7 Things Not to Put in Your Carry-On Luggage This Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! A time of festivities and holiday cheer. You are eager to travel and see friends and family or return back home to your loved ones. The last thing you want to do is ruin your holiday spirit by taking non-permitted carry-on items as gifts onto a plane.

7 Things Not to Put in Your Carry-On Luggage this Christmas.

1. Liquids, Gels, and Aerosols larger than 3.4 oz (100 ml)
2. Corkscrews
3. Lithium Batteries
4. Fireworks, poppers, and “crackable” Christmas crackers
5. Plants, wreaths, and trees
6. Chestnuts
7. Sporting equipment

If you follow the list and abide by the common travel guidelines, you should be good to go this Christmas!

Liquids, Gels, and Aerosols

Unfortunately, because it’s Christmas airport security rules don’t suddenly cease to exist – seize they might but cease they won’t.

If anything, security personnel are meaner and more Grinch-like than ever!

You may be inclined to travel with a lot of liquids this holiday season whether it’s your make-up, alcoholic beverages, or home-made jams but if they don’t conform to the 3-1-1 liquids rule, then you aren’t going to be able to have them in your carry-on.

I have gone over the 3-1-1 rule in previous posts, but essentially any liquids, gels, and aerosols in bottles larger than 3.4 oz or 100 ml are not permitted. Fluids within the regulated bottle sizes have to all fit comfortably in a one quart or one liter transparent resealable plastic bag.

Here is a list of common holiday liquids you may want to reconsider taking aboard the plane this holiday season.

Cranberries Sauce No Carry-On
Cranberries Sauce No Carry-On

Cranberry Sauce and Gravy

Look, I’m not going to sit here and argue whose mom makes the best cranberry sauce because obviously mine does.

Although delicious gravy and cranberry sauce go well with holiday turkey and mashed potatoes, they count as liquids and must abide by the 3-1-1 rule. Luckily you can literally bring an entire tub of cranberry sauce in your checked bag!

Jams, Honey, and Syrup

Like cranberry sauce, my mom makes jams better than yours. Unfortunately, that doesn’t give me the authority to have more than 3.4 oz in my carry-on luggage.

Even if your jams, honey, and syrups are neatly packed and vacuum sealed they still have to be in a bottle or jar 3.4 oz in volume or smaller. Again, for the most part, there are no limits for the check-in baggage for these items.

Don’t get clever and take honey still in a comb. It still counts as a liquid, all you will be doing is making the security line slower.


Again follow the 3-1-1 rule, unless you’re too drunk to in which case you probably shouldn’t be flying at all.

Fortunately, you can buy alcoholic beverages at Duty-Free shops before you reach your destination, just make sure you don’t have anymore connecting flights as they could be confiscated by airport security.

If you’re wondering about your hold luggage well then my friend you are in luck!

For passengers traveling to the UK from the EU, you can have 110 liters of beer, 90 liters of wine and 10 liters of spirits in your holg luggage – if using the entire quota you likely be in the hold with it on a transport plane. Or 16 liters, four liters, and one liter respectively if traveling from outside the EU.

When traveling to the US, international flights are allowed to have up to a liter of alcohol in their checked in baggage as long as it is below 140 proof (70% alcohol).


No to Corkscrews Too

This obviously isn’t a liquid but I had to squeeze it in here. If you’re bringing wine as a gift then you may feel the need to also buy a corkscrew… think again.

Sharp and potentially dangerous items like corkscrews are not permitted in carry-ons unless the cork screw is removed, but then you just have a beer opener and Uncle John can open bottles with his ring so…

OK back to liquids.

Camembert Cheese and Brandy Butter
Ahh, so you appreciate the finer things in life I see. Well more power to you, unfortunately, the TSA and other airport security personnel around the world don’t necessarily share your love of stinky cheese and decadent butter.

You could argue that these items aren’t necessarily liquid in which you case you would be right. Unfortunately, they can melt mid-flight which presents a problem.

To be safe, neatly pack these items in your hold luggage.

Lithium Batteries

Similar to the 3-1-1 liquids rule, the ban on lithium batteries is a staple and extends to almost all developed countries around the world.

Lithium batteries have been found to overheat and explode or catch on fire.

As a general rule, avoid e-cigarettes, computer chargers, and smart luggage powered by non-removable lithium batteries.

If you do happen to travel with these items you may be asked to remove the battery or they may be confiscated altogether, so it’s best not to have them on you while flying.

Fireworks, Poppers, and Christmas ‘Crack’ers

Obviously, any kind of explosives and highly flammable fireworks are not allowed on planes.

This rule extends to holiday poppers which don’t necessarily explode but they do make a distinct popping noise that can be cause for concern during a flight. Better to pick these up once you land and scare your family members then.

English Christmas crackers are also restricted in carry-ons. Regular, edible crackers are completely fine to come aboard but I’m talking “bon-bons” that look like oversized wrapped candy but when you pull at both ends they make a semi-exploding sound or pop.

These fun holiday “crackers” are mostly popular in the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa, unfortunately even in these countries, they aren’t allowed in carry-ons.


Nope, not going to do it… Not going to… OK! Fine! “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.” There you happy? I bet you sang that out loud, didn’t you?

Sweet chestnuts are delicious and a fun treat to have with the family.

Unfortunately, if you’re going to the United Kingdom you can’t take these iconic Christmas treats with you unless you’re traveling from the EU, Egypt, Tunisia, or Morocco, even then you can only have 2 kg.

Christmas Tree - I Can Fly
Let’s Take a Christmas Tree on the Plane Mummy!

Plants and Trees

Any citrus plants or vines not from the EU are not allowed to enter the UK. So olive branches have to be from Greece, not Cyprus.

The US has a different ban on live plants and it’s more specific to plant-items that pose a threat, for some reason mistletoe with berries is on that list.

Christmas trees are more airline specific around the world so you need to check with your specific carrier but for the most part, the cutขoff point for those that do allow trees is 10 feet.

Again, the UK only allows Christmas trees from the EU or Mediterranean and they have to be smaller than 3 meters.

How funny would it be to dress up a Christmas tree, buy it a plane ticket, and pretend it’s an actual passenger! Now that would be a holiday memory to cherish with loved ones forever. Then again you might get kicked off the flight or charged hidden fees for extra baggage.

Sporting Equipment

Baseball bats, golf clubs, and any other large sporting equipment heavy enough to cause serious injury are not allowed aboard planes as carry-ons.

If you are worried you will damage the expensive equipment, invest in better bags and carry-ons.

Most airlines will charge you extra for having gold clubs in addition to check-in luggage, so read the fine print before buying your ticket.

Related Questions:

Can I Bring Lighters in My Carry-On?

If you were considering taking fireworks you probably already have a lighter in your carry-on, don’t you?

Whether you’re a smoker or taking one as a gift keep in mind that if you’re traveling to the UK, you are only permitted to have a single disposable lighter. Anything more will be confiscated.

Don’t be so disappointed, many countries don’t allow lighters at all unless they are completely empty, in fact, you can’t even have a full lighter in your checked baggage.

What about Christmas Lights?

No restrictions whatsoever, go for it!

Why Can’t I Wrap my Gifts?

You definitely can wrap your presents and gifts but it’s not recommended. Airport security officers need to access your luggage and its contents at a moments notice.

If they can’t identify your packages they won’t hesitate a moment to ruin your beautiful handiwork and rip apart your holiday wrapping paper.

Instead, wrap your presents at your destination or mail them beforehand and pick them up when you land.