By Alison Fox
December 20, 2019
Credit: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

While Santa gets to fly around the world in a reindeer-pulled sled, millions of travelers this holiday season will be stuck flying commercial. So in preparation for the busy holiday travel days ahead, the Transportation Security Administration is giving passengers a list of naughty and nice items to bring along — and they will check it twice.

Wrapped gifts, for example, aren’t necessarily prohibited, but you could run into problems when a TSA agent wants to inspect them.

“Please don’t give our officers a bad wrap if gifts need to be unwrapped for additional screening… They are just doing their jobs by ensuring no prohibited items go past the checkpoint,” the TSA wrote in an Instagram post. “Nobody wants to be a Scrooge and it’s always better to gift than to receive… so skip the paper cuts and the rolling and peeling of tape this year and consider gift bags instead! Otherwise, wait until you arrive at your destination to wrap any gifts.”

If you aren’t sure what to bring, you can always check the TSA’s “What Can I Bring?” page for the do’s and don’ts of packing. In the meantime, here are some of the festive items the TSA says you can bring in your carry-on, checked bags, and — bah humbug — not at all.

Items you can pack in your carry-on luggage:

Gingerbread houses

You can bring an assembled or unassembled gingerbread house into the cabin (including any candy you need to decorate). But keep in mind, frosting is considered a liquid so a large container would need to go in your checked bag.

Tiny bottles of maple syrup

The TSA recognizes Buddy the Elf may have to fly commercial too, so they put this one on the list for him. If you can’t go more than a few hours without dousing something in maple syrup, you can bring it on the plane with you — as long as it’s 3.4 ounces or less.

“If you can pump, squeeze, spread, smear, spray or spill it… like maple syrup in Buddy's case… it must follow our liquids rule for it to go in your carry-on bag,” the TSA wrote on Instagram. “It must be 3.4 ounces or less and fit comfortably in a single, quart-sized resealable bag with your other travel-sized liquid items. Or travel with as much as you want… in your checked bags.”

Holiday poinsettias

Holiday plants like poinsettias, holly, and laurel are ok to bring as long as it fits under your seat or in the overhead compartment.

“No judgement if your plant is sporting a seasonal hat or beard,” the TSA wrote.

Holiday baked treats

While you may or may not agree with whether or not fruit cake is worth bringing on a plane, turns out you can carry it on anyway. All fruit cake gingerbread cookies, sufganiyot (traditional Hanukkah jelly donuts), and peppermint bark are welcome.

The TSA recommends “removing your food from your carry-on bags and placing it in a separate bin to expedite the screening process.”

A menorah

You can pack your favorite menorah and holiday candles in your carry-on bag, but watch out if your menorah uses oil to light it (that will have to go in your checked bag). On the bright side, if that’s how you roll, TSA will be “#impressed!”

Snow globes

Go ahead and decorate your seat to your heart’s content as ornaments, twinkling lights and shimmery decorations are all allowed. You can bring your snow globe to delight as you fly through the sky too, but the TSA reminds travelers it cannot have more than 3.4 ounces of liquid inside and has to fit inside a quart-sized resealable plastic bag.

Items you can pack in your checked luggage:

Festive drinks

The TSA says you can pack all your eggnog, schnapps, mulled wine, and buttered rum punch — but it has to be in your checked baggage.

“Go ahead and stock these delicious beverages in your checked bag’s makeshift mini bar right next to your ugly holiday sweater collection,” the agency wrote. “If it’s the stuff that makes Santa and his reindeer sway (contains 24-70% alcohol), keep these guys in their original unopened packaging and make sure to only bring 5 liters or less.”

Items you can’t bring at all:

Firecrackers and party poppers

While we all look forward to the New Year’s Eve celebrations, you cannot bring your firecrackers, party poppers and sparklers on a plane — either in your carry-on or checked baggage.

Instead, find a spot to watch the festivities on the day of and toast the New Year knowing you complied with TSA regulations.