By Abbi Peters
I was born and raised in New Jersey, where most of my family still resides. Holiday traditions have been established in NJ, which puts me on the road two days before Christmas Eve and has me returning back to the PA Wilds on Christmas Day in time for dinner. As much as I love spending time with family and friends, it can be a little hectic to celebrate the peak of the season while on the road (I often split the time staying with each of my three siblings’ homes), so it helps to plan ahead and plan for surprises. Here are my top 5 hacks to help alleviate some of the stress associated with being a holiday road warrior, allowing the focus to be on the festivities of the season and enjoy quality time with family and friends.
As the season begins, be sure to “self-gift.” To be the best gift giver I start by treating myself (a theory actually backed by science.) I tend to lean toward practical items that help with the various obligations associated with the season. Like a pen that I can use during holiday card writing, a nice accessory to snazz up my holiday event outfits, a treat to aid in self-care or all of the above!
Get ready to travel.
Quality travel-size products keep me comfortable and calm, while a nice bag dedicated to gifts and cards keeps me organized and ready to move from house to house.
Have a stash of gifts on hand for all ages.
I never know if a party will pop up or a last minute opportunity to see a long-time friend and their family who is also in town. So I always pack some extra gifts that I can exchange in confidence, whatever the situation might be.
Be ready to party.
As a guest, I jump from house to house and party to party and don’t have the opportunity to host any of the events. To ensure I get invited back, and live up to my mom’s credo “Never arrive empty handed.” I stock up on party food favorites to eat during the event or for my family to enjoy once the season slows down. I also try to include a nice serving dish or another piece of kitchenware to be enjoyed at any time.
Encourage people to visit me and plan for a post-holiday season trip!
Traveling through the PA Wilds in the winter months can be challenging. So I always give the gift of planning for warm weather experiences in the PA Wilds. I’m blessed to be the auntie to six super kiddos, so I’m always pushing for opportunities to see them on my home turf to explore the region together (parents optional). So I’ll pair a map or guidebook with a PA Wilds-inspired goodie to remind them to travel west on Route 80 once the roads clear.
About the author, Abbi Peters:
The PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship’s first hire, Abbi oversees organization-wide programs, strategies and approaches. The first Chief Operations Officer at the Center, she co-founded four of the Center’s most visible programs: The Wilds Cooperative of PA network of rural entrepreneurs; the PA Wilds Conservation Shop, a growing retail operation based at state parks in the PA Wilds that help rural entrepreneurs get products to market while improving the visitor experience; the PA Wilds Marketplace, an online retail commerce platform; and Round-Up for Conservation, a charity checkout campaign that reinvests in state parks and forests in the region. After attending Kutztown University, Abbi moved to Los Angeles before relocating to the PA Wilds. She’s served as the leader of an arts nonprofit and in the magazine, fashion and music accessories industries.