Few things are as magical as visiting family for the holidays. Gathering around the table for Christmas Eve dinner, catching up by a cozy roaring fire, waking up on Christmas morning knowing all you have ahead of you for the day is opening gifts, a huge breakfast, and maybe even a nice walk around the neighborhood or a local trail—it doesn’t get much better than that. The holidays are a special time, and it’s nice to spend that special time with people you don’t see very often or close family that happens to live far.
While traveling to spend Christmas with your family is oh-so-worth-it, it doesn’t come without some logistic requirements to figure out. That’s true with all travel, of course, but the holidays add some factors to consider. And one major logistic to figure out is packing. Read on for some tips and tricks for packing for your best Christmas yet.
Don’t wait until the last minute to decide what bag you’ll be bringing! Having your suitcase or bag picked in advance will help you determine what items to bring along and what you might need to leave at home. This will also encourage you to start packing sooner rather than later, which will help you avoid any last-minute stress.
The bag you decide to bring will depend on how you’re getting to your family’s and how much you’ll need to bring. A huge factor will be the Christmas gifts you’re bringing. If you’re traveling by plane, be sure that your gifts are in your checked suitcase if they’re already wrapped. And if you have fragile gifts, be sure that your suitcase is a hard shell one and that the gifts are surrounded by clothing or socks.
If you’re traveling via car, you might just need a midsize women's travel bag, like a duffle bag, and an extra tote or bucket bag. If you like to stay organized, utilize some packing cubes to keep everything sorted during your drive. Keep in mind that it can’t hurt to bring some additional totes or leave some room in your bag or suitcase, if possible, since the gifts you’ll be receiving might be larger than the ones you’re giving.
Be sure to pack some Christmas-y items that’ll add to the magic of your visit. This could be anything from special ornaments (as long as you’re not worried about them breaking in transit!) to matching family Christmas pajamas. If you bring gifts like ornaments or festive matching pajamas for the family, you might want to consider having the family open these early, like on Christmas Eve. That way, everyone can get maximum use out of these during the holiday!
In addition to these gift ideas, don’t forget to pack in-theme items of your own. Having a Christmas sweater or two can make the trip feel even more special. Plus, these plush sweaters make great options for wrapping around any fragile gifts in your bags.
Bringing along layers will be essential, especially if your family lives somewhere where you might even catch some snow on Christmas (fingers crossed!). While so much of the holiday is spent cozying up by the fire or baking batch after batch of gingerbread cookies, lots of families like to get out and about for walks around the neighborhood or through local trails.
If you think you’ll be doing any outdoor activities during your visit, bring along a packable down coat in addition to any layers you’re wearing on the day of travel. And if you’re traveling with kiddos, make sure they also pack an extra layer or two that won’t take up too much room in their little bags, like kids puffer vests.
Having the right winter accessories can make all of the difference when it comes to being as comfy as possible during your visit. It’s a good idea to check with your family first to see if they have any extra gloves, hats, scarves, and warm, comfy socks just in case anyone in your group forgets anything or doesn’t have a ton of room in their bag.
Assuming you’ll need to handle most of the accessories on your end, it can be helpful to make a packing list in advance of your trip that includes these cold-weather essentials, especially if you’re traveling with young kids or anyone who happens to be somewhat forgetful or frazzled around packing.
Once your bags are packed and the logistics are all sorted out, Christmas magic is just a flight or car ride away. We hope it’s extra special for you and yours this year!