Are you considering a move to Texas during the festive month of December? Whether you’re relocating for a job, seeking a change of scenery, or simply looking to experience the unique Texan culture, you’re in for a treat!
The Lone Star State is known for its diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, and friendly communities. However, there are a few things you should know before making the move, especially during the festive season. This family moving guide for holidays aims to provide essential information to ensure a smooth transition and a warm welcome to Texas.
Days Before and After Christmas are State Holidays
If you’re moving to Texas in December, you should know that Christmas is not the only official holiday the state observes. The days before and after Christmas are holidays, too.
The day before Christmas is Christmas Eve. It is celebrated to commemorate Jesus’s birth. Some states observe Christmas Eve while others don’t. Texas is among the states that do.
Along with that, the day after Christmas is a state holiday too. It is known as the Boxing Day. It is intended for donating gifts to those in need, and Texans follow this tradition with pride.
So, if you’re relocating around the Christmas season, expect a prolonged holiday.
Research Well About the Neighborhood
Moving to Texas is thrilling. But bear in mind the Lone Star state is the second-largest in the US. There are several big cities along with smaller ones. There are rich cities and rural areas. Just researching about the state or city won’t give you a fair picture. To dig deep, you need to research the neighborhood you’re moving in.
Take, for example, Austin. The city is vast and has several neighborhoods. Downtown is, by default, the busiest and sought-after neighborhood with entertainment hubs, business locations, and an upscale feel. But it’s expensive. Rosedale, on the other hand, is a calm neighborhood suited for residential purposes.
Researching the neighborhood will help you settle in faster. It will also reveal the interesting events being held during the holiday month.
Calculate the Cost of Living Difference
As you move from one state to another, you’ll likely experience a difference in the cost of living.
Texas is often praised for its affordable cost of living compared to many other states. However, it’s essential to consider various factors, including housing costs, utilities, transportation, and groceries.
In general, the cost of living is 8% lower than the national average. Housing is 16% lower, while food is 9% lower than the national average. But this figure is city-dependent. Certain cities like Plano and Gainesville City are pricier than the national average. Thus, you need to know the cost of living in that particular city.
December could be an excellent time to take advantage of holiday sales and promotions, which might help offset some moving expenses. Additionally, understanding the property tax system in Texas is important, as property taxes can impact your overall cost of living.
Learn About the Local Tax System
Another adjustment you need to make is regarding tax payments. When you’re in Texas, you have to follow the local tax system.
Generally, the Lone Star State is regarded as a tax-friendly state. And it’s for the absence of state income tax. This means you don’t have to pay taxes on your earnings.
However, the state collects higher sales tax to compensate for it. The state imposes a sales tax on the retail sale, lease, or rental of most goods, as well as taxable services. Local jurisdictions (cities and counties) may also impose additional sales taxes, making the total sales tax rate variable across different locations in the state.
The state also has no property tax. However, local jurisdictions do impose a certain tax to fund the services. Local taxing units, including school districts, cities, and counties, set property tax rates. Property owners are taxed based on the appraised value of their real property, and rates vary among different jurisdictions.
There are various other taxes and fees in Texas, including a hotel occupancy tax, motor vehicle sales tax, and a motor fuels tax. These contribute to funding specific services and infrastructure.
Research the updated rates to learn how much you’re expected to pay the state.
Get Your Paperwork in Order Before Relocating
Holidays are a time to wind down and take it easy. But don’t let that make you miss crucial paperwork.
Getting your paperwork in order is important to ensure you’re on the right side. This includes updating your address on official records, clearing off the bills at the old address, creating a moving binder, notifying insurance providers, and transferring medical records, among other things.
Devote a few days to a week to complete the paperwork before you leave.
Check the Weather Before Moving In
Texas is a large state with varied climates. The weather in December can differ significantly depending on the region. In the northern parts of the state, such as Amarillo, you might experience chilly temperatures and occasional snowfall, while cities in the south, like Houston and San Antonio, tend to have milder and more temperate climates.
Check the weather forecast for your specific destination and pack accordingly. Layers are your friend, as temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day.
Enjoy the Holidays, but be Prepared for the Summer Heat
December is the best time to move to Texas. The weather remains fairly calm and moderate. But this can catch you off guard in the summer months that follow.
The summer heat in Texas can be quite severe, a notable characteristic of the state’s climate. Texas experiences hot and dry conditions, particularly during the summer months.
During the peak of summer, especially in July and August, temperatures in Texas can soar well above 90°F (32°C) and frequently exceed 100°F (38°C). In some regions, such as the western part of the state, temperatures can climb even higher.
Urban areas, with their concentration on buildings and pavement, can exacerbate the heat. The urban heat island effect can lead to higher temperatures in cities than in surrounding rural areas.
So enjoy the holiday season, but stay prepared for what’s coming.
Don’t Let Bugs Affect Your Holidays
Texas is a state with a warm climate. This means a breeding ground for bugs. So, if you’re coming from a state like Maine, Wyoming, or Idaho that is categorized as cold, be prepared to deal with bugs.
Bugs are present in both urban and rural areas. Urban areas in Texas can create environments that are favorable for certain insects. The presence of buildings, landscaping, and waste can provide shelter, food, and breeding sites for bugs. Additionally, artificial lighting in urban areas can attract certain insects during the night.
In rural towns, rivers, lakes, and other water sources provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other water-dependent insects.
So, make heavy use of insect repellants and pest control to ward off bugs.
People are Friendly, But Gun Culture is Real
In Texas, you’ll see many friendly people and make many friends. But the state also has a strong and deeply rooted gun culture that is reflective of its historical and cultural background. The state’s attitude toward firearms is influenced by many factors, including its frontier history, emphasis on individual freedoms, and a long-standing tradition of hunting and self-reliance.
Gun shows and events are popular in Texas, providing enthusiasts with opportunities to buy, sell, and trade firearms and related accessories. These events also serve as forums for discussing gun rights and policy issues.
Depending on where you come from, this openness with guns could make some uncomfortable. Texas also ranks high in firearm fatalities. Thus, you need to take some real precautions and ensure safety.
The holiday season in Texas is marked by a festive and diverse celebration that reflects the state’s cultural richness and community spirit. As you move into the state in perhaps the best time of the year, indulge in the warmth of community, the diversity of cultural celebrations, and the Southern hospitality.
Let’s Move Now!
At Ward North American, we’re here for your move anytime. With over 40 years of experience, our skilled teams are committed to making your holiday move easy and joyful. Trust us to create a seamless and happy experience for you! Contact us to get a free estimate.