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Not in the holiday spirit yet? It’s not too late to visit your local museum or historic site. Many locations decorate for Christmas and some even host special holiday tours. When we are in Florida, we love to visit the National Museum of Naval Aviation during the holidays. They have an area called Homefront, USA (it depicts a hometown during WWII) which they decorate for Christmas. So if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed this holiday season load your kin into the old Family Truckster and plan on visiting a local museum. It’s what Clark would do. 😉

Once again we put up two trees in our fifth-wheel. I blame it on all the souvenir ornaments we buy. Well, that’s my excuse anyway! 😉

If you find yourself in Pensacola during the holidays, you have to stop by the Pensacola Lighthouse located on the Naval Air Station and right across from the Naval Aviation Museum. The lighthouse and buildings are decorated for Christmas. Just about every room has a decorated tree!

The admission fee ($6 for adults, $4 for seniors) includes the lighthouse and museum exhibits. And, did I mention the lighthouse is haunted?  😉

For more information, visit their website or see more at TMN.

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © Two trees in our fifth-wheel

It’s that time of year again! And up go our two Christmas trees… yep, 2 trees in 1 RV!

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © Camping Santa

  As we travel the country, we pick up an ornament or some little momento that we can hang on that year’s Christmas tree. Yet that tradition has left us with a box of ornaments that don’t get displayed each year.

  Well, that was our excuse for going from a 3 ft. tree to a 6 ft. one anyway. 🙂 Yes, there is a 6 ft. Christmas tree in our fifth-wheel!  And we absolutely love having a large tree again.

   In fact, I’m thinking we could have gotten a 7 ft. one… okay, well, maybe not. At least not this year! 😉

  So if you have been like us, thinking you can’t get one in your home-on-wheels, think again! Just make sure it is a narrow tree and properly secured to the stand.

Yes, you can bake Christmas cookies in a camper!

Decorating holiday cookies in the RV.

Like most folks, we have been busy this past week working on holiday cookies and candies and doing our holiday shopping.

Since storage space is limited in a RV and you have to make each item count. Often cherished holiday items and decorations have to make way for the essentials. New items (gifts) coming into the RV often mean something else has to go out the door to make more room.

When it comes to decorations, we have learned to adapt to limited storage. One of the first things we did was reduced the size of our artificial Christmas tree. After the holiday we will “bundle” our tree and place it in a storage bag. It easily fits down in one of our holiday storage bins. Ornaments and other decorations that are not breakable or fragile are placed in storage bags. Breakable items are wrapped and placed in a smaller storage container. Everything gets placed in our large Christmas decoration storage bin.

The only thing that we miss around the holidays is having a larger kitchen. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with the lack of refrigerator, freezer and  counter space in a RV.

All our candy and cookie recipes have been cut in half or even thirds. Favorite recipes that cannot be reduced are used as filler items for neighbor’s cookie trays. We also limit what candy and cookies we make, often rotating recipes every year or making them at other holidays throughout the year.

When it is time to make the cookies and candies we clear off the kitchen table and place aluminum foil on it (see photo). This becomes our additional counter space and makes decorating cookies much easier.

We keep one refrigerator bin free to place extra cookies and candies until they are ready to be given away. Candies that do not need to be refrigerated are placed in storage containers and set on the table for easy “snacking” access.

Shopping for holiday gifts is a little different when you are a Full-Timer. Not only do you have to keep in mind what the person would like, but also where will they put it and determine if it will be something worth hauling around the country!  This can really add to the stress of the holidays.

The past two years we have practiced Reverse Giving. We agree on a pre-arranged amount and buy and wrap our own gifts, however we “assign” who they are from. The surprise comes on Christmas day when what you “gave” the others is revealed! It works well for us because we know what we need or would like and if there will be adequate room for it.

Most of our friends realize space is limited in our fifth-wheel and send gift cards or gift certificates. When it comes to the flood of holiday cards, we decorate the area above our long living room slide with them. It allows us to display them without wasting our functional living space.

Holiday storage doesn’t have to be a problem in a RV. You just have to learn to make the most of your limited storage space.

Santa does stop at campgrounds!

Santa does stop at campgrounds!

Just like the folks with stick-houses, we RVers have dug out our Christmas holiday decorations and have begun converting our home-on-wheels to mobile winter wonderlands.

Although we have downsized considerably and have limited storage, we make room for the holiday essentials such as Christmas trees, nativity sets and small village pieces. 
Decorating in a RV is the same, just on a smaller scale!
Decorating in a RV is the same, just on a smaller scale!

When my family first became Full-Timers we  went crazy with the outdoor Christmas lights (we even won a campground decorating contest in Florida one year!), but since we have been travelling 20,000 miles a year, we decided that we would rather have food in our cabinets than a small herd of lighted reindeer.

Yet we have Full-Timing friends who rent small storage sheds at their seasonal RV parks just to store their decorations! One set of friends had their little storage shed literally blown apart during a Florida  hurricane. They were in Canada for the summer and we went to retrieve as much of their property we could.  I remember their poor plastic Santa being stuck up in a pine tree!

So no matter how much we downsize and simplify, we just cannot shake the holiday hold of decorating. (Including the woman a few campsites down from us ~ she has a flamingo dressed in a Santa costume!)

Most campgrounds are very festive places to spend the holidays. Those in areas with a large concentration of snowbirds (Florida, Texas, Arizona) often have many activities going on. Some activities include: decorating contests, caroling, candle and tree lighting’s, potluck dinners, gift exchanges, ornament and decoration craft classes, local charity sponsorship, toy and food drives and bus or day trips to see light displays, holiday performances, theme parks or shopping centers.

The majority of our Full-Timing friends in Florida have family visit them from out-of-state. They either pitch a tent or bring their own RV (or rental) or rent a cabin or villa inside the RV resort. Children of all ages can be found (and trying their very best to be good!) at campgrounds during the holidays.

We have always enjoyed the carolling. Not many places these days have folks go door-to-door (or in our case, campsite-to-campsite) to sing holiday songs to their friends and neighbors.

Potlucks and holiday dinners and dances are formed. Most are free, but occasionally some campgrounds charge small fees to help pay for meat or musical entertainment. Many we have been to the last few years just go by “Pass the Hat” and folks throw in a few dollars to help pay for the costs of the event.

RVers also remember those in need. Many seasonal campgrounds host toy or food drives or have their own campground clubs volunteer for local charities. We may not all have much ourselves, but we know that we have more than most.

Some campgrounds have a special service for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. There are several RV resorts with their own non-denominational weekly services. We have attended services like these and although the surroundings aren’t as elaborate as churches, they still host a reminder for the reason for the season.

Although Seasonal and Full-Time RVers come from all walks of life, we remember one thing – we are neighbors. We come together and wish each other a season of happiness and goodwill (and, of course, with an exchange of cards, candies or cookie plates).

Did I mention the cookies? Oh, yes! Our little camper ranges and ovens are fully functional and that won’t stop us from whipping up dozens of candies and cookies to friends and neighbors.

Overall campgrounds can be a fun and festive place to spend the holidays as we are all united in the spirit of the season.

IN MY SITES: A Campground Mystery (Book #4)

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