As the weather gets colder, the relaxing, balmy days of summer are in the rearview mirror, but the bright side is that the cheeriness of the holiday season is right down the road.

Spending the holidays in an RV offers a unique outlet for celebrating the festivities, but it can also lead some travelers to become slightly homesick or long for nostalgic traditions.

If you’re an RVer who is spending your holiday time on the open road, there are plenty of ways to join in on the jolly good times without sacrificing your wandering nature. To help you do that, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Reserve Your Campsite in Advance

Before choosing where you’ll be spending the holidays, always make sure you reserve your campsite in advance, as many RV parks fill up during this busy time of year. For many people, it’s one of the few times during the year where they have time off and are able to travel, which means, just like summer, there will be larger crowds at campgrounds and tourist attractions as well as more traffic on the roads. Scrambling to find a last-minute reservation wouldn’t make for the most enjoyable holiday, so always verify you’ll have a guaranteed spot to set-up camp.

Find RV Parks That Host Holiday Events

If you’re worried about missing out on the social, community-focused aspect of the holiday season, don’t fret; there are many ways RVers are able to enjoy the whimsy, chipper ambiance in the company of others

You can seek out RV parks near towns that host holiday festivals, such as carnivals displaying lights installations, and you can also find a myriad of campgrounds that organize their own events and celebrations. Holiday potlucks, crafting, carolers, games, and movie nights are commonly held at RV parks that are open during the winter, making it easy for RVers to join together to make the season something special and uplifting. Sharing food and laughs is a large part of what makes this season so iconic, and doing so with fellow travelers can help build lasting memories and create new friendships, which is what the spirit of the season is all about.

Think Minimistically About Decorations and Gifts While RVing

If you find yourself missing the art of adorning your abode for the holidays, there are plenty of ways to get in the decorating spirit without ignoring the practical realities of living in a small space. Carrying boxes of decorations probably isn’t the most feasible thing to do when storage is already limited, and many travelers take a minimal approach on the road

To help you out, here are a few ideas to consider:

Utilize dollar stores

Dollars stores offer inexpensive but abundant decorating options for the holiday shopping. Between outdoor/indoor lights, holiday plates and cutlery, and adorable ornaments, you’ll be able to decorate to your heart’s content without breaking the bank. If you don’t want to store them, you can always donate them to thrift stores to use next season without feeling like you’re losing sentimental items.

Focus on your outer RV

Spread cheer to your fellow RVers and any passersby by adoring your outer RV. Low-maintenance items, such as outdoor lights strewn on your RV awning, festive decals stuck to your windows, and charming door hangings, offer easy ways to celebrate the season without needing to go all out.

Find alternatives to your favorite traditions

For example, if you celebrate Christmas and your favorite tradition is decorating your tree, consider an Elf tree or even smaller potted Christmas trees. You can also always ask the RV park you’re staying at if they’d be willing to allow you to decorate a tree near your campsite. It could even turn into an activity other guests take part in! Don’t forget that there are inexpensive LED light strips that make a great alternative and are not as likely to break as traditional lights.

Utilize edible decorations

If you don’t want the fuss of making room for seasonal decorations, consider a decorating activity that involves food, such as decorating sugar cookies, building gingerbread homes, or hanging up candy canes. No-bake cookies are always a hit too!

Remember the power of scent

Peppermint, pumpkin, cinnamon, apple, and pine are all fragrances that are associated with winter festivities. Air fresheners, reed diffusers, and essential oils all allow flame-free opportunities to create a perfect holiday ambiance in your RV.

Like decorations, your RV doesn’t offer unlimited space to pile up the gifts. If you can’t imagine a holiday without the exchanging of presents, consider how much storage you realistically have, and plan your shopping list with that in mind. You can also give smaller gifts that are still exciting to receive, such as gift cards that allow the receivers to choose their own gifts, subscriptions to magazines, websites, clubs, and streaming services, or gift certificates for salon or massage services.

Instead of exchanging individual gifts, many RV families believe in the gift of experience rather than material objects. During the holidays, they will plan an exciting trip that everybody will look forward to and enjoy.

Plan Your Food Needs in Advance

Universally, food is one of the main focal points of important celebrations, but preparing a magnificent feast is a bit more complex in an RV. Here are a few tips for simplifying the process without skipping the holiday roast:

Start well in advance

Instead of attempting to make everything the night before or the same day, try to pace your cooking out over a few days so that you’re not overwhelmed in your small space.

Shorten your menu

While it’s easier to make a dozen or more dishes in a traditional kitchen space, consider stripping your menu down to your family’s favorite items. Include the basics that you most meaningfully connect to the holiday, but don’t feel pressured to include every side and dessert.

Seek out RV communities where potlucks are happening

That way, you only need to sign up to bring one or two dishes, while getting to enjoy a full feast with other traveling families.

Skip cooking altogether

If you really want to take the hassle out of an RV holiday dinner, consider going out to eat, or considering ordering a fully-cooked Thanksgiving dinner from participating companies, such as Whole Foods or Cracker Barrel.

Seek Out Volunteer Opportunities for RVers

Regardless of what holiday you celebrate, this season is really about spreading cheer and kindness. There are few better ways for you and your family to do this than by donating your time to a worthy cause. Homeless shelters are always in need of volunteers, or you could seek out RV-specific volunteer opportunities, such as RV Caravanners, a subsection of Habitat for Humanity designed for those kind-hearted travelers looking to make a difference.

Closing Up

Hopefully these tips will help give you an idea of how to make your holiday season on the road smooth and jovial. If you take the time to plan as well as get creative in how to incorporate your favorite festivities, you should have no problem creating happy, lasting traditions while enjoying your adventures on the road. That’s the best of both worlds.

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Happy Holidays!