Celebrating the Holidays in Your RV

Have you spent a holiday in your RV? Most of us bring some of our traditions from our sticks and bricks life with us into the RV. Other things are modified or forgotten.

For example, Brandon and I don’t have room for a full-size Christmas tree anymore, but we still decorate the RV with a garland and the meaningful ornaments we kept from our lives prior to RVing (see the photo above). Other Xscapers have found ways to keep the tradition of a tree alive in their new life.

Some of us spend the holidays visiting family while others spend it with their RVing family. Personally, we tend to go back and forth on this depending on which side of the country we’re exploring. We’ve spent the month of December with family enjoying some of the same traditions as when we were young. We have also spent Christmas out in the desert with friends sharing meals and adding an RVer slant to a white elephant gift exchange.

No matter where they are spent, holidays in the RV can be special and fun. We asked for Xscapers in the Facebook group to share their experiences with us. Everyone was generous with recounting their holidays while RVing. We’ve gathered their stories and photos and hope you find inspiration for your holidays this year!

Emma and Kevin Ridley

Our family of 4 celebrates Christmas in our RV with a small tree, stockings, a few modest presents, we bake Christmas cookies, and watch Christmas movies. Of course, we leave a plate of cookies and milk out for Santa on Christmas Eve and we always remember to tell him in our letter where exactly we will be so he won’t forget! (This is a very important detail to our 6-year-old!)

Our first Christmas on the road we pulled into an RV park in the city (Phoenix) to take a break from boondocking for the holidays. We saw on the campground calendar there was a Christmas potluck dinner. We were glad to go and maybe feel a little more cheer since we were so far from family. We showed up to the club house with our potluck dish and had a seat. Everyone seemed friendly enough but when it came down to time to eat we were informed that we didn’t sign up a head of time and weren’t welcome as they had only planned on a certain number of people eating dinner. Feeling even less Christmas spirit than ever we headed out to a Chinese restaurant and enjoyed a fabulous meal but lesson learned: Christmas potlucks in campgrounds are likely something you’ll want to check on before just dropping in!

Cheryl and David Goldstein

In 2016 which was our first holiday season to be on the road, I could not find my Hanukkah menorah anywhere. I had the candles but no menorah. Knowing how upset I was, David found a cool piece of wood and made an awesome menorah for me so that we could celebrate Hanukkah in our RV. 🕎 It was a special Hanukkah to remember.

Carole and Scott Pleasants

We love being on the road for the holidays! We buy a little teeny fake tree and donate it after the holidays. Ahhhh, the simple life!

Andrew and Rikki Pullen

We have a tradition (well it becomes a tradition after this year) where we buy a potted pine tree to put on our dash. Dry needles don’t happen because the tree is still alive. We plant it yearly. My parents have a cabin among pine trees in northern Wisconsin and they plant it there for us each summer. So in the meantime, we always have a little pine tree traveling around with us!

We buy new decorations usually at Dollar Tree every year that Harper picks out, then, of course, she has to help us decorate!

Heather and Paul Ryan

We have a little tree, homemade stockings, and I have a menorah (we’re a meld) that I decorate our RV with for December. I light the menorah nightly and I’ve made homemade latkes in our tiny RV kitchen.

We really enjoy spending one of the two, Thanksgiving or Christmas, just the two of us. We usually take a hike and enjoy a good meal together. It’s been lovely so far. 

Our first Thanksgiving in the RV we did a tough hike with the pups. Then we followed it up with Christmas with Paul’s extended family. I was soooo overwhelmed with 35 people and a living room of presents. I really prefer the quiet just the two of us away from work for the day. Last year was the opposite. We did Thanksgiving with my family in Florida and Christmas on our own (hike time!). 

Valerie Coffey

We put up a little Charlie Brown tree every year on our dinette. Our college-aged kids fly out to wherever we are. One year we took them skiing in Park City. One year we were in NOLA and met the kids in LV for NYE.

Carla McElroy

We have a small Christmas tabletop tree and a star shower for the outside. Two years ago we made Christmas cookies – the neighbors were happy! We had Christmas dinner that year at the oldest kid’s house. Last year we were at our youngest kid’s parked in the yard, so I cooked in the house. This year we will be gate-guarding in TX, so we will do something simple food wise.

Stacey and Justin Ford

For us, holidays are a little different. Being an active duty military family for 20+ years we celebrated when we were together, not always when the calendar said it was time. It wasn’t unusual for us to have our Christmas tree still up with wrapped presents under it in April when Justin came home from a long deployment, and we could celebrate together.

Last year we celebrated Christmas early with our kids, so we could go help with the hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Port Aransas, TX. We spent the holidays hugging, supporting, and encouraging the locals of Port Aransas. We helped set up a huge Christmas display in the community center and gathered donated presents so the kids could have a few toys when they had literally lost everything.

That is what Christmas spirit is about to us. Holidays are wonderful reminders of what is important, but if we can remember that feeling year round by making a difference in a strangers life in their absolute time of need, you’ll carry that in your heart forever. It isn’t about stuff. It’s about humanity. Love. Giving. Memories. We carry this quote in our hearts always: “You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you”. We’re pretty sure we left having felt we received more than we gave. What an incredible experience, and an incredible, resilient community we are so honored to have gotten to know. 

Ane Jens and Tommi Virtanen

I was excited to buy our first RV Christmas tree. We bought a live potted tree with grand plans of planting it in the wilderness after the holidays, marking its GPS location and visiting it over the years.

Well, I hadn’t really thought that plan through because we stayed in desert climates after Christmas! As you can see, the poor thing was dry and dropping needles by the time we were able to plant it. Long story short, we either completed our plan or gave the tree a proper burial.

Andy Shears and Lezlie Garr

We celebrated our first holiday season as full-time RVers last year in Florida. We had mimosas with breakfast and then went out for Chinese food, which is our usual tradition. In past years, we typically have the restaurant to ourselves, but in central Florida, we were put on a waiting list…at a buffet! That was a first for us.

How do you celebrate the holidays in your RV?

We’d love to hear how you celebrate the holidays in your RV! Let us know in the comments.

We hope however you spend December that you’re having fun whether it’s just you, family, or your Xscapers community! 

Kerensa Durr

Author

Kerensa Durr

Kerensa & her husband Brandon hit the road in January of 2014 and haven’t looked back. After years of moving for jobs, they decided to go where they wanted and take the jobs with them. They left with their two dogs and cat in a motorhome to explore the country after an extensive research and planning period. With years under their belt enjoying the freedom of exploring the US by RV, they decided to help others learn the ropes of full-timing at RVtoFreedom.com and to join the Escapees team as a Director of Content Strategy.

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