Family Holidays: Guide for a Stress-Free Get-Together

1950s crooner Perry Como sang “Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays … For the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home!” And it’s true. There’s nothing more comforting than enjoying childhood treats and embracing family traditions with your loved ones. But going home for the holidays can also be stressful — not just the journey to get home but the pressures and expectations that can come along with it. Here are some holiday tips to minimize anxiety and maximize joy.

Tidy Up!

Leave your home as you would like to come home to it — clean and hopefully un-burgled. Invest in inexpensive timers to turn on lights in the evenings, to give the illusion of someone being home. Put clean sheets on your bed and fresh towels in the bathroom. Let neighbours know your plans so they can keep an eye on things and pick up any mail or parcels that arrive. Savvy travellers know that returning to a clean, organized house is one of the greatest pleasures of travelling, so invest a few hours before going.

Stay Within Budget

It’s tough to stick to a budget around the holidays, but be realistic and make sure that holiday bills don’t start your new year off on the wrong foot. In addition to going out with friends when home for the holidays, the budget can get blown on gifts as well. As much as you want to, don’t offer to get (every) round at the pub and remember that the real gift for family is being together for the holidays.

Pack Sensibly

A great way to stick within your travel gift-list budget is to buy online ahead of time and ship things directly to your destination. Remember that you probably don’t need a lot of clothes either — extra gloves, hats or scarves can always be borrowed. Think comfortable and easy-to-pack.

Bring Your Best Self

Going home for the holidays is a great way to connect with family, but remember that there is lots going on for others as well. Bring some fresh ideas like a new card or board game to the mix or learn a great new dish to add to the holiday meal repertoire. Holidays are also a great time to catch up outside (unless there’s a raging blizzard). Bundle up and get outside for a walk or visit the local gym with your siblings. Everyone will feel better with a workout under their belt, and it makes the holiday baking that much sweeter.

Be a Savvy Traveller

Travelling during the holidays is a big deal. There are more people, longer lineups, and more headaches for the unprepared. In addition to sticking to your holiday packing list, be prepared for potential weather complications, restrictions on luggage allowances, and delays and hectic times.

If you’re travelling outside your home province, take the time to read your ARTA Emergency Travel plan certificate and confirm you have the right coverage. If you have any questions, contact your ARTA Member Support Centre at 1‑855‑444‑2782.

If you’re travelling outside of Canada, it is critical to plan ahead, do your research, and regularly review all requirements for your departure, arrival at your destination, and return to Canada. As with every trip, we recommend you review and follow Government of Canada travel advisories.

From everyone at Allianz Global Assistance, we wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season!