After celebrating Christmas in a 32-foot RV with small children, I now focus on experiential gifts and easy traditions

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Last year, Christmas fell in the middle of a seven-month road trip that my family was taking across the US. Since having kids, I’ve tried not to go overboard with presents, but living in a 32-foot RV with my husband and our girls, 6 and 2, forced me to reevaluate our holiday traditions, especially around gift-giving.

There was no tree, only homemade decorations, and a much smaller pile of presents. As we celebrated Christmas near Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona, we realized that the holiday was one of the best we’d had as a family.

This year we’re back in our home, but we’re still focused on implementing these lessons from our RV Christmas.

Focus on consumable and practical gifts

In an RV, space is at a premium. I knew I couldn’t get my girls lots of toys, so instead I focused on consumable gifts. For us this mostly meant craft supplies like new crayons and sketchbooks.

The rest of their gifts were items they needed anyway. I wrapped up new helmets, bike lights, headlamps, and even sneakers. They were delighted. For them, the joy is in getting to unwrap a surprise, even if that surprise is something relatively mundane.

Emphasize experiences

I had plenty of smaller gifts, but I still wanted to give my girls at least one thing that would wow them. For my toddler, that was a new bike so she could keep up with her sister. For my older child, I decided to try an experience gift: Santa delivered her a box with a ticket for a horse ride.

I didn’t know what her reaction would be, since an experience gift is a bit abstract. When my daughter opened the box, she was thrilled. Later in the day, she had a few little moments of disappointment that she had no “big” present, but when she did the trail ride she was on cloud nine.

This year we’re looking at doing an experience present again — probably a ski lesson.

Use little moments to build holiday magic

When we set out on our RV journey, we packed only essentials. Those didn’t include any Christmas decorations. When we realized we would be on the road for the holiday, we still didn’t want to buy much and clutter our already full tiny home. Instead, my 6-year-old made paper decorations to hang around.

One day, on a whim, I bought a string of Christmas lights. While the girls were out playing by the Colorado River, I strung the lights on their bunk. Their looks of delight when they came in were picture-perfect holiday magic. It was a great reminder that holiday celebrations don’t have to be Instagram-worthy — they can be as simple as a sweet surprise that makes your kid smile.

Keep traditions easy

One of my girls’ favorite traditions in the lead-up to Christmas last year was listening to “The Cinnamon Bear,” a radio serial story from the 1930s. I, my mother, and my grandfather all listened to the story as children. These days it’s a podcast, which delighted my girls in 10-minute daily increments.

Hearing them ask for the story every day reminded me that simple traditions can still be powerful. Instead of feeding into the Christmas machine, I’m focused on smaller, easier traditions that are still meaningful.

Decide what’s most important to you

There can be a lot of pressure during the holidays to do all the things. Since we were away from our friends and family last year, we focused on the basics. We discovered that was really refreshing. It made us realize that we don’t need to do everything to enjoy the Christmas season.

This year we’re keeping a lot of what we learned from our RV Christmas. We also now know what’s most important to our Christmas traditions — like a show-stopper tree. Last year we had to make do with a tiny “Christmas bush” that we bought at Aldi. This year we bought the biggest tree on the lot, and we have no regrets.

Article Courtesy of: https://www.insider.com/i-celebrated-christmas-in-an-rv-with-my-kids-2021-12[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]