Ah, the fall and winter season. Fall is when the pumpkin memes begin and everything becomes pumpkin flavored. Not the typical time of year when orders hit. BUT orders do hit. People do move in the “off-season”. It may be off-season for moving, but there isn’t anything to prevent the holidays from coming.
While you may not be looking forward to celebrating Halloween, Thanksgiving, or the winter holidays in a hotel, there are ways to celebrate it. It may look different, but it will still be the holidays.
- Decorating: The craft store will be your friend with decorating. Paper is cheap! Draw pumpkins and have everyone “carve” a pumpkin. Hang them up on the wall with tape.
- Costumes: When you are living out of suitcases in a TLF, Pinterest will be your friend for costume ideas using the clothes you already have. Construction paper wings can turn a dress into a fairy costume, or a construction hat changes Pjs into a firefighter costume. It will take some creativity with the help of the Pinterest search engine, but it will certainly make some memories!
- Treats: Some TLFs have ovens, but if you don’t have one check your local grocery store for DIY cookie decorating kits. You might not need a giant bulk-store level bag of candy, but you can grab a couple of individual pieces of your favorite candy for the family from the store as well.
- Trick-or-Treating: Oftentimes the hotel staff in a TLF will plan something fun for kids staying in for Halloween. If they aren’t, consider a scavenger hunt for your kids. Set up a craft or treat stations throughout the hotel, leaving clues with where the next one will be.
- Music and Lights: If you are new to the area, you may not know about the local pumpkin patch. Perhaps you only have one car and are unable to go out for a drive. Or the reality is that your toddler won’t be awake past 8 so doing some time for the older kids or yourself won’t work for your current phase of life. Check out Youtube for videos from theme parks for fun “talking pumpkins” or lighted trails. There are ghost hosts that can walk you through haunted rides to give your hotel room a spooky feel. All with the easy removal of said music or lights by turning off the television or computer. So feel free to turn up Thriller Nights.
- Decorating: Paper, paper, paper. Copy paper – construction paper – craft paper – these are all your friends. Paper is cheap and simple – you can dress it up or dress it down. Make placemats with them, cut letters for banners and even make name cards with them. Use what nature you have around you. If you are able to, collect pine cones for decoration for the table. Or mix it up entirely if you have moved to the beach and collect shells. Yes, there are standard fall colors – but when you are doing the holidays in a TLF, you can make it what you want.
- Prepared Food: Making the holiday meal is enjoyed by some, not so much by others. With the limitations of cooking space and dishes, it might be time to hit up the local grocery store for prepared dishes. There may even be some local favorites that you haven’t heard of before. If you are in a foreign country where they may not celebrate American holidays, consider this an opportunity to try the local fare.
- Consider Grilled: If you are TLF has a grill available, consider grilling. If you really want a turkey breast, consider grilling the turkey breast. If there are only a couple of grills at the hotel, talk to other families to see if they are interested in chipping in with a whole turkey if you really want. That way everyone is aware while you are manning the grill for several hours.
Hanukah, Kwanzaa and Christmas
- Fireplace: Candles are not allowed and fireplaces are not the norm in hotels, but you can stream a fireplace on Netflix! The streaming channel had several different types to choose from including an urban one to make it feel festive and distinctive.
- Music: Thank goodness for the digital age – holiday music of your choice is at your fingertips. And music stations abound on the cable in the hotel. Rock around your paper Christmas tree to whatever holiday music you enjoy.
- Dinner: Each hotel is varied on what the kitchen or kitchenette has available for cooking. Hit up the local grocery store for holiday favorites.
- Linens: So you don’t have your favorite holiday linens because they are in storage, or still in a box waiting to get to you – time to use paper as your linens! Get a roll of craft paper and let the kids go to town with stickers and crayons. Or consider adding your own designs to it. It isn’t every year that a family celebrates the holidays in a hotel after all.
- Holiday movies: Thankfully, most hotels have ports allowing for connections with Roku stick or have internet connections allowing for streaming. Stream your favorite holiday films from Netflix or Amazon and you won’t even miss your DVD collection!
Overall, the time in a TLF over the holidays is a time to make new traditions. It isn’t “normal” to have a holiday in a hotel, but it is different and can be fun! Make new memories of your holiday time with whatever it is you make it. Maybe you will decide to keep some traditions for the future – who needs a real holiday tree when you can make one with paper and decorate it with stickers anyway? It’s more space-efficient and cost-effective!