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Home for the Holidays: What to Pack

It’s that time of year again — when everyone heads home for the holidays. This is actually my first time traveling to my childhood home (ie, my parents’ house) in probably-too-many years. So when packing my bag (this lovely one from the upcycling-friendly brand, Freitag), I made sure to include a handful of things I knew I’d need.

Traveling home for the holidays—whether on school break or just for family time—isn’t always the easiest. And depending upon how large your family is, space and time may be limited. Not to mention the noise factor. Here are my essentials for traveling home for the holidays: things you need to make the trip easier. (And hopefully to keep your sister from crying.)


Wine at The Joule luxury hotel in Dallas

Always bring home wine with you. It saves a lot of trouble and even if no one else drinks, then more for you!

Wherever you’re coming from, bring home something alcoholic. You can bring it under the guise of sharing it during family dinner, but maybe just bring a second bottle to keep hidden in your bedroom. For the extra special flair, buy local. Traveling from a semester abroad in Australia to your home? Just pick up some Australian wine in duty free. ✓ Remember: it doesn’t have to be top shelf — this is just family we’re talking about. Personally I like to find a local liquor, or else something from my recent travels. Edible souvenirs ;-)

Selfie Stick


“Selfie” may have been the word of the year in 2013, but the trend is still hot and heavy — only amplified by the increase and prevalence of selfie sticks!

It’s the hit of the holiday season in case you haven’t noticed! It seems everyone (and their mother!) has gotten a selfie stick. For the holidays, it’s been probably the most useful thing I packed. It came in handy at every family dinner. All my mom wanted for Christmas was myself and my siblings all together again, and with my selfie stick (this one, available on Amazon for under $20!), we were able to capture a lot of those moments. Also works perfectly at impressing friends and family. #showoff


There are some really great deals on Amazon, like this one for just $19.99


Something sweet

Niederegger's chocolate marzipan

Niederegger’s chocolate marzipan — all packaged & pretty

You can’t show up home for the holidays without something sweet. If you’re clever, you can find something to pare with that wine/vodka/tequila you also brought home. Otherwise, a box of chocolates from duty free is often good enough. To really impress your family though, find some local chocolates. From Germany, my favorite sweet gift is Niederegger marzipan—a traditional German candy I discovered on my first Christmas in Berlin.

Clothes that make you look good

upcouture tshirt

The UpCouture label is luxurious but also practical. The innovative and patented t-shirt design encourages you to keep your shoulders in a straight and relaxed position, improving your posture and making it look easy.

Coming home for the holidays is as much about visiting friends and family as it is about showing off. So don’t regress into your old high school look (oh god) when back in town. I get a lot of my styling tips from a handful of fashion blogs, magazines, Instagram and even Reddit (#malefashionadvice). Thanks to a press release, earlier this autumn I discovered the French label, UpCouture, out of Paris, which makes t-shirts and other clothing specifically designed to keep your posture and appearance top-notch. They sent me a complimentary black t-shirt which worked perfectly at upping my fashion game for the trip home. And added bonus: no one was the wiser that my Up T-shirt was helping me keep from slouching all holiday long.


The Up T-shirt is available for sale online at the hefty price of 127€. But after using the t-shirt for a few months, I can safely say the cost is proportional to the quality. The black t-shirt I’ve got makes me keep an upright posture and has held up remarkably well from repeated use and washes.

Check the UpCouture website for special deals and other unique clothing:



If your house is like mine, no trip home, with all the siblings and family and extended family and friends and neighbors and the mailman and the dishwasher repairman, is safe from noise. I don’t know what it is about the holidays, but when you get everyone together, good luck finding any peace and quiet! Christmas seems to require higher volume levels. Pack a pair of good headphones to block out what you can. Personally, I’ve found the Bose noise cancelling headphones to be a godsend. I’ve used the over-the-ears pair, but a friend of mine recently recommended the in-ear phones, which are slightly more practical. They’re not cheap ($299 on but if you travel enough or spend more than a few days at home, it’ll probably be worth it!

  1. Kozue says:

    Happy New Year and pleased to meet you again, Adam!
    Actually, I am a headphone fan who visit Headphone Festivals to try many. Good headphones are really good. Undoubtedly Bose is a great brand!

    • Adam says:

      Happy New Year Kozue! Headphone festivals — sounds amazing! Glad to get your seal of approval on Bose, they’re definitely a reliable brand.

  2. Jessica says:

    Ah, wish I had brought some booze home with me this year! Definitely would have come in handy. But couldn’t agree more with the point on clothes! I always want to just hang around my parents’ in loungewear but it’s pretty much inevitable that I’ll run into someone from the past – usually an ex :-) – so gotta look good!

  3. […] home for the holidays—whether on school break or just for family time—isn’t always the easiest. And depending upon […]

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