The Holiday Season is Upon Us. Depending on your family, this phrase may conjure joy or excitement. Or, pure, unmitigated stress.*
If you are a military family, there is a good chance you will be traveling at some point this season to visit family and friends. Godspeed, good people. If you are like me, you will be packing young children, animals and half of your worldly possessions into your car, so you can drive a bagillion miles to be Home for the Holidays.
I wouldn’t trade being home for Christmas for anything, but the journey isn’t quite a horse driven sleigh ride through the park with bourbon laced hot chocolate.
We have made this trip from various locations throughout the world every year since my husband and I have been married. I feel like I have finally gotten the hang of it.
After about eight years.
I’ve learned how to pack the bags, load the car, and ensure we can still find everyone’s shoes and coats for the potty breaks. It thrills me to be quite organized, but for some reason, my 3-year-old and 6-year-old don’t understand the value of crafty packing.
I thoughtfully curate car activities for each of my girls that will inevitably end up under one of their seats and become inaccessible within the first 7 minutes of the trip. I make a podcast playlist for both the adults and kids.
However, The ONE thing that keeps everyone happy enough, I have discovered, is food. Especially treats. Because my family is essentially a pack of animals, it works for us.
If you don’t have food motivated kids, you’re on your own here.
I may be blowing my retirement plan here, but for the sake of community and holiday sanity, I will risk it.
I will let you all in on my best-kept travel secret: The Snacklebox.
My family lives for the Snacklebox. It’s the only thing getting us in the car sometimes.
The Snacklebox is a sectioned off clear plastic container filled with snacks. That’s it, but with an utterly amazing name. Obviously, the point is to have easily accessible snacks organized in a way that does not leave you rifling through a grocery bag looking for mini marshmallows for 15 hours.
If anyone reading this is a recruiter for Shark Tank or any sort of an “As Seen on TV” situation, please email me on the Military Moms Blog site. I will be waiting for the offers to flood my inbox. I am quite certain I invented this particular idea, but I have seen a similar product peddled by Bass Pro. It is my contention they owe me royalties, which I will accept in store credit.
The Snacklebox is especially well suited for road trips, but I am certain a smaller version would work well in a backpack for air travel.
Here are a few tips to create your own Snacklebox Experience for your next trip. See what I’m doing here, I’m creating a brand.
- Here is a link to our Snacklebox. I think I got mine at Target, but if you have Amazon, you might as well just have it delivered. I like it because it has a clear lid, it latches, and there are small and large compartments. But, you do you, Girl.
- I shop for and keep the contents of the Snacklebox secret until we get in the car. This is intentional, as it gives me leverage to get everyone on the road in a timely manner. “Do you want to see the Snacklebox? GET IN THE CAR!”
- What you choose to stock it with is up to you, but I try to include some special treats that each of my family members loves and does not get on the regular, and some nominally healthyish things like granola bars and beef jerky.
- My girls are too young to be in charge of their own personal Snackleboxes, so the non-driver is responsible for the distribution of snacks in our car. My Kathie Lee recently told me that she prefers when I drive because her dad is more liberal with the handouts than I am. I set a schedule, and everyone gets a treat at a certain interval of time. It seems a bit rigid, but gosh I’m just trying to read trashy celebrity gossip on my phone and not be bombarded with requests for candy every 4 to 6 minutes. Each time the Snacklebox is mentioned outside of the allotted time frame, five minutes get added to the next distribution.
- If your kids were raised in a barn like mine, there will inevitably be wrappers strewn about your back seat. Get a trash can or bag and throw away the garbage at each stop. I personally like this one because the inside is waterproof.
- I have actually purchased two additional containers. One is for dog treats, one is pre-stocked for return trips on particularly long journeys. You also can just pack refills in your other Ziplock bags as well.
- When it’s gone, it’s gone. No one is allowed to ask for any more treats. I’ll let you all know when this actually happens.
I hope the Snacklebox helps to make your holiday travels a bit easier. Eat the pie, eat the cookies, and eat your family if they stress you out too much.
Happy Holidays, Friends!
*This was intentionally written to see if my family actually reads my posts as they say they do. If I don’t see any cryptic passive aggressive Facebook posts about how any of them are sorry they “stress certain people out” I know they are all lying. Win. Win.