It's something that can happen any time of the year when you decide to take a vacation. Got all your utilities covered? Stopped the mail? Bet you forgot about your house plants.
Most people give them a good watering and hope for the best until you return. Winter time is tough, or any time of year for that matter, for house plants if the care is compromised. It's too bad plant owners don't take care of their house plants like they do their pets. It's probably easier to get a pet sitter than it is a plant sitter.
Here is a good hint. Plastic bags can make miniature greenhouses that can keep houseplants healthy while you are gone. Using plastic bags will keep a plant warm and moist for up to three weeks, if done properly. One plastic bag is used for each plant. Depending on the size of the plant, you'll need a one quart size or one all the way up to the size of those used at the dry cleaners.
The process is simple. Just place stakes in the pot a little taller than the plant you want to protect. Three or four stakes is all that's needed per plant. Make sure you wrap the stake ends with tape so the plastic bag isn't punctured. Now, if the bag is open at both ends, tie the top together.
In addition to bags, you can help your plant's health by lowering the house temperature to around 60 degrees. Try to keep the plants from being exposed to direct sunlight. Normal watering is needed, but don't over-water because you will have more than a plant growing under plastic when you get home. It's possible to put more than one plant under a bag as long as you don't crowd them.
Enjoy your vacation, but don't forget to care for your plants before you leave.