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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Holiday Decorations-RV Style

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The RV ornament we picked up in Virginia from our favorite RV park (Americamps) the day we left.

The key ornament that Santa uses to get into the homes of people that don’t have chimneys.

While we were living in a sticks and bricks home, we had accumulated 4 totes of Christmas/Yule decorations and 4 totes of Halloween/Samhain decorations AND a rather large box that housed our 6 1/2 foot tall white artificial Christmas tree. I had a LOT of holiday decorations. Once we had decided to become full-timers, I had to downsize ALLLLLLLLL of that stuff! It wasn’t exactly easy either. Over the course of 9 years, I had managed to hoard all kinds of memories.  Shoot, I even had some Christmas decorations that I had grown up with as a little girl! After whittling, tossing, donating and still storing a LOT of those sentimental things, I got our RV decor down to 1 tote! Half for Halloween and half for Christmas AND that included our Christmas tree too. Boo-yah! Seriously, that was quite the feat of awesomeness! The thing is though, after having our white Christmas tree since the year Nic and I met (it was my 1st white tree ever and I soooo badly wanted one, so he got it for me for our first Christmas together), it wasn’t exactly in the best of shape. I decided to donate it. What’s the point in keeping it in storage to collect dust, when some other family out there might be able to love it as much as we had all these years? I did keep our tiny little black tree that my Mother-in-law got me a couple years ago when I so badly wanted a Gothic tree. That was the year black trees pretty much didn’t exist in stores and yet she had managed to find me one! It was a gothic Christmas miracle! Well, it fit into our tote, so black tree or not…it was coming with us!

So, don’t laugh at me…our Christmas tree is black…aaaand naturally, we have Jack Skellington ornaments for it too, lol! ;) 

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The girls were SO excited to finally get the Yule and Christmas decor out! For the eldest, that means Santa will be arriving shortly…for the youngest, that’s just more stuff to mess up and possibly destroy! Yippee! Oh, and for the cats, it’s that time of year when the litter box is full of sparkly tinsel. Joy. Before the decorations went on the tree though, Cindy thought the purpose of it was to hold “Woof”. He’s the black doggie that Terrie from Americamps had given her not long before we left Virginia. Imagine Cindy’s disappointment when I told her that Woof can’t climb the tree. Then imagine her excitement when a few minutes later, we were hanging all kinds of sparkly balls all over it for her to remove and throw all over the room! Woohoo! It ended up working to her advantage after all.

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Luckily for us, that tree was so compact and lightweight (and the lights were battery operated). It was also incredibly portable. In the short month that it made an appearance in our home, it travelled constantly between the shelf (pictured above and below) by MHG’s dollhouse to the top of Cindy’s dresser by their bed to the kitchen table and back again. It was always being moved around for one reason or another. That was probably its most redeeming quality.

If we had been in transit mode, I wouldn’t have taken the tree down. I would’ve mounted the 3 legs of the tree stand to the shelf pictured above using 3 of these thingys (Sorry…if Nic were here he could tell me what they’re called):

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As it were though, we are not mobile for the holiday season. I don’t need to worry about making the tree a permanent fixture in our home right now. Oh, and I would’ve used a hot glue gun to glue the tree semi-permanently into its stand so it wouldn’t hop out going down the road. I would’ve used hot glue because once the holiday was over, I could easily remove the tree from its stand, scrape the glue out and it would be ok to do that again next year. Some of the ornaments might have jumped off the tree, but I almost doubt it. They were really hard to remove once the holidays were over!

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Well that takes care of the tree. Pretty much the only other place we decorated was the slide. It’s the most integral spot in our home. Everyone gathers there to eat, talk, homeschool, work on projects, etc. Not to mention that it’s the first thing you see when you walk in the door. We wanted it to be our main focal point and thusly went to work prettifying it.

Nic drilled holes into the edge of the shelf above our slide. He spaced the holes out every 3” and of course they were centered…(we’re both perfectionists). Doing so allowed us the ability to not only hang the garland and lights, but also our ornaments. Yes, I brought our ornaments. Not all of them, just the most meaningful, which happened to be all of our Hallmark ones and a few others. I have collected a Hallmark ornament for every single year since Nic and I met (2 after Cindy was born-1 for each girl).

If we had been mobile throughout the holidays, I would NOT have left these up in transit mode. They have far too much sentimental value to get broken. Depending on how often we were on the road too, would determine if I would have taken them out in the the first place. It’s a hassle to pack them up and take them out of said packaging.

Here’s 2004: Our First Christmas Together

2005: The year we married (the girls really like that one because it’s a music box that you wind up)

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This is my favorite. Nic got MHG it in 2009. The “Christmas Town” sign lights up and blinks at different intervals.

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Here’s this year’s new additions. From Peanuts, we have Pigpen on the beach. It reminds me of Cindy this year @ Virginia Beach.

I managed to find MHG a Monster High Draculaura ornament on eBay. “Best. Mom. Ever.” she said. ;)

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Along with our ornaments, tree and its decor we also brought our Holly King (for Yule) and a cookie tin that houses all our spare Christmas lights bulbs, hooks and other tiny things. We only brought what was most important to our family.

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We made a quick run to Wal-Mart for the small mug hooks and the fanciest, poofiest garland they had. Nic also got me a white strand of lights that has they 17 different blinking/fading/chasing modes. My favorite mode is when all the individual bulbs fade in and out slowly but not at the same time. After Christmas, I will hang them on the girls’ tree on the wall (that I made MHG when she was 2) and I will hide each bulb behind a leaf so you can’t see them. On that setting, it looks like faeries (or lightning bugs) are dancing in the treetop and I LOVE how it looks (I’ve done it in the past)! (Note: the Christmas lights will now serve double-duty…always a bonus when you RV.)

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I sewed us some new stockings by repurposing old clothing and scrap material. One of these days I’ll do a post on my other blog about that process, but for now, I need to focus on catching one blog up at a time! I used Cindy’s 1st pair of Scooby Doo pj’s to make Nic’s stocking. I used one of MHG’s old favorite t-shirts to make hers. I used a favorite shirt of mine mixed with my favorite old dress of Cindy’s to make mine. I used scrap sewing fabric to make Cindy’s. It was a lot of fun, wasn’t hard at all, and everyone loves their stocking, so I’d say it was a success! (Those are Monster High shower curtain hooks by the way. It’s all I had to hang them, haha!)

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On Christmas Eve day, the girls and I made some paper snowflakes to hang around our home. That’s the closest thing we’re getting this year to snow! (And I am completely ok with that!)

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Last but not least, when we first moved into our RV back in Colorado (in April 2013), my Mom gifted us with some solar-powered Christmas lights. I actually think they were for the 4th of July (red, white & blue), but who cares either way…lights are lights. Nic ran them along the length of our awning and secured them into the utility slot on it using electrical tape. There’s plenty of sun here in Phoenix, so they are lit up great every night!

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outside lights

We had fun decorating our home-on-wheels and we definitely made it all work! We were a little worried that we wouldn’t have room for a tree, or to even store our decor, but it all worked out marvelously! I was even able to get all of our seasonal decor BACK into the tote from which they came (plus a new strand of super poofy garland)!

Taking decor down and putting it away is a work of Tetris art all in itself! Witness the magic…

Step 1: Put all ornaments back into their packaging. Xmas on the left, Halloween on the right

Tetris everything together as best as possible

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Step 2: Wrap the tree as tightly as possible in twine turning it into a tree javelin

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Step 3: Place tree javelin and other assorted awkward sized items on top

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Step 4: Smash in the Holly King and stuff in the garland around him

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Ta-Da! It all fits…and believe it or not…better than before!

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Oh, and our loved ones still sent us cards this year! I was worried that because we’re nomads now, our loved ones would be less inclined to do so. Alas, here’s our fridge decorated in all the love and bling that our friends and family sent us! Thank you to everyone that contributed to this work of art! We love each and every one of you and are happy that you are thinking of us!

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As you can see, although our square footage is dramatically smaller from last year at this time, we are still able to decorate and enjoy it just as much as before! Ho-ho-ho! Happy Holidays!

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