20 Decorations You Can Pack in a Suitcase

By | November 22, 2017 |

For many of us, celebrating the holidays means traveling to be with family!  As a parent, I can tell you that packing the gifts for our trips home was always a challenge.  And then there was the discussion about leaving behind our favorite holiday decorations – “it just won’t feel like Christmas” my kids would lament.

But there are so many ways to celebrate when you’re away from home — whether flying across the country or planning a road trip, a few carefully chosen decorations will brighten up any hotel room and make it feel more like you’re ‘home for the holidays’.  And if you follow these 7 Packing Hacks, you will easily have enough room to tuck in a few of your favorite items!


2 Decorations You Can Pack in a Suitcase

There are a few items that fit any celebration and reward you with that ‘comfort of home’ feeling:

  • A few of your child’s favorite seasonal books will pack easily
  • Your favorite music (or music app) downloaded on your smart phone
  • Copies of any traditional readings

For holiday-specific décor, we recommend these items:


Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude and family traditions.  Even if it’s not possible to pack your favorite foods, be sure to bring along your favorite recipes!  Whether it’s the handwritten recipe card for homemade cranberry sauce or snapping quick photos of favorite pie recipes with my smart phone, I always know that I’ll be ready to help cook for the meal!

Other ideas for Thanksgiving items that easily fit in your suitcase:

  • A festive banner or garland that says ‘Give Thanks’ or other seasonal greeting,
  • paper leaves so family members can record why they are thankful,
  • the family tablecloth that’s signed each year if that’s a tradition at your home, and
  • if you enjoy a friendly game of football before your meal, be sure to pack game clothes too!


Since Hanukkah is also called ‘the festival of lights’, having flameless candles or LED-lit candles for your menorah will allow your family to continue the nightly candle ‘lighting’ while you’re on the road.

Kids will also enjoy packing a dreidel pieces of gelt (either real coins or chocolate covered coins) to play with on the trip.  And a table runner in the colors of blue, white & silver will lend a festive look to the room.

Winter Solstice

Strands of mini-lights or flameless candles are easy to tuck into luggage and represent the light of the solstice.  I’d also recommend asking staff at the front desk about a nice walking trail or an outdoor fireplace where you can celebrate the new season.

Items that can serve as a connection to nature include: small animal figures, a package of birdseed that can be sprinkled outdoors in a natural area and nature-themed coloring books for kids.


Garland, stockings and your advent calendar are all suitcase-friendly decorations that make a room more festive!  A small strand of electric lights will also brighten any area and can serve as great night-lights if you have younger kids traveling with you.

If your family has the tradition of ‘walking the Wise men’ or reading near the nativity, small non-breakable sets are easy to pack and set up upon arrival.  We’ve also packed our special plate for Santa’s cookies and a key for Santa since there may not be a chimney at your temporary home so your kids will be comforted to know that all bases are covered for his late-night visit.


If the Unity cup is a part of your celebration, it can be carefully packed and used while.  A banner or table runner with the traditional holiday colors (black, red & green) and a small poster or book listing the seven principles are other wonderful items to have that will remind your family of the principles of Kwanzaa.

New Year’s Eve

Paper hats, noisemakers, a ‘Happy New Year’ banner, a colorful strand of electric lights, and photo props are all flat and can easily fit in luggage.  Family countdowns are always a fun way to bring in the New Year – just use your smart phone for hourly check-ins!  And setting up a small net and bringing balloons that can be blown up when you arrive are perfect for a mini balloon drop too.

Chinese New Year

Red lanterns or crepe paper dragons that easily fold up can be placed around the room when you arrive.   Red envelopes are easy to bring with you as are red paper cuttings that can be used to decorate windows.  And a banner wishing ‘good luck’ in New Year can be hung on the room door so it’s seen each time you enter your ‘home away from home’.


We’ve celebrated quite a few birthdays while on the road and as long as there’s cake, my family seems to be happy!  Other easy decorations to bring along include balloons that can be blown up when you arrive, crepe paper rolls to hang over doorways and windows and a sign for the door – one saying “Happy 7th Birthday Taylor!” – will alert your local neighbors that a child is celebrating their special day!

So the next time your family has travel plans that take you away from home for a holiday, know that it’s easy to bring a few favorite items that will lend to starting a new family travel tradition & creating special memories on the road!

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