Your winter move is over, the unpacking’s well under control and it’s time to settle in for the very first holiday season in your new home. The first celebration in a new location are bound to be especially memorable. So how do you balance the traditions of the past with making new memories to cherish?
Here are some tips and tricks for bringing some well-timed mirth and merriment to the holiday season — and “finding home” as part of your new community.
Start a New Tradition
Whatever holidays you celebrate, you have certain customs and practices associated with them. Whether it’s an evening of tree trimming, lighting candles, making special meals, honoring loved ones or attending a house of worship, you’ll no doubt bring these and many other traditions with you to your new space.
The first holiday season in your new home can also be a perfect opportunity to start a few traditions that reflect a new chapter in life. From volunteering your time to holding a movie marathon, making your own cards and decorations, or even holding a scavenger hunt or snowman-building contest, the possibilities are endless. Regardless of what you do, get ready to create new memories to last a lifetime.
Mix Something Old with Something New
As the holiday season approaches, unboxing some of the decorations you used in your former home can bring a sense of comfort and continuity to your new abode. However, that’s only half the fun of getting into the spirit of holiday decorating.
It’s nice to mix familiar things up with a few brand-new indoor and outdoor decorations bought specifically to complement your new surroundings. In years to come, you’ll think about how they represented the very beginnings of many happy holidays you’ve spent there since.
Since you may have moved away from longtime friends and family members, try scheduling a remote chat with them on Zoom or Facetime — it’s at once a chance to recall old memories and share exciting new experiences.
Greet and Gather
If you haven’t yet reached out to your new neighbors beyond a wave across the lawn, the holiday season provides an excellent icebreaker for building new relationships.
Your gathering doesn’t have to feature a fancy spread or involve a ton of prep work. The trick here is to be gracious, not ostentatious. After all, the neighbors care more about getting to know you than the fact that your kitchen still has a couple of unpacked boxes in a corner. Take it easy and just be yourself.
See What the Locals Are Up To
Chances are, there will be plenty of activities in and around your new town and surrounding areas. Visit your town’s website to find out about holiday-themed events, like concerts and plays. Eventbrite.com always has useful information about activities favored by locals. Many to-dos around this time of year are family- and kid-oriented, so local libraries, museums and recreation centers are great places to seek out events and get ideas.
This old standby is a wonderful way to get into a holiday mood, while at the same time learning the lay of the land. Just load everyone into the car, bring along some hot beverages like coffee or cocoa (in a thermos of course) and set forth on a holiday-lights tour of the neighborhood. Gamify it by giving each house a score of 1 to 10 and picking the best-in-show.
Send Cards and Letters
What would the holiday season be like without exchanging cards and letters with your loved ones? For that first holiday season, a custom card showing the outside of your new home — or your family gathered around the living room fireplace — strikes a perfect note of holiday cheer and optimism, while giving them a sneak peek of your new residence. This is an especially thoughtful idea for friends and relatives who don’t spend a lot of time on computers or social media.
Our tip: Plan ahead and get your cards out a little earlier this first year so people have your new address!
Do Something for Others
Reaching out to help others is another good way to meet new people and lift the spirits of those less fortunate; however, be aware that volunteer opportunities tend to book up early during the holidays.
Many local nonprofits and houses of worship run programs that let you give clothing, toys, household items and grocery-store certificates to needy families. Take your kids along when you shop and have them help you wrap items as well.
The U.S. Postal Service’s Operation Santa helps thousands of families have a happier holiday by distributing letters to Santa they’ve received from needy individuals and families. It forwards them to generous donors, who help make dreams come true. Looking for other ways to give back? Check out VolunteerMatch.org for local volunteer opportunities, as well as non-profit organizations such as Points of Light.
Take Care of Yourself, Too
After all the planning and — let’s face it — stress associated with your recent move, you want the first holiday in your new place to be festive and fun. So, here’s a piece of advice: Everything you say, do or buy this first holiday season doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s more important to be realistic, plan thoughtfully and not overdo things in general. Memories and relationships are what matter most; don’t try to buy happiness with things.
It’s all too easy to get caught up in a flurry of activities. Take a breather and make some time for yourself. A walk around the neighborhood can do wonders for your mood. Besides, you might just make a friend or two. Also consider listening to some soothing holiday music, baking some cookies or even doing some stargazing. Give yourself some “me” time; you’ve earned it.
We hope your journey to Finding Home for the holidays is smooth and successful. And remember, no matter where you happen to be in the moving process, you can count on Mayflower to be with you Every Step of the Way®.
Want more tips and advice? Check out our other blogs for city guides, decorating ideas and a wealth of other helpful, time-saving information.