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If possible, most sane people will avoid moving during the holidays. These months are chaotic enough, but adding the stress of moving during the happiest time of the year can turn things into a living nightmare. So when a holiday move can’t be avoided, follow these tips to help restore some calm into these festive months:

Make a list and check it twice. Take a page out of Santa’s book. Make a list for each important task or to-do. For example, list all your important documents—passports, birth certificates, etc.—for each member of the household and check each on off as you pack them. Most importantly, double check! Give yourself enough time to work carefully and avoid forgetting anything important.

Plan for delays. With Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, there are going to be inevitable delays with federal holidays. If moving over one of these holidays, it might take the movers a few extra days to deliver your belongings. Make arrangements with the company in advance and ask how the holidays will affect your schedule. Also, be prepared for unexpected weather—an ill-timed snowstorm can put a damper in even the most thoughtful plans.

Budget accordingly. The holidays already incur added costs, so if you have time, budget well in advance. Get moving quotes from movers and packers, so you have an idea of how much wiggle room you have for the holidays.

Simplify your holiday routine. The holidays are about tradition. Moving isn’t a typical tradition, so this break in your routine may affect other aspects of your celebration, despite your best intentions. Make things easier on yourself, such as going out to eat instead of cooking a feast and utilize the gift wrap station at the mall instead of self-wrapping. Don’t try to do too much. Of course, incorporate what traditions you can—don’t compromise the holidays just because you’re moving!

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