Whether you’re traveling in your adventure van full-time or just taking it out for the holidays, there’s no reason why you can’t hit the road without a bit of holiday spirit. While you’re not able to go all-out as you would with a traditional home, this doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have fun with Christmas decorations while you’re out and about. After all, sprucing up your rec van with some holiday cheer can create a personal feel of home sweet home, no matter where you are or who you’re hosting.
To help inspire your van-inspired Christmas decor, here are our top ten easy and affordable ways to decorate your adventure van for the holiday season.
Keep track of the season with a classic advent calendar. You can find a table-top or wall-hanging calendar to count down the days to Christmas. It’s also a clever way to record your travels with a photo or memento as you make your way towards your final destination for the big day of celebration.
You can record your holiday travels with a small polaroid photo, or a natural keepsake (branches, rocks, sea shells) for each day along your advent calendar countdown. Afterwards, you can create a couple of scrapbook pages or a keepsake box to commemorate your travels through the 2022 holiday season.
Cover Your Corners with Garland
Let’s be honest – one of the reasons we’re van travelers is because we pine for that nature green. Bring that look and feel inside your rec van by decorating the nooks of your galley surfaces and van ceilings with pine garland. If you’re looking to add a splash of color, you can adorn your hanging garland with mini-ornaments or clipped photos from your 2022 travels. Garland packs a punch of evergreen foliage without taking up too much space that could otherwise be used to prep for your van-style festivities.
You can choose between artificial or natural garland depending on your travel style. If you’re a full-time van dweller, we recommend keeping it natural so that you don’t have to worry about taking up crucial storage space with your holiday decor.
Get Creative with Your Christmas Tree
A full-sized Christmas tree is pretty difficult to pull off within the confines of your camper van. Instead, opt for a smaller table-top tree. Your mini-tree won’t take up too much living space, while offering a jolly touch of holiday magic to your mobile home ambiance. Find tinsel or mini-ornaments to adorn your little tree, or better yet, create home-made ornaments with mementos from your past year’s travels.
You can tape ornament hooks to the back of park stickers and mini-polaroids to celebrate the highlights of your 2022 adventures. It adds a touch of personalization to your mini Christmas tree and brings the nomadic spirit of van dwelling to your holiday decor.
Brighten Your Space with Holiday Lighting
Who says van life demands a holiday without Christmas lights? We love driving by them, but nothing beats van camping with them. Use damage-free adhesive hooks to arrange your lighting throughout the living space of your rec van. You can hang your lighting from your ceiling above or arrange them along the counter space of your galley.
If you’re looking to save on outlet space, you can find some battery powered mini-christmas lights (also known as fairy lights) to create a bright centerpiece for your dinette or kitchen space. Arrange the lighting with some decorative flowers to bring a fresh holiday feel to your van space. When you turn off your overhead lights, you’ll enjoy a warm and magical ambiance to wind down to.
Display Pine Cones from Your Travels
Collect some fallen pine cones to create a unique and natural holiday display. You can go simple and place them in a fruit arrangement bowl or get creative and hot-glue ornament hooks to the bottom of the cones to hang them from your ceiling garland. You can make a craft project out of this by getting some loose craft sprinkles and Elmer’s glue to add sparkle to your pine cones.
Have fun and theme your crafts to the color scheme of your choice! Simply apply elmer’s glue along the cone and roll the pine cone in loose sprinkles. We recommend using some aluminum trays to help limit the chances of a sparkly mess.
Welcome Your Guests With a Wreath
A hanging wreath is a classic symbol for Christmas cheer. When you’ve stationed at your campsite, you can break out a holiday wreath paired with a holiday themed welcome mat at your van’s entry door. If you’re the sort who thrives on DIY projects, you can create your very own wreath with some craft supplies. You can find a pre-cut wood circle to wrap and adorn to your heart’s content. Otherwise, you can get some left-over pine branches from a Christmas tree lot to build a natural wreath with some twine.
The decoration details are limitless. Add beads, battery operated mini-lights or mini-ornaments to bring a splash of color. If you’re more of a minimalist, adding a string of jingle bells will do just the trick.
Add Holiday Whimsy to Your Walls
Get your hands on some damage-free adhesive hooks and hang your stocking near your bed. If you’re not planning to have a Santa’s Christmas morning, you can use your stocking to tuck away any small items you’d like to have within immediate reach. It’s whimsical and practical.
If you want an easy way to add some holiday color to the interior of your camper van, get some spare wrapping paper to line the flat surfaces of your living space (galley backsplash, bedroom headboard, or some cabinets). You can make your rec van look like the holiday dream machine by dressing your flat cabinets as Christmas gifts. All you need is some wrapping paper that tickles your holiday spirit, a few bows, and some scotch tape.
Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow
Create an especially unique winter feel by getting some craft paper in your favorite holiday colors to make your own snowflakes. As you fold and cut the bent edges in with unique patterns, each creation will be a design of its own to keep for display. We recommend using smaller paper sizes, such as square origami pages.
Tape some transparent string (such as fishing lines) to each of your home-made snowflakes at varying lengths. You can then use damage-free scotch tape to hang your snowflakes from the ceiling of your van. This Christmas van craft idea is simple, affordable, and can be enjoyed with the little ones in your family.
Take the Minimalist Approach
If you’re looking to celebrate Christmas with a more minimalist approach, craft stores such as Hobby Lobby or Michael’s will have everything you need. You can find pre-cut wooden cones that mimic the appearance of a Christmas tree when painted green. If you’re a full-time van dweller, you can create a simple color theme with your rugs, kitchen towels, throw pillows and bedding without going for the full-on Christmas theme. This allows you to minimize the storage space taken up by seasonal decor. Faux fur throw blankets and pillows or plaid patterns paired with solid colors can go a long way in creating a subtle Christmas vibe.
Add Some Seasonal Aroma
You’ve decked out your rec van with the look and feel of Christmas. Now let’s focus on the final touch of some holiday inspired scents. Simmer thick cuts of citrus with several sprigs of fresh balsam and rosemary for a refreshing winter scent. Create a natural wreath with a handful of fresh sage using a styrofoam wreath and grosgrain ribbon for hanging from your local crafts store.
Another great way to add some holiday spice to the air is by making your own stovetop potpourri. Great combinations include:
- Cinnamon sticks, pine and peppermint
- Lemon, rosemary and cinnamon sticks
- Cinnamon sticks, pine, whole clove, nutmeg, cranberries, and orange
These combinations are flexible, so feel free to experiment with your favorite flavors. These fresh ingredients can also be mixed and stored in mason jars for later use or gift giving.
To help you stay cozy over the holiday travel season, be sure to check out our Tips for Cold Weather Vanning! Where are you headed to for the holidays? Let us know in the comments below?