While summer generally tops the list for the best time of year to move, December and early January are often solid options as well.

“Relocating during the holiday season is actually a popular time,” says Matt Woodley, founder of MoverFocus.com. Kids get a vacation from school and the holiday break often provides several days off work to make a transition.

Yet moving during the “most wonderful time of the year” isn’t exactly stress-free. The more you know what to expect, the better prepared you can be to face holiday-related hassles and tension.

Read on to discover common myths surrounding holiday moves, along with the realities of transitioning over Christmas and the New Year.

Myth #1: You Won’t Be Able to Enjoy the Holiday Season.

“My husband, three kids and I moved on December 26th from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Chicago,” says Ali Wenzke, author of The Art of Happy Moving.

To save time and energy, the family focused only on what was most important to them.

“We decorated the tree but we didn’t take out all of our Christmas decorations,” Wenzke says.

They also made cookies at home and enjoyed reading by the fire.

“Instead of emphasis on gifts and travel plans, we spent time together, enjoying our last moments in our home,” Wenzke says.

Myth #2: Moving Companies Will Be Readily Available.

Due to the increase in demand for movers during the holidays, along with the need to grant workers time off over the season, the schedules of moving companies can fill up – fast.

If you know several months before the holiday season that you’ll be moving, call a company right away. Share your move date and ask for a free moving quote. Then check with several other companies to find the best deal.

Myth #3: It Will Be Impossible to Send Holiday Cards.

Rather than waiting until the last minute, set aside some time in November or early December to prepare cards. Use the opportunity to share the news of your move and list your new address. Include your moving date so loved ones know when you’ll be ready to receive mail at the new place.

Myth #4: Exchanging Gifts Won’t Happen.

Look at the calendar and set aside a short time for gifts. Then shop for presents and pack at the end of November and beginning of December.

“Do most of your celebrating on Christmas Eve, ensuring that the bulk of your moving planning has been completed by December 23,” Woodley says.

Myth #5: Friends and Family Will Be Too Busy to Help.

While loved ones’ schedules may fill up with gatherings and festivities, they will likely want to lend a hand if they can.

“When people are in the holiday spirit, they’re more sympathetic to the hassles and ordeals of moving,” Wenzke says.

Share your moving date with family and friends. Ask if they can help provide a meal, watch children or unpack boxes in your new home.

Myth #6: Travel Will Be Easy.

Some streets might close during the holidays for parades or special events, making it difficult to maneuver. In addition, the roads could fill with families headed on a vacation during this time of year.

Winter weather could also cause delays. If you’re moving long distance to a colder climate or are leaving a snowy place, include a few extra days of cushion in your moving schedule.

Myth #7: Transferring Schools Will Be Difficult.

If your child will be heading to a new school, the mid-year switch might work in your favor.

“In most cases, teachers will provide this new student with individualized attention that would not occur if it had  happened at the beginning of the school year, when all of his or her students were new,” Woodley says.

Myth #8: The Stress Will Sap Christmas Joy.

Being intentional during the moving process can lead to meaningful moments. As you pack, make a pile for donations and then take the goods as a family to a local charity.

Also consider putting a few holiday decorations in a box you can unpack right away at the new place. Then purposely slow down.

“Take a minute to appreciate all that you have,” Wenzke says.

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Rachel Hartman