Welcome to our Christmas camper tour!
December is not only our ninth month on the road, but it is also our first time having Christmas in our camper. For many years, we have traveled during the holidays to see family however, we have always been in our own home to open Santa’s gifts on Christmas Day. There is something special about the warmth and joy of those early moments when everybody leaps out of bed to gather together around the tree.
Admittedly, we started to feel a little blue at the beginning of this holiday season. We miss the Christmas traditions in our small hometown, the yearly walk down Christmas Tree Lane, and the train rides at our favorite tree farm. When we recognized the ache that we all felt about doing things differently this year, we agreed to use it as an opportunity to create our own magic and start new traditions. We are happy to share that the slow and thoughtful time we have spent decorating our home has totally lifted our spirits.
One of our new favorite traditions is our list of holiday activities. We sat down together one afternoon, pulled up a map, and reviewed the places in California where we will be traveling in the month of December. We researched the holiday events in each town and picked the ones that we want to experience. On bits of craft paper, we wrote things like; Christmas parade in Solvang and Cambria Light Festival. We also wrote the names of family members who we will be visiting, along with fun activities like baking cookies, making handmade cards, and watching holiday movies.
We took our bits of paper and stapled them to our homemade dried orange bunting. Now they hang in our home where we can peek at them anytime we need to be reminded of the many wonderful, magical things we get to do this season. Each time we accomplish one of the items on our list, we add the date to it. These little craft paper scraps will become special keepsakes for our travel journals.
The dried oranges were a super affordable way to decorate, and they’re kind of addicting. Oranges, oranges, everywhere! It’s as simple as slicing up several oranges and putting them in the oven for two hours at 200 degrees. Then we strung them on twine and hung the citrus around our home and on our tree. Those first few days of having the oranges in our home smelled so yummy! Now you have to lean in close to get a whiff, which you can catch us all doing several times a day.
We also made cinnamon ornaments this year. It’s another super affordable and simple way to create something special together. The children enjoyed rolling out the dough and using cookie cutters to create fun shapes.
The children earn quarters for doing certain chores around our camper and when they each have one dollar, we visit the Dollar Spot at Target to pick out something small. As soon as they spotted the sticky Santa, their minds were made up and now we have the most precious holiday scene on one of our windows. It changes often, and has provided some really wonderful quiet moments together when the kiddos change the scene and tell stories about Santa’s adventures.
On our desk sits a tiny concrete Santa. He was sent to us by Kate’s mother in Texas and is the sweetest little addition to our holiday decor. Of course, we also have plants on our desk all year long but there’s something about the warm tones and texture of the terracotta that make everything feel a little extra magical. Anybody else geek out over pots and plants like we do? It’s a thing.
Our kitchen isn’t much different than the rest of the year. We are attached to the counter space and though tempting to fill it with holiday trinkets, we held back. The plants are lovely enough, and a few candles scattered about add a nice scent and ambient glow in the evenings. (Yep – that’s food splatter in the sink. Mashed sweet potatoes. At least it’s orange and on-theme!)
We have stockings in storage, but won’t be able to make it to them in time for Santa’s arrival so these Target cuties are the perfect addition to our home. The moment we got them home, one of our children put two of them on like socks and then pranced around for hours. Needless to say, they started off the same size but now some of them are a bit stretched out. It’s something that would have made us bonkers in years past but things have changed, and seeing stretchy stockings hang from our makeshift mantle is a sweet reminder of the precious child who played with them and the joy he shared with us in those silly moments.
Our little home on wheels is our cocoon. It is where we snuggle together to read books, work together on cooperative board games, spend sweet moments talking about our dreams, and gather as a family to work through conflict. Life on the road is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but at nearly nine months in, it really does feel like a wonderful place to belong and the magic of this season is making our place all the more special.
We hope that you enjoyed this peek into our home! To see what our camper looks like the rest of the year, check out that tour here.