Over-packed: Avoid stress from winter packing

(Photo by Shelby Sparks)
The most practical approach to packing for Christmas break is to pack items that be worn in a variety of ways.

The theme of the last few weeks of the semester is “over-packed.” On one hand, this term refers to the fact that hectic schedules are ruled by assignments and final exams, which are piled high during this time. For the typical college student, when stress runs high, keeping your things organized becomes a last minute priority.

Who has time to fold clothes when they could be napping? While having laundry strewn about is a student’s prerogative, it can lead to being over-packed in another fashion: packing for winter break. If you love clothes, chances are you have quite a few of them. Sure, your closet might not be packed with designer duds, but how are you supposed to leave your thrift store gems behind for a whole three weeks? It is pretty easy to slip into the mentality of taking everything that will fit in your suitcase home for the holidays.

The temperatures are just going to get lower and the last thing anyone wants to do after their last exam is to carefully strategize what items are coming home with them for the break. There are a variety of approaches when it comes to deciding what to wear for the next three weeks. Particularly devoted individuals might want to plan out specific outfits for certain occasions. Christmas and New Year’s are certainly holidays that come with their own dress code, so planning ahead for these days is a great idea. If your ideal winter break consists of staying in, watching movies and just enjoying the general coziness that comes with no school responsibilities, then it might not be sensible to bring your nicest things home. However, you probably didn’t leave your favorite pair of jeans, or even sweatpants, at home when moving in this year.

(Photo by Shelby Sparks)
A sweater and skirt combination is dressy enough for Christmas dinner, and casual enough to wear to go out with friends. Mixing these items creates a lot of possibilities.

That being said, the most practical approach that involves taking things home that can be worn in a variety of ways. For a three week stay, an ideal packing list should include: one nice outfit to wear to various holiday parties, two sweaters to mix and match, a nice blouse, one pair of regular denim jeans, one pair of colored pants, a neutral skirt, two sets of pajamas, a plain white t-shirt, one black and one brown pair of tights or leggings, one pair of tall boots, one pair of flats, one neutral purse and a few favorite pieces of jewelry. Of course, you can top it all off with your favorite pea coat and mittens.

Although this may not seem like a lot, the possibilities of mixing these items with the things you have left at home and probably forgotten about long ago, are virtually endless. ‘Tis the season for layering, which makes even the most basic pieces seem put together. Winter break usually means gifts from family members, as well, meaning that your load coming back will be heavier than when you left. This makes it essential to simplify your packing list for the holidays.

A great example is a pair of what you can wear over and over again would be neutral colored leggings, such as charcoal gray. A cozy sweater-and-leggings combination would be perfect for lounging by the fire with a good book, opening presents on Christmas morning or even snuggling in for a long winter’s nap. Throw on a knit beanie and some Christmas themed flats, and you are all set to go out for hot chocolate with friends. For the time you spend away from the warmth of the fireplace, there is no need to resort to a (perhaps tempting) full-body-snowsuit.

A sweater and sweater skirt combination is cozy, warm and soft, yet dressy enough for Christmas dinner with family and caroling with friends. The flat leather boots are another great winter break staple; they’re very practical, warm and add a cute equestrian flair to any outfit. Pair them with pink knee socks to coordinate, and coordinate with a matching hat and pair of mittens to add some color to the attire. While it might seem like a “first world problem” to stress over the apparel you choose to take home, it could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back after a tough week of final exams.

Hopefully, this guide has “unpacked” some of your end of semester stress, and inspires you to stay both cozy and cute this winter break.

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