As a full-time RVer it’s a given that you’ll miss many holidays with family members back home. Whether you’re sad or happy about that is another conversation, but for full-timers from tight-knit families like mine, the first holidays on the road can be sad. After all, it’s not always practical or affordable to drive cross country to be with our loved ones on Easter, light fireworks on Independence Day and unwrap presents on Christmas morning. However since being on the road I’ve found that the vagabonding lifestyle doesn’t have to mean holiday pity parties. If you’re feeling a little low this week because you’re away from family, I hope you’ll take to heart some of these ideas for boosting your holiday happiness on the highway.
If you’re the type who loves to decorate your rig, take time to assemble a small box of your favorite décor for holidays that mean the most to you. Sure, your partner might complain about how much space it takes up but if you convey how important these baubles are for your full-timing happiness, then you’ll both be in better spirits throughout the year. I know many full-timers with large rigs who carry multiple boxes of holiday decorations but if your home on wheels lacks extra space for non-essentials like mine does, then spend a few bucks at a dollar store and donate your decor to the local thrift store when the holidays are over.
RV kitchens are small but as the RV Cooking Show demonstrates, cooking possibilities are endless when it comes to preparing holiday favorites. Last year my husband and I spent Christmas in the Deep South, far away from my California-based family and their annual homemade tamale fiesta. But instead of sitting around missing this traditional meal, we honed in on the local Mexican mercado and through broken Spanish arranged to buy these labor-intensive tamales from a local chef. We cooked beans and rice at home and enjoyed all the flavors of a traditional Mexican Christmas fiesta. Sure they weren’t Mom’s tamales but they were almost as good!
If you’re new a full-timing family, celebrating the holidays on the road will be as big of deal as ever – if not more so as you try to provide some consistency for the kids. And while you probably don’t have the space to go Christmas crazy like before, the full-timing lifestyle presents a great opportunity to teach lessons on the real meaning of the holidays. Keep the kids away from the blitz of TV ads by celebrating with fun projects like baking treats for homeless pets at the local animal shelter; decorating cookies to give to the local senior center and volunteering as a family to help serve holiday meals at shelters. Of course kids will always want to open presents on Christmas morning, so be sure to establish a “one toy in – one toy out” policy long before the unwrapping frenzy is over. Also consider that a space-saving, lavishly decorated ticket to your child’s favorite amusement park can go just as far as a new bulky plastic toy that eventually ends up in a dumpster.
With or without kids on the road, the best part about spending the holidays as a full-timer is that instead of sitting around bickering with relatives you might not even like all that much, you now have the option of celebrating with people who share at least one of your interests – RVing! Most RV parks are filled with adventure-seekers just like you and chances are there’s a pot-luck holiday party just waiting for you to join in.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.