Whether near or far, most of us will do some form of holiday get together in the next week. Along with pinched cheeks and a mountain of presents, one of the most stressful things on your mind might be all those seasonal snapshots, made ever so easy with that smart phone even the grandparents have. Then there is the sheer weight of travelling with holiday gear in tow. Carrying so many gifts, side dishes, and baby stuff already, no one would fault you if the kids arrived covered in chocolate, but let's face it, it's not ideal. You want to make a good impression and you want to feel organized. For this reason, we've put together some tips for packing for parties and looking your best with Santa, grandpa, or even simply tucked in to bed.
Creating memories for albums or walls is a major part of this time of year. Candid shots of moments unwrapping presents and the like are always nice, buy you may also want to create a card or a collectible that requires a more formal shoot of your family. At the mall Santa, for example, if your baby is like mine, he'll make a mess right before your turn with the big guy. I had a change of clothes, but nothing that read Christmas like I had hoped. Since then, I have a couple holiday options in my diaper bag just in case. I bought a two-pack of seasonal onesies for $3 (bargain!) and pair them with an inexpensive pair of neutral emergency pants. A plain shirt and holiday bib would do as well. I found at least 4 options on offer at the dollar store of my local mall. Older kids might need to dress in layers. Cute matching sweaters would be nice, but be sure the t-shirt underneath is decent just in case.
More lengthy visits and overnight stays means a number outfits and accessories for sometimes days at a time. For these occasions, don't go crazy. Your children do not need to deck the halls at all times of the day and night. If you manage to buy quite a few outfits for cheap, or receive a bunch as gifts, go nuts. Otherwise, save your money. Seasons change, kids grow, and their bright little faces are the real show the grandparents want to see. Pack light, but pack smart.
- Extra bibs will prevent some unnecessary shirt changes.
- Plain sweaters can be worn on multiple days.
- Make sure the pieces you pack are interchangeable with one another for quick dressing.
Arguably, no other day of the year involves as many photos of happy folks in their nightwear. Cuddling in for a story or setting out cookies in the evening, then running downstairs in the morning to gleefully eat and open presents. If you arrive to stay with family early, you don't need to showcase different seasonal sleepwear every night. Save the snowmen or the elves for the big night. Many people make a new pair of pajamas part of their Christmas tradition. It doubles as a gift and reassurance that your little ones will be looking their best. This goes for the whole family, so treat yourself to something (as well as maybe 2 minutes to throw up your hair and wash your face pre-photos). If you're not buying new, a lovingly pre-worn, family pair might be the ticket. Something that adds to the sentimentality of the day.
The bottom line is, what you are wearing is not as important as the company you keep. A little mess and chaos is a real part of family life. You are not in a catalog after all. You can think ahead, but airlines lose luggage, babies get sick, and cookies make crumbs. Be flexible and remember to live the moment as it happens.