Handy dandy travel tip for vacations with children









We have a bin, up high in the hall closet where tchatchkes go after they’ve been home 24-48 hours. Every little prize from the doctor or dentist. Every cheapo toy incentive from a well meaning teacher or librarian. 

It’s a melting pot.  

The tchatchkes come along on all road trips. Each time, the kids are delighted to see them again. They set up tchatchke colonies all over hotel rooms. They make believe elaborate scenes where monkeys and Garfield, Smurfs and elephants, Pac Man and Barney live in peace.

I’ll have my nose in a book. Todd will be watching ESPN, and they’ll play with the tchatchkes. It’s a vacation tradition.

Todd and I don’t give a rip if a tchatchke turns up missing. In fact, we encourage it. One less tchatchke. There are so many, the kids barely notice if they lose one.  No doubt some of our tchatchkes are hiding in crevices, behind curtains where maids fail to vacuum. They’ve definitely been left at rest stops along the side of our nation’s highways.  We know of one who is sentenced to a lifetime of solitude under a table connected to a fold out bed on Holland America’s Westerdam cruise ship. (That time we fit as many tchatchkes as we could into a two gallon zip lock bag and threw them in the suitcase). There was no way to rescue him. Seth had a hard time letting that one go. Two years later, he still misses him.

I love our tchatchke bin and what it represents.

I love our kids.

I love HT.


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14 Responses to Handy dandy travel tip for vacations with children

  1. jill says:

    that is such a great idea. i’m stealing it.

  2. K Fuller Yuba City says:

    Thank you so much!! You have solved a years old mystery for me. I have many, many, many, of them but I could never spell…chochsky

  3. Michelle O'Neil says:

    K Fuller,

    I’m not vouching for the correct spelling.

    ; )

  4. Kim says:

    What a great idea! I always throw those things away!

  5. kario says:

    You all are brilliant. I know I’ve said it before, but I just thought I’d remind you.

    (I hate to sound like a teacher, but it’s spelled tchatchke)

  6. Chloes Mom Mary says:

    It is a great idea! I have the bag of “tricks” as I call it. Fidgits and other surprises to help ease the stress along the way. We are currently on our way to Southern AB from Northern AB – a two day journey, especially with only one driver – not a planned trip but one necessary. Luckily I had a few still hanging around in a zip lock from the last trip a couple of weeks ago. They are absolute lifesavers! They are cheap dollar store finds. I know that I’ll be making sure to hit the dollar store this weekend sometime to restock for the looong trip back home next week.

    Love it!!

  7. What a wonderful blog 🙂

    I found my way here through my travels and wanted to say I really enjoyed your posts 🙂

    From Stacie in Australia

  8. Michelle O'Neil says:

    Thanks Kari! I changed my grevious spelling error. I did look it up, but not under “T” and I could not find it. I figured, if you’re going to wing it, why not do it 87 times in one post?

    Now…about the plural form?

  9. Carrie Link says:


    And nothing could be more made than this use of them!

  10. Amanda says:

    Good thinking batman! 😀

  11. I am so impressed that you typed tchatchke that many times! Love you guys. xoxo

  12. amber says:

    Is a brillllliant.



  13. Deb says:

    What a wonderful idea! This made me itchy to get my hands in the bunch of them and play.

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