If you haven’t heard Chris Rea’s “Driving Home For Christmas,” I suggest you queue it up for this read. Now, with your Christmas lights twinkling, carols on, and the holiday spirit in your heart, think about your trip home. Whether you’re driving or hopping on a plane; whether your trip is 12 hours, or five, or one—this trip is always one marked by its sentimentality, and hopefully, your excitement.
All of this said, and joy established—there’s no use pretending that our families aren’t difficult sometimes. There’s only so much you can do to mediate this reality, but you can set yourself up for maximum comfort and patience in between the fun, easy parts of the holiday and when someone starts imparting the details of their polarizing politics.
As a rule, never leave home without one or two excellent books (right now, I’ve got Joan Didion’s “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” and David Balzer’s “Curationism” in my bag!). When you’re spending more than a few hours with family, everyone would benefit from a little downtime. Set yourself up for an hour with a book in the early afternoon and you’ll be feeling rested and ready for some Christmas tree trimming in the evening. Similarly, bring earplugs and a sleep mask! Getting a good sleep is paramount to a successful family get together. Bring all of the comforts you think you’ll need—but, of course, don’t forget the important extras, like your camera, sketchbooks, party-wear, and gifts! Another tip: bring along an easily packable game—a deck of cards to play Big 2, or a set of Scrabble tiles to play Bananagrams, for example, are great, easy people management tools to deploy.
Something I can’t go without in my weekend bag is a separate shoe compartment. My family hikes every year, and I definitely don’t want my well worn hiking boots mingling with my clean clothes. I prefer to pack my books, my socks (the cozy ones), and my essential oils, sleep mask, and earplugs all together in easily accessible interior pockets—I find the easy access encourages me to actually use these items to facilitate some very necessary quiet time. Then: my clothes, gifts, and camera bag nestle together in the main compartment.
I’ve always found that wherever I’m off to, and however messy my bag gets, heading home for Christmas is one case where it is the destination that matters; and as absolutely mad my family—like most families—can get, the holiday season is one that brings me so much happiness. (Although most of my obsession with neat packing is so I always know where my bottle of Advil is in my bag, for those really surprising interactions.) Whatever you are celebrating this month, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, or just another December, I hope your celebrations are absolutely splendid, and that your trip back finds you happy, full, and with a perfectly organized bag.
Our go-to travel bag combination is the Urbo 2 Weekender and Cubo case for managing how difficult it can be to keep your things organized when you’re rifling through them on the floor of the guest bedroom.
The Cubo luggage is luggage designed with perfect function in mind. It’s minimal, comes in primary colours and black and white, and has a great flat top opening which optimizes access without totally upending your luggage.
Written by Megan Jenkins