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Make a Family Holiday Get-Together “Bug-Out Bag”

8BitDad.com

So you’re at your folk’s house for Christmas or Hanukkah and you guys all finished opening presents and now are moving into the coffee-and-relax portion of the night. But people are excited to play with their new stuff, and it’s not that easy. It’s never that easy. Especially if your kid is the one hammering you to get their new toy operational.

“Bug-out bags” are kits people make to survive in the wilderness for a couple of days. They have little items you need to survive the elements, and if there’s one element you need to survive for the next week, it’s holiday family gift exchanges. Also, bear attacks.

I’ve devised the perfect holiday bug-out bag for you to be ready for holiday disaster. If you’ve got kids (and our web stats say you do), you know you’ve got to be prepared for the worst. Like, the absolute worst. You don’t want to end up on an access bridge inside a planetary defense weapon, being run-through with a hot, homemade lightsaber. Not by your own kid! You were just trying to bring him home! There was still good in him! He was being used by the system! Damnit! Why?!

Ahem…anyway, obviously you want to be prepared. And this holiday bug-out bag is a great, compact way. Just grab an old backpack and start packing. Here’s what I suggest you keep in it:

1. Batteries

Right? Some gifts come with them and some don’t. You’ll need some basics just to get an item up and running. I suggest you keep six each AA and AAA, along with two 9-volt (because walkie-talkies, amirite?). Just throw these into a ziplock and toss them into the bottom of your bag. If you never need them, more power to you.

2. A Micro USB charger

Most items come with a charger, but some random items don’t. If you’ve got a spare Micro USB charger and a USB power plug, it’s not a bad thing to have on hand.

3. A portable phone battery

If you don’t already have a portable, USB-powered battery that you can plug your phone into for a quick recharge, now’s the time to get one. Holiday get-together are long and you don’t want to be the guy with his phone charging in the corner of a room. Most of these portable batteries are pocketable so you can just plug in and forget about it. And they usually recharge via Micro USB (see above).

4. A multi-tool

Most of my life advice has to do with finding a multi-tool you like and getting three of them to keep at home, in your car and at work. But holiday gift-giving get-togethers are the best place for them because there will be packaging to cut open and battery compartment screws to loosen. Also, beer bottles to open, hopefully. You don’t necessarily need a 30-in-1 tool unless you’re going to build a treehouse with your brother, but something with a good blade, a couple drivers and a bottle opener will get you through the holidays.

5. Bags

You know that walk from your parent’s doorstep to your car where everyone’s got armloads of (your kid’s) gifts and SOMEONE drops one, your kid goes apeshit and OH GOD WE’RE BACK ON THE ACCESS BRIDGE AGAIN. Well, if you’d just found a couple large, reusable, canvas shopping bags, rolled them up and put them into your backpack, you’d all be able to comfortably carry more stuff at once. If you were a real all-star (and I know you want to be) you can throw a couple ziplock freezer bags into the backpack too because someone will get your kid a LEGO set and your kid will want to play with it right then and there. And once you tear open a LEGO box, there’s no way you’re keeping track of all of the studs.

6. A change of shirt

Look, it’s fine if your kid spills a boatsworth of gravy on themselves because they’re a kid. But you are going to spill something on yourself and then live with the shame. Or, you can just bring a backup shirt, rolled up or folded and stuffed into a ziplock freezer bag. I can see the look in your eyes now and you don’t believe me. I also know you love spinach and artichoke dip, so good luck with that.


Bringing these items with you to a family holiday get-together is like hitting the easy button on the night. I mean, you still have to see all that family that lives in a mountain bunker and only comes down to soak up holiday gifts from you city folk…but no one’s perfect.

Happy holidays from 8BitDad! You could be anywhere in the world, but you’re here with us. We appreciate that.

Is there anything else you’d put in a holiday get-together bug-out bag? Let us know in the comments!

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