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Come On In and Smell Christmas: Decorating an RV for Christmas

Decorating for Christmas has always been part of our holiday celebrations. Although I no longer have room to store or display mass quantities of decorations, I still find ways to make our RV home look and smell like Christmas.

That mug of candy canes on my desk? I occasionally nibble on one and I sometimes use one to stir my tea. But mainly I sniff them. There's something rejuvenating about peppermint. And, they smell like Christmas!

That huge candle on my bathroom vanity -- the one with cinnamon sticks and red berries in it -- it has the best scent you can imagine. It smells like Christmas!

I decorate for all my senses. Our RV home is small. I have neither the room to display nor to store boxes and boxes of holiday decorations. I've learned to compensate by involving my senses of smell, taste, touch, and hearing as well as sight.

Here are some hints and things I've learned about decorating a small home (but they will work for those of you with large homes, too) …

Use your holiday decorations. Our regular cloth placemats and napkins are put away and we use the Christmas ones. (If they get spaghetti sauce on them, so what?) And those pretty candles -- they get lit and burned.

Let your holiday festoons do double or triple duty -- such as that gingerbread that not only smells like Christmas, but tastes like it, too. Or, those candy canes that smell, taste, and look like Christmas.

Look beyond an item's intended purpose. Our puppy received an adorable stuffed reindeer toy for a Christmas gift. It has a nubby fur body, velvet antlers, and a brightly colored knitted scarf. It sits on our window valance, adding a whimsical touch.

Keep tradition. Although we've never had a fireplace, I can't remember a Christmas when we didn't hang stockings. Last year, we pinned them to the curtains. This year, we screwed small cup hooks to the underside of the overhead cabinets and the stockings hang in a row at the foot of our bed.

Have a focal point. I have a small quilt draped over the curtain opposite the front door. When you open the door and look in our RV, it is the first thing you see -- bold, colorful, and dramatic.

Take advantage of small wall spaces. I don't have room to hang large paintings. Instead, I use tree ornaments as wall hangings. In the tiniest of spaces, I hang a single ornament. In the somewhat larger areas, I make a grouping of several ornaments that have something in common -- three Santas or a small collection of brass ornaments.

Use free decorations that nature provides and that you toss after the holiday is over. A basket of evergreen branches (trimmings picked up at a tree lot) and pinecones (picked from our yard) tied with a red ribbon looks festive on the counter. The cat loves to play in them. When she bruises the needles, the fragrance oils are released and the room is lightly scented with pine.

Decorate with things meant to disappear. My centerpiece is a container of seasonal fruit and candy. Family and friends are encouraged to help themselves to these goodies. I replenish it with different treats throughout the season.

Create a mood. We fill our home with seasonal music -- carols, fun childhood favorites, and new renditions by country artists. I answer the phone with, "Merry Christmas!" And sometimes, in the dark of evening, we just stand watching the twinkling of tiny lights on our 10-inch tall Christmas tree and think about why it is that we celebrate Christmas in the first place.

Go to the page indexing the articles about celebrating holidays while RVing, from this page on decorating for Christmas.

Go to the RV Life and Travel blog.

Go to the RV Life and Travel home page to find more articles about RVs, RV camping, and full-time RVing.

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