Brian Gratwicke

7 Reasons To House Sit At Christmas

More and more travellers are recognising the financial and cultural benefits of house sitting. With rent free accommodation and the opportunity to live like a local in communities all over the world house sitting is fast becoming our travel hack of choice.

Signing up as house sitters little over 2 years ago our yearly membership has proved to be some of the most cost effective $’s we’ve ever spent.  With 15 assignments under our belt we’ve become accustomed to the immersive experience house sitting provides.

From the southern shores of Costa Rica to remote lifestyle blocks in New Zealand we’ve looked after homes large and small, and pets of all shapes and sizes.

Festive house sitting opportunities

However there’s one season in particular when house sitting elevates our travels to a whole new level.

Christmas a season which brings festive tradition.

Whether it be carols by candlelight, dressing a freshly cut pine tree or tucking into a plate full of festive cheer, everyone has their own idea of what Christmas should encompass.

Perpetual travel has enriched our lives to such a great extent I fear we may never settle down however, the holidays serve to remind us what and who we left behind to fulfil our dream of adventure.


Travelling at Christmas

I always said I could never spend Christmas in a hotel or hostel.

While I’ve no doubt the experience would be memorable and offer the chance to celebrate with a diverse mix of new friends, for me Christmas is a time to celebrate those who you love, those who hold most dear.

House sitting offers me a bridge between the 2 worlds in which I exist. The world of travel and the world I left almost 3 years ago.

In 2011 we spent the festive season looking after a four storey town house on the outskirts of Vancouver.

During our stay we had snowboarding lessons, made a Christmas cake, visited the cities spectacular Christmas market and chopped down our own spruce pine before dressing it in glinting shades of gold and red.

2012 was our first hot Christmas.

Looking after a quirky 60s property set in the artistic Auckland superb of Titirangi our task was to care for the world’s smartest dog. We played Frisbee, explored the surrounding National Parks, managed to cook our Christmas dinner without incident and brought in the New Year with Kiwi style.

Reasons to house sit abroad at Christmas

This year we’ll be in Melbourne.

A last minute change to our pre planned Caribbean itinerary we’ve just accepted an assignment in Australia’s capital of culture and are looking forward to soaking up the creative vibe of hip suburb Fitzroy.

I can’t wait to spend another Christmas Day living like a local and in a homely environment but if you’re still not convinced that house sitting at Christmas is a viable itinerary option read on.

I’ve 7 reasons which may change your mind.

#1 Experience new Christmas traditions

There are a wealth of traditions associated with the celebration of Christmas so why not take the opportunity to experience a few through the eyes of a local?

From celebrating Misa del Galloin in Bolivia to exploring the historic rise of the candy cane in Europe, house sitting abroad on the 25th December will offer a unique insight into Christmas across the globe.

#2 Avoid high accommodation costs

It’s a sad fact that everyone and his dog is in the business of hiking up their prices once the 1st of December hits.

From restaurant and hotel surcharges to expensive transport and limited services if you travel throughout the festive period expect to pay over the odds.

#3 Avoid a commercial Christmas

Take the opportunity to escape the overwhelming commercialism of Christmas and head off to the location of your choice.

Forget about the Christmas rush, hoarding crackers and fighting for the last turkey in the supermarket and instead choose to house sit. Try a more low key Christmas, pack only the essentials and spend the holidays relaxing.

#4 Have a ready-made Christmas

On both the occasions we’ve spent our Christmas holidays house sitting we’ve arrived to a bundle of festive cheer.

Each home was decorated beautifully and the owners had gone out of their way to make sure we felt at home. Save yourself the drama of carting the Christmas decorations down from the loft and house sit instead!

#5 Escape cold winter weather

For most people who live in the Northern Hemisphere Christmas is a rather chilly affair so why not escape the winter snow and hit the beach?

Securing a house sit in Australia, the Caribbean or Asia will provide a little summer respite from the dark nights and thermal undies usually associated with the festive season.

#6 Retreat from overwhelming social events

Tradition for many is to visit family but I’m sure we’re all too familiar with the stresses of extended family living under your roof.

If you’re planning to travel to visit your loved ones why not search for a house sitting assignment close by and ensure you’ve your own space to retreat to when you’ve had enough of Aunt Marg or your annoying cousin Greg.

#7 Escape Christmas all together

If you’re a real Scrooge and despise all things tinsel and reindeer then why not escape the festive season altogether and house sit in a remote location where Christmas cheer can’t reach you?

Pack whatever it is you’ll need to survive without returning to civilization for a week or so and relax in the sanctuary of a house sit.

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Have you taken on a house sitting assignment over Christmas? Share your comments with us below.

Travel Blogger & Photographer
  1. We’ll be Christmasing in Spain this year, pet sitting Bruno. John and I were re-visiting all our International Christmas locations this morning, so far we’ve “Christmased” on five continents always enjoying and relishing new experiences, traditions and yes climates, beaches and sunshine, mountains and snow and everything in between travel is indeed the greatest educator, house sitting the best travel lifestyle … our villa’s halls are decked, stockings hung and family on their way!! Feliz Navidad y feliz año nuevo!!!!

    1. How fantastic! You’ve such an array of memories I’m sure, each assignment totally unique and offering a completely new experience of Christmas! I hope you enjoy your Spanish Christmas!

  2. We are definitely interested in house sitting! Most don’t seem to be for only a week at a time and right now that is generally the longest we have to travel. One day we can take these full time jobs and shove them…

    1. haha! Sounds like a plan Jennifer! Keep an eye out for as assignemnt that suits you in the meantime though. We see all sorts in our daily email from Trusted House Sitters.

  3. We’re house sitting for the first time this Christmas… also in Melbourne! So excited! We’re over in East Brunswick so let me know if you want to meet up for a mulled wine and a mince pie 🙂 Totally agree that house sitting seems to be a comforting compromise for travellers at Christmas. Can’t wait to try out BBQing a whole turkey, hehe

  4. I really enjoyed this article. I often wonder about where to spend Christmas. This year I will be with my family, but I was very tempted by house sitting. I was actually hoping to try it pre-Christmas as a little experiment, but sadly couldn’t find dates that worked out right. Next year maybe.

  5. Wow. This is my dreamlife. So awesome. I look forward to following along on your various adventures. Great photos.

  6. I’ve really enjoyed reading this post about Housesitting! To be honest, I did not know about it until I read it on another blog. I’ve been looking into Housesitting and hoping that when I travel, I could do an assignment. I’ve registered for their website and I’m looking forward to the opportunity!



    1. Oh that’s fantastic news Ruthie, we wish you all the best in securing your dream assignment. Do get in touch if you have any house sitting questions or what to chat!

  7. I really want to try house sitting in 2014 – you guys have convinced me! We are heading out on the road in April and will living in a small campervan most of the time. Housesitting seems like a good way to settle somewhere for a while, stretch our legs so to speak. And especially during holidays such as Christmas. I’m guessing that there would be a fair few opportunities at that time of year with people going away to visit family/friends, so it’s win-win for housesitter and hoster!

    1. Thanks for your comment Gemma! We broke up a 12 month road trip across Australia with house sitting assignments. It was the perfect way to take a break from life on the road! All the best for your adventures this year!

  8. A friend recently told me about house sitting, it’s not something I’d really considered before, but house sitting at Christmas is a really great idea! Definitely food for thought here.

  9. Great post. Spending the holiday season in another country, with all the new traditions and food, and atmosphere, ranks pretty high on my ‘favourite things about being a nomad’ list. My husband and I are heading to Europe soon to house sit for the Xmas season. BEYOND excited. Christmas really is the best time of year for it; lots of house owners going on holidays or to visit family. Christmas markets, here we come!

    1. Oh that’s so great to hear! Since leaving our home a little under 4 years ago we’ve had Christmas house sitting assignments in BC, Canada – Auckland, NZ – Melbourne, AUS and this year we’ll be house sitting on Barbados! Hope you have fun in Europe! Please have a pretzel and a glass of mulled wine for me!!!

    1. We’ve had a house sit over Christmas for the last four years! Vancouver, Auckland, Melbourne, and Barbados! It’s such a great way to experience the various festive traditions all over the world!

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