There was a time when flying was considered the easy way to get home for the holidays. But these days, it can be a real hassle.
Along with the usual worries about crowds and delays, air travelers now have to contend with baggage fees and the challenge of getting through airport security.
Which means, you have to give serious thought to what you're taking on the plane.
The Transportation Security Administration website, tsa.gov, spells out what's allowed and what's not.
You can take a pie on board, but not cranberry sauce, jellies, syrup or soup.
Liquids, aerosols and gels must be 3.4 ounces or less, packed into a single quart-size, clear plastic zip-top bag. Anything bigger -- like the bottle of wine for the neighbors -- has to go in the checked luggage, unless you bought it at the airport after clearing security.
Other items are prohibited altogether, so don't try carrying on the kitchen knives you bought your aunt or your nephew's baseball bat. You can't carry golf clubs, either. Or gel candles or snow globes.
And it's best not to wrap your presents. A TSA agent might have to unwrap them for inspection.
To lighten your load when flying, you could consider shipping instead of schlepping. Businesses that will deliver your suitcases, or their contents, include UPS, FedEx, DHL and the Postal Service. There are also companies that specialize in shipping luggage.