Young kids grow up listening to Christmas carols and holiday music and being told there is no greater feeling than being “home for Christmas”. So what happens when you and your kids won't actually be home for Christmas but instead will be spending Christmas in a hotel? If you are staying somewhere like Disney's Art of Animation or the LEGOLAND Hotel, it shouldn't be much of a problem. Still, if you are staying in your average straight-forward hotel you may need to plan ahead. Here are some tips and tricks to planning Christmas in a hotel with kids.
Tell Your Kids Early
This is easy if you know your holiday plans a few months in advance. The reality is that young kids don't question much. If you explain early on that you will be spending Christmas in a hotel and reassure them that Santa will find them, things should go smoothly. When delivering the news, emphasize that since the whole family will be together, it will be the best Christmas ever.
Come up with a Santa Plan
As any kid knows, you will need to alert Santa to your new holiday plans. Call the hotel to see how Santa will get in or use street view to see the roof of the hotel. We will be spending this Christmas at a Marriott TownePlace Suites. By using Google street view, I was able to see the hotel doesn't have chimney. I called the hotel who agreed to leave a magic key for Santa. Its also very important to let your kids write the hotel address in their letter to Santa so they are reassured Santa will find them.
Recently, while shopping I came across a Find me, Santa! Snowflake made by Hallmark that has a space for your child's name and hangs in a window. When your child is ready to go sleep, you set the snowflake to glow until Santa comes (or for four hours). That way Santa knows exactly where to find them. The snowflakes are quite cute and under $10.
Book a Suite
Whether you are staying in a resort or traditional hotel in a city or town, it may be wise to book a suite for the Christmas holidays. Even having a basic kitchen with just a microwave and sink can make the holidays easier on you and your kids.
We were able to book a suite through Towneplace Suites with a full kitchen which means we can keep up our Christmas traditions and bake some fresh cookies for Santa. Christmas morning brunch will also be spent as a family in the hotel room instead of dealing with excited kids in a busy restaurant.
Nothing says Christmas like a few decorations. We have started planning and crafting light packable cardboard decorations made by the kids to take to the hotel with us.
When planning decorations temporary is best. Make sure to contact the hotel to see what is and is not allowed. You don't want Christmas ruined by a hefty fine for applying tape to the walls or making holes in the walls with pins and nails.
One of my favorite finds this Christmas seasons is Hoppy Paws. You can purchase reindeer paw stamps that are washable from any surface. I've ordered one and plan on leaving carrot stubs around the kitchen with the prints. The best part is the secret powder doesn't stain and we won't be charged for damaging the hotel surfaces. I've also picked up some removable Christmas window clings from a run of the mill dollar store. Thus the kids will still get a magical surprise or two in the hotel.
Don't forget to bring Christmas stockings from home. It will reassure your kids that Santa is on his way and make your hotel room feel a lot more like home.
Bring Presents to the Hotel
If possible, you will want to bring one or two presents to the hotel.
If your kid is receiving a bike this year it may not be practical to bring it to a hotel but no need from them to miss out on Christmas morning. Have Santa wrap up a small box with a photo of the bike in the child's room at home or somewhere recognizable and maybe a small toy bike with a note saying the bike has been safely delivered to the house.
Ship gifts to the Hotel
Most hotels will accept packages two weeks from your arrival date. Contact the hotel and see if you can ship gifts to the hotel. Let them know you will be picking them up on Christmas eve and not to mention the deliveries in front of the kids. Make it even easier on yourself and use the option for the gifts to come already gift wrapped.
Pick a Hotel with a Pool
If possible, book a hotel with a pool. Nothing is more fun for kids than a hotel pool and if they start missing home, you can easily distract them with a fun family swim. We choose TownePlace Suites particularly because of the sunny indoor pool and twisty waterside which my kids will love.
Take advantage of the extra time with them
In many ways, Christmas in a hotel is a blessing no matter where you are headed. With less space and distractions, it is easier to spend time as a family which is really what Christmas is about. Call ahead and ask about DVD players and on site board games to plan fun evenings relaxing and laughing with your kids. We are having a no-electronics in the hotel room holiday to truly get back to being a family and enjoying each others' company. Luckily, there's isn't a no wine in the hotel room rule.
Have you spent Christmas in a hotel with kids?