availability of ingredients/time spent – just the act of cooking and enjoying a Christmas meal will fill you with holiday joy – and pie.
4) Bring traditions with you
It’s probably easy enough to sip hot chocolate or play board games by the fire like you would at home when your vacation rental is tucked away in a cabin in the mountains; but if you’ve opted for warmer temperatures this December, being anywhere but on a beach in anything in a bikini can seem a bit weird. However, if you can bring some of those holiday traditions with you – whether it’s wearing PJ’s all morning or cooking a big pancake breakfast – wherever you are will feel a little more like home – just hotter.
5) Embrace the change
After all that, no matter how hard you try, you may have a hard time feeling the holiday spirit while splashing in the waves or soaking up the sun on a beach somewhere – or even curled up next to the fireplace – somewhere other than home. The best thing you can do, if that’s the case, is to embrace wherever you are to the fullest. That’s not to say you should ignore the holidays all together – but maybe it means creating all new traditions; Christmas morning is a BBQ on the beach and a dip in the ocean (complete with Santa hats, of course), Christmas eve is a nighttime ski and apres in the hot-tub (complete with Santa hats…of course). As much as it can sting being away from home over the holidays, creating some new amazing memories with the people you love is enough to inject some holiday cheer wherever you are (and some rum, eggnong, & pie thrown in for good measure can’t hurt either).
Are you spending the holidays away from home? What are you doing to bring a bit of holiday cheer with you? Let us know in the comments, or at @findarental.