A couple preparing moving boxes during Christmas overlay

How to Get the Best Out of Moving During the Holidays

Posted in How-to,Moving Tips & Tricks on December 16, 2022

Moving across the country is a big life transition, and an extremely stressful task, especially when you’re moving during the holidays. Having to pack your belongings when you should be celebrating and sharing the holiday spirit with your friends and family is difficult, and somehow seems unfair. That’s why we’re here to help you get organized so you can make the best out of a bad situation and have a jolly move.

Should I Move During the Holidays?

According to the US Department of Transportation, roads are filled with moving trucks around the period of Christmas, New Year’s, and especially Thanksgiving, which happens to be the worst time to move out of all of them. So why do people move during holidays so frequently? Mostly it’s people relocating for a job, and they get days off work to relocate and spend them with family. While the situation isn’t ideal, with our help and a little effort to properly plan your move, you can manage to have an efficient move and spread holiday cheer with your closest friends and family. Just take a look at our relocation tips.

Start Planning Your Move a Few Weeks In Advance

How do you mentally survive the holidays and your move all at once? If you plan on successfully making it through this move with your reindeer ears headband still intact, you will need to get organized. Good organization is key to a successful moving cross-country, and that means you will have to start planning everything ahead of time, from buying boxes to finding storage units. You should start with your planning and preparing for the move at least three weeks in advance. A month is just enough to prepare for everything in a timely fashion, but if you’re in a jam and it’s a last-minute move, a couple of weeks will do the trick just fine.

Keep Track of Your Expenses

Any move is an expensive project, but when you add the cost of Christmas and New Year’s presents, it can get overwhelming. The only way to make it through the long month of December without going broke is to organize your finances. Our advice is to create multiple budgets, at least three of them:

  • A budget for your relocation expenses.
  • A budget for gifts and other festive activities,
  • An emergency budget for unforeseen costs.

For starters, create a relocation budget to keep your expenses regarding the move in order. This will by far be the biggest expense you will have to face during the month of December. Hiring relocation services can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $15,000, and it can get even more expensive depending on the timing of your move and additional services such as storage service.

The next thing you need to do is create a budget for gifts and other festive activities. A smart thing to do would be to talk to your friends and family and make a deal not to go overboard with the gifts this year. You could do secret Santa, which would cut your expenses way down since you would only be buying one gift.

Also, don’t forget to have some money set aside for emergencies. An emergency budget is there to cover all unexpected expenses. Like if your relocation company canceled last-minute and you would be forced to hire another one at a higher price.

Keep Your Affairs In Order With a Planner

When you have a lot of responsibilities, you can get a little lost. That’s why we recommend having a relocation binder. It will be your safe space where you can write down all of your upcoming chores and thoughts about the move, and it can double as your party planner. By having everything written down in one place, you will be able to keep track of everything and not have your family gathering overlap and fall on the same day as your packing day.

Find a Reliable Moving Company In Time

A priority on your to-do list should be finding a reliable relocation company. We would strongly advise you against renting a truck and having a DIY move if you were thinking about it. Relocating all on your own is stressful enough on any other given day of the year, let alone the holiday season. The roads will be filled with traffic jams, and you might need to drive the truck back and forth a few times in order to move all of your belongings. There is no need for you to go through all that trouble when you can hire cross-country moving services.

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Choosing a relocation company that you can trust is hard enough under normal circumstances, but it’s even more difficult if you’re going through long-distance moving during Christmas. That’s because a lot of people move during that season, and long-distance movers are flooded with work, plus, they are understaffed because they also want to celebrate with their families at home, and they will be taking days off work. So find relocation services in time, as hiring movers is a priority. Our advice would be to contact them as soon as you hear about the move, they might be overbooked later and not available, and storage units are also extremely difficult to find.

Professional movers moving a chair
Finding reputable movers might be difficult around these months

Be Prepared to Have an Expensive Move or Search for a Bargain

Unfortunately, you haven’t exactly chosen the best time of year to move. While winter usually is the cheapest time of year to move, this can be an exception to the rule. The general rule is that moves are cheaper in the winter months and on weekdays. But if it happens that the joyful day falls on a Tuesday in December, that rule goes out the window. So it’s important to try to find a good deal on the price of the move. The best bet you will have is to schedule your move approximately a few days after the holiday, a week tops. That’s the period when the situation on the roads will be a little calmer, so you can move in peace.

When choosing a relocation company to hire, we understand you might not have the biggest pool to choose from during this season, but that doesn’t mean you should rush into it and hire the first company that’s available. You should do some research and find at least three solid options before making the decision. We would recommend you get free estimates from all of the companies since the difference in the price point can be big.

Ask for recommendations and referrals from close people, and always read online reviews. Also, be sure to check if the company is legitimate. A move during this period can be extra complicated due to the fact that companies are hard to find, so you should only work with reputable companies you can count on not to bail at the last minute.

A jar with money
Relocating during December can be more expensive than usual

When It Comes to Packing, Only Keep Holiday Decorations You Will Need

Having to pack your whole household around a busy period such as Thanksgiving or any other special day is extremely stressful and tiring. That’s why we recommend you get packing services – it will make your move easier. But no matter who does the packing, you will still need to have your decorations out until the last day before the move. Therefore, decorations should be the last thing you pack into boxes. Just be sure that everything else is neatly packed and labeled and that the only thing you have left to do is pack a few decorations and store Christmas ornaments.

This brings us to our next point, don’t go overboard with the decorations. Your move is not the moment to create a light show with your Christmas decorations in your backyard, that belongs packed in a storage unit. Keep it simple and have your tree decorated, and maybe a few additional details. Keep in mind that you will need to be able to have all of that packed up quickly and efficiently and that you will decorate all over again once you move to your new home. If you need some help on how to pack your Christmas tree, watch this video.

Some Extra Tips to Help You With Your Holiday Season Move

With a lot going on, you are bound to forget a few things. Some people forget to pack shoes, others forget to bring toys when relocating with pets, and it’s completely normal to have some relocation mistakes. That’s why we have prepared a few additional things you should pay attention to in order to have a smooth move.

Keep an Eye Out For the Weather

Relocating during this season has many obstacles, and unpredictable weather is one of them. The month of December, or November if that’s the case, is one of the colder months, and that can cause problems. You can’t control it, but try to prepare for the weather conditions as much as you can. Look at weather forecasts, so you don’t move during a snow blizzard, pack your valuables in waterproof bins, and have winter supplies like snow shovels and gloves ready. If car shipping was on your list, be sure you have strong, quality winter tires.

Use the Seasonal Sales to Buy Moving Supplies

One of the benefits of relocating during this particular season is that there are discounts everywhere you look. And packing and office supplies are no exception, so don’t just order clothes during Black Friday sales – look for discounted supplies. Create a list of everything you will need when it comes to supplies for the move. Shop online under office supplies, or go to your local stores, you are bound to find a good deal somewhere.

Give Your Kids Some Extra Love

If you’re relocating with kids who love the holiday cheer, this move might be tough on them. How do you explain to your kids that Santa Claus will be waiting for them at a new home? Relocating can be emotional for children, especially around this period, since they will be on a break from school and expecting to spend that period playing with their friends, not saying goodbye to them. So be a little more sensitive to your children’s needs, talk to them and explain what’s going on, buy them ridiculously expensive gifts, and keep the family traditions alive as much as possible. Shower them with love and affection to make the transition go by a little easier.

A sad girl while her parents are packing
Some kids might have a problem with the move

Moving During the Holidays Should Be a Joyful Experience

What should you not do when moving? Don’t forget to have fun. While it is a stressful process, it’s also the most wonderful time of the year, so don’t forget to enjoy it. Just because you have some extra work to do doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set some time aside to spend with family and friends. All that’s left for you to do is wait for cross-country movers, have fun with your closest ones and look forward to the move and your future home.

Georgia Michaelson

Born and raised in St. Louis, Georgia Michaelson is a content writer with a specialty in moving and traveling. Her tips can help you relocate without a fuss

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