Holiday celebrations throughout the year have created some of our favorite memories, as they do for most families, especially when you have kids. It’s not only fun to celebrate and create traditions, it also presents opportunities for engaged family time and education in each holiday season. And if you have kids, you too know how incredible it is reliving holiday magic through their eyes!
Prior to us living full time in our Vacationer, our holiday celebrations tended to be a little over the top. Our decorations were plentiful, and we would usually be hosting holiday themed meals for family and friends. Of course, we knew our holiday celebrations on the road would look a bit different. Mostly because we packed all our holiday decorations and entertaining supplies into our storage unit. So, we were going to need to be creative and acquire festive items along the way. But we were still determined to find ways to celebrate that were fun, affordable and didn’t require a lot of space.
To our surprise, we were able to celebrate TEN holidays over the past year! We even hosted a Super Bowl party, a Valentine’s Day brunch, 4th of July dinner and our son’s 4th birthday party complete with bounce house and new friends! If you are considering full time travel with your family or vacationing over a holiday season, embrace the holidays! It’s so much more fun and a lot easier to celebrate than you may think! Here are some holiday celebration tips, tricks and things we learned that are helpful when traveling or living small!
The absolute best thing we did was sign up for the YearCheer subscription box. They are holidays-in-a-box that include decorations, activities, a book and tons of family fun for each holiday! The box gets delivered to your door, which is so convenient! It can make it a little challenging when traveling, but most campgrounds allowed us to receive packages, so it ended up working out great. Every YearCheer holiday box includes items for 3-4 kids and truly has been the best investment. One thing I love is that most of the items are just what you need, but not much that you have to keep or store. We, of course, keep the books and a few items here and there. But the majority is used and does not require being stored or saved. Additionally, each box changes from year to year so there is newness each holiday season instead of using the same decorations year after year. They offer holiday boxes for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, and 4th of July.
There are so many elements around in nature that can be appropriately used for holiday decor and fun activities. One of our favorites is painting rocks! For our Valentine’s Day brunch, Thanksgiving dinner, and Halloween lunch, we painted smooth river rocks and added the names of our guests to them. It was a fun craft for my son and a good way for us to be creative when decorating and setting our table. We have even used tree branches and leaves that had already fallen on the ground for our Thanksgiving dinner decor. Along with some items in our YearCheer box, we were able to use sticks in creating gratitude mobiles for Thanksgiving, too. Pinecones and acorns can make cool centerpieces or even ornaments as well!
Throughout all our travels we have consistently been able to easily find a Dollar Tree, Family Dollar or Walmart. For holiday decorations and festive items, the Dollar Tree has been our favorite. They always have items for each holiday and the best part is the price! For under $20, you can have themed plates, cups, utensils, activity kits, candy, and a few decorations. One thing to note is that their items usually arrive in store earlier than you need them and sell out quickly. The one downfall is that while we’ve learned to pick up items we love when we see them, it means we do tend to store them a few extra weeks before actually using them. But typically, these things are small and easy to stow away for a period of time.
With a little bit of research, you can plan to stay in towns or at campgrounds that already have huge holiday celebrations planned. We have found this to be helpful specifically for Halloween and 4th of July. Halloween was the first holiday we experienced on our full-time travels. We learned very quickly that the majority of campgrounds have massive Halloween celebrations that include costume contests, crafts, and trick-or-treating throughout the entire month. Basically, these campgrounds become Halloween destinations for families, especially on weekends. And they book up quickly! If you plan on traveling in October, keep that in mind and secure your reservations early. Additionally, there are several towns across the country that are known for their holiday celebrations. Commonly you’ll find 4th of July parades, fall festivals, and holiday light celebrations.
A GRISWOLD TREE IS POSSIBLE
Celebrating the Christmas season was the one holiday we discussed prior to traveling full time. We considered bringing some of our decor and sentimental items with us but opted to start fresh on the road. A few traditions we kept intact were matching family pjs, sipping hot cocoa by the fire (our Vacationer has a cozy electric fireplace!), baking Christmas cookies and having a real Christmas tree. Three out of the four were pretty easy, but the Christmas Tree, on the other hand, gave us a few challenges. But where there’s a will, there’s a way! First, we decided to put our tree behind the driver’s seat. Next, we needed to acquire as big a tree as we could comfortably fit in our small space. Our challenge was actually getting our tree back to the campsite with a Jeep Wrangler. Thankfully, kind folks offered to drive our tree back to the campground for us. Then it was time to decorate! We decided early on we would collect ornaments from all the places we traveled so that we would have meaningful mementos as well as decorations for our tree. Additionally, we made a few ornaments and added some tinsel from the Dollar Tree!
Celebrating the holidays while traveling may look different than it does in a sticks and bricks home, but it doesn’t need to be any less special. Pick a few traditions or things that are important to you and your family and be creative in how you make those happen. Remember, the most important thing is that your family is together! Don’t worry about your celebrations not being the same as years before. Embrace making new traditions, enjoy celebrating in a different state and have fun!
Meet Spencer, Kristi and Kade, a.k.a. the Adventurtunity Family! In September 2020, they embarked on an adventure to live full-time in their 37′ Holiday Rambler Vacationer. Originally from Baltimore, they have traveled the country in their RV and are sharing their adventures, insight and tips with others in the hopes of inspiring them to hit the road and explore, too.