No matter where you live or how you travel, it’s only natural to want to celebrate the changing seasons and upcoming holidays. Many of us thrill at the endless possibilities of creating a festive atmosphere inside and out of our homes. Yet whether you’re spending most of your time on the road traveling or you have a more permanent spot for your RV, it can be a challenge to decorate for the holidays with limited space. And of course, after the holidays, you also have to find a place to store said decorations.
Rest assured, it’s not only doable to celebrate holidays like Oktoberfest or Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, or Patriotic Holidays like Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, and Independence Day, it’s a fun way to demonstrate your creativity and joy for that special time of year! You may learn to love the decorating details so much that you’ll find ways to decorate for smaller holidays like St. Patrick’s Day or Valentine’s Day.
Start with Storage
Knowing where you’ll store your holiday décor between seasons is the best place to start. If you’re on the road only part-time, that may mean you can simply store your decorations in your home, garage, or storage unit with the rest of your holiday decor.
But if you’re living in your RV full-time or on the road for extended periods, you may need to be a little more creative when it comes to storage. Some RVs have under-bed or under-cushion storage (or you can create your own); others have storage in lower compartments or “RV basements.” You may also find that after you optimize the space in your RV, you have an extra cabinet, drawer, or space for a storage bin for your seasonal decorations.
You could also eliminate the need for storage space by visiting a favorite charity or secondhand shop and getting just enough holiday decorations for the season. Once it’s time for them to come down, head right back to the store and re-donate them for someone else to enjoy next year. After all, charitable giving is one of the best ways to celebrate the holidays!
You could also bring the outdoors in with more organic decorations that can be easily disposed of (even composted) at the end of the season. For example, you could stop by a pumpkin farm and pick out a few small gourds or pumpkins, dried corn or leaves, and fresh apples to decorate for fall. Or visit a tree farm for some evergreen or holly wreaths or boughs to welcome the long winter evenings.
Choose Your Theme
Because your space to show off your holiday décor and your room to store it is limited, it can help to choose your theme before you begin decorating. This provides direction to help keep your RV looking cohesive as well as festive.
For example, in the fall, you can pull out your beer steins for Oktoberfest. Or you can embrace the spooky elements of Halloween with plenty of black and orange decorations and some creepy crawlies or cobwebs. Or you could choose to change the “feel” of your environment with cozy fall colors, flannels, and candles, which can carry you through Thanksgiving.
Save on Space
No matter how much you love your holiday décor, in a small space, you probably don’t want it to take over every surface. One way to celebrate the season while saving space is to decorate vertically. Avoid stacking items on countertops or covering your limited seating with bulky blankets and pillows. Instead, hang items around your doors, over your slides (if you have them), or from your lights. Or choose just one or two throws that can be changed every season. Better yet, use throw pillow covers instead, which can be changed easily and take up minimal storage space.
Garlands are another versatile decoration that takes up minimal space when out and when stored. You can find garlands with small pumpkins, black cats, or flying ghosts for your fall décor. Once winter comes around, you can switch that garland out for one with evergreens, pinecones, and dried red cranberries. Add a little or and black or red and green ribbon for flare.
For patriotic holidays, you can put up miniature flags, stars and stripes, or variations of red, white, and blue. Add some fairy lights, and boom: Let the festivities begin!
You could also choose just one decoration to change out for each season, such as a welcome mat, a door wreath, or an outdoor flag. Whatever decoration you choose, remember that you’ll need to secure it when you’re on the move.
Cloth and ribbon are other inexpensive and fun ways to change the décor. For instance, if you use baskets attached to walls for extra storage (a popular option), you can add a wide ribbon or a piece of festive fabric to transform your RV without taking up any additional space. Or use ribbons to display cards you’ve received for the season.
Finally, you can decorate windows with decals or use a “snow spray” or window paints with various reusable stencils that can easily be created and washed off at the start and end of every season.
Light It Up
One of the easiest ways to decorate for any holiday is to string lights. These can create a festive feel for you and your neighbors to enjoy. Start by installing small Command Hooks around the entire outside of your RV. These can be left up year-round and used over and over again to string different colored lights.
If you will be parked for a prolonged period, you can also choose one string of LED lights that you can easily change the colors with the changing seasons. Or use some wire to shape and place on the wall to light up the interior of your RV. You can even find solar-powered LEDs that can be controlled remotely to increase or decrease the glow as the mood strikes.
Don’t be afraid to rearrange the lights to create just the right look for your festivities.
Celebrate with Food
One great way to celebrate is to skip the decorations (or keep them minimal) and celebrate with food and kitchen goods. For example, set out some heart-shaped cookies on a pink or red plate for Valentine’s Day with a small bouquet. Choose decorative plates or napkins for each season that you can easily rotate. Or have a kitchen towel or apron for every season that you can easily exchange. You can find numerous fun designs for every season!
Give Gifts of Experience
If you live in your RV with your partner or family, gift-giving over the holidays may also change. After all, you have limited storage and may have pared down as much as possible. Instead of stacking boxes of gifts, consider giving experiences instead. A gift card to a spa, campground, restaurant, class, or event like a concert or play can make everyone feel special without adding clutter you’ll have to find room for.
Embrace New Traditions
If you’ve always celebrated holidays in a big way—such as with a large Christmas tree in the living room or several big jack-o-lanterns on the front porch—it may be time to create new, meaningful traditions. Perhaps it’s a small tree on a side table with only a few special ornaments. Or maybe it’s a few large snowflakes hung from interior lights. Or you could be inspired by a new tradition from your current location.
Decorating your RV is super fun. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated as even small, simple changes can make a noticeable difference in a small space. Get creative and enjoy the excitement and new memories with every holiday celebration!