This post is sponsored by Caséta by Lutron. All opinions are my own.
The holidays are, without a doubt, my favorite time of year. I don’t mind the colder weather they usher in and every year my heart skips a beat or two dreaming of a white Christmas.
This year there will be no white Christmas for us because we’re headed to California to enjoy some time with friends and loved ones. We figure it’s our last year to travel over the holidays before Ben really understands Christmas and we’ll want to be home so we don’t miss Santa.
We’ve got lots to prepare for in the next few weeks and want to make the whole season as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. Here’s how we’re getting ready.
Set Aside Money Early
Nothing is worse than getting to the first week of December and realizing you didn’t budget for gifts for everyone. And since my “everyone” is a ton of people (4 parents, 3 siblings, 2 grandmothers – and that’s just MY side!) we’ve got to be financially ready or January is brutal.
Luckily this year I set aside money into a separate savings account (something I highly recommend doing – we’ve got separate savings accounts for almost everything) in September and October. I’m already done shopping for about half of my family and I didn’t pull any money from our December budget for it.
Arrange Care for Furry Loved Ones
Finding care for Archie is always anxiety inducing for me. I adore him and I constantly worry that something will happen to him. Naturally traveling during the holidays means our furry son needed someone to spend the holidays with.
N and I toured a luxury dog hotel (yes, Archie is very fancy) and even put a deposit down on an “executive suite” for our sweet boy. Then I called my Mom and *cue the mock horror* “you can’t leave him on Christmas!” and we quickly got an offer for him to spend his holiday in Maine with his grandparents.
Leave Our Home in Good Hands
I recently installed the Caséta by Lutron smart lighting system in our home and am so excited about it, as N and I had been considering adding smart lighting to our home for some time now.
I was gifted the plug-in system (especially great because we don’t own our home so we can take them with us when we eventually move) and easily set it up in less than one episode of Ben’s television show. Literally. It was that easy.
We installed Caséta by Lutron before we left for DC for Thanksgiving and were able to test out the “Smart Away” feature, which randomly turns your lights on and off when you’re not home to make your house appear lived-in. It gave us such peace of mind. More than 87% of Philadelphians have taken steps to make it look like their home is occupied while they are away and we’re definitely among them.
We’ve also really enjoyed using it while we’re at home. Caséta by Lutron works with more smart home brands than any other smart lighting company on the market and the fun of asking our smart speaker to turn on or off our lights has not worn off yet. My favorite thing is to turn our bedroom light off using the Lutron app on my phone while I’m laying in bed!
If you’re considering adding smart lighting to your home, definitely check out Caséta by Lutron this holiday season. Now that I know how much N loves it, I realize it would be a fantastic gift for the techy person in your life. Learn more here.
I’ll feel a lot better leaving our home knowing that it looks like we’re there. Plus our close friends walk right by our house every time they walk their dogs so I know it’ll be checked in on.
Make a Packing List
Nothing helps ease my mind more than making a list. Whether it’s a to-do list, grocery list, or packing list, there’s comfort in getting it out on paper and knowing that you don’t have to remember it.
Our packing lists these days are much longer than they used to be. Car seats, portable playard, toys, bottles, sippy cups, and more. It looks like we’re moving in anytime we stay overnight somewhere.
A little part of me just wants to order another playard and some other baby supplies and just ship them straight to California.
We’ve done enough weekends away with Ben to know what we need to bring but flying with him is a whole new ball game. We’re trying to cut out anything unnecessary so we’re not lugging half our house through the airport.
Get Flight Ready
Saved the best for last! Our pediatrician was kind enough to note that around one years old might be the absolute worst age to fly as an infant/toddler. GREAT.
This is where I need recommendations. Ben isn’t really amused by tv for very long (I won’t pretend to be one of those parents who wouldn’t let him get a little screen time on a flight). His favorite toys are the noisy ones and which I imagine won’t be appreciated by our fellow passengers. We’re bracing ourselves for a challenging flight with a little boy who loves to chat and doesn’t love to sit still.
So help me out! What are your suggestions for stress-free travel with an infant/toddler? How are you preparing for holiday travel?