Making holidays special while on the road 

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By Nanci Dixon

Being away from family and friends on holidays can be difficult, particularly when first starting to full-time or snowbird.


Remembering the smell of turkey in the oven, stuffing enough to feed an army, the decorations and family gathered around the holiday table can make even the most ardent RVer sigh. It is easy to forget all the work: the cooking, cleaning, decorating, shopping, wrapping and family squabbles involved. But there are ways to bring that holiday feeling home to your RV.

If your Christmas involved decorating your home inside and out, buy a few small decorations. The first year out, missing the tree, the garland, the lit deer and Santa in the yard, I went to a dollar store and got an assortment of inexpensive holiday decorations, knowing that they would be donated or tossed in January. The next year I bought a small tabletop tree and mini decorations. I am sure someone is enjoying them now.

As I had kept one box of our most meaningful Christmas decorations at my sister’s, this summer I took out three or four small, unbreakable items to carry with us and to remember each of the children, grandchildren and special friends.

When I put out a few decorations on and around our motorhome, our neighbors felt free to do the same. Some even added a few Christmas lights. They made sure to ask if it was okay with the rest of the folks around them (yay!).

One RVing couple always flies home to the snow-covered north to be with their family and also to remember why they winter in the warm southwest!

Another couple takes turns – their kids come down and stay in hotels one year and the next year they go home.

Our adult children celebrate with us in January. They have their Christmas at home and get to be with us in the Arizona warm in the middle of the northern winter.

FOR OTHER HOLIDAYS I have planned to be doing something special. One Thanksgiving we ate grilled turkey breast, stuffing, and mac and cheese at Zion National Park. One Easter found us boondocking in the desert heading to Mexico. Another Thanksgiving we were moving all our stuff from one motorhome to our brand-new one; ham sandwiches and mini bakery pumpkin pies for that one!

If you are near a city there are a lot of volunteer opportunities from serving at homeless shelters to “adopting” a family to buy presents for.

Some campgrounds have a potluck for everyone in the park. If one is not scheduled at yours, you can always ask around and start one.

As far as cooking, almost all of your favorites can be made on an RV stove, grill, microwave, convection oven, slow cooker, Instant Pot or even an open fire. Recipes can be adapted to different cooking methods and smaller size. Google the recipe and add your cooking method. “Turkey plus slow cooker” or “pumpkin pie plus convection oven,” for example. Just start early enough to stagger the cooking if needed.

While it won’t eliminate the tug on your heart, decorating, planning something special, getting together with your new RV friends and having your favorite foods can make your “new” holidays … a holiday!

Nanci Dixon is a full-time RVer living “The Dream.” She works and travels across the country in a 40’ motorhome with her husband. Having been a professional food photographer for many years, she enjoys snapping photos of food, landscapes and an occasional person. They winter in Arizona and love boondocking in the desert. They also enjoy work camping in a regional park. Most of all, she loves to travel.

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Cindy Martin

Attend a local church Christmas service, volunteer at a soup kitchen or for Salvation Army, invite someone to dinner at your “house”, or take goodies to neighbors. I lived overseas for nearly 20 years and I missed my family so much at holidays. I found it was a good time to call everyone since many of them spent the time together and I could speak to more than one family at a time. Now with SKYPE and cameras it’s easier than ever and you can spend the holiday with family.

Susan

Wherever we are, we try to find a local holiday event to attend. Whether it’s a performance, holiday parade, festival, etc, it makes being away from family & friends a little easier.