2008-12-25 / Features

Taking Holiday Spirit On Vacation

More and more, families are spending their holidays away from home. Whereas the traditional image many people have of the holidays involves kids waking up early and rushing downstairs to open presents, these days many families have taken their holidays to more exotic locales, taking advantage of the kids' vacations from school to unwind and spend a little quality time away from home.

For families worried about leaving their traditions behind when they hit the road (or the airways) for greener pastures this holiday season, consider the following tips for making the holidays more homey even though you're away from home.

• Bring some gifts. Particularly if you're flying, it can be a hassle to bring all of your gifts along for the vacation. However, to maintain the tradition of exchaning gifts come Christmas morning, bring along one or two presents for each person to open when the big day arrives. Smaller gifts such as a DVD or video game are ideal, and be sure to bring along the stockings and stocking stuffers as well.

• Decorate your home away from home. Just because you're not at home doesn't mean you can't decorate. While a six-foot Christmas tree likely won't be available, when checking into your hotel ask the concierge if there's an all-purpose store nearby where you can purchase a smaller tree and other decorations such as tinsel, ribbons and disposable decorations. You might also want to do this before arriving at the hotel. If there are no stores available with traditional holiday decorations, ship some to your hotel before you ship yourselves.

• Cook a holiday meal. While Mom might not be thrilled about the prospect of cooking a big meal when it's supposed to be her vacation, plan a smaller meal or simply order a fancy room service meal to make the holiday dinner more personal. A meal at a nice restaurant might be great, but sitting around the dinner table with just family on Christmas night can make for a more intimate holiday meal.

• Bring along some music. A big part of many family holidays is music, especially during the Christmas season. However, more exotic locales likely won't have traditional Christmas music. So pack a few CDs and maybe even a holiday DVD such as "It's a Wonderful Life" or "Miracle on 34th Street" to provide some holiday ambiance.

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