Traveling from place to place and living life on the road in an RV is a grand adventure the majority of the time. However, there are a few times a year when it can be a little bit lonely. And Christmas is one of those times! Sure, we have our little Christmas tree that we decorate. And I have a killer Christmas carol playlist on my phone. But unless we make a supreme effort to seek out Christmas joy and festivities – the holidays can be a bit …. well, quiet. Here are the ways we go about “Making Things Merry” when we are unable to be with family …
A sure-fire way we are able to bring the spirit of Christmas into our rambling road life is by attending church. We just about always find a church to attend no matter what time of year it is because even though we don’t know most of these folks’ names – most of them are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Family – you know? That, in itself, makes us feel less isolated. But especially at Christmas, attending church, singing Christmas hymns, and hearing about the birth of our Lord and Savior certainly makes life on the road less lonely.
TAKE A WALK:
Another thing we do to feel jolly during this time of year is to just get out and walk around! You know, be where the ACTION is! It’s fun to find a downtown area or a park or square where you’re bound to find decorated Christmas trees and plenty of lights. Sometimes you even run into Santa, himself! And while I dreadfully miss my family during the years when we don’t get to be together – there is nothing that cheers my heart more than to see other families enjoying the season together.
MUSIC – FA LA LA:
And have I mentioned music? Whether singing “Noel” with a congregation in church, listening to a choir sing “Oh Holy Night” at a Christmas concert, or dancing around the RV to Henry Connick Jr. crooning “It Must’ve Been Ol’ Santa Claus” – nothing brings the Christmas feeling home, like the sounds of the season! Every memory I have – holiday or NOT – is associated with a particular song. Sort of like a soundtrack of my life – so Christmas music always makes me feel cozy and less alone.
PARTICIPATE IN ACTIVITIES:
The RV parks where we live do their best to make you feel at home, as well. Whether bringing in guest performers to sing carols, providing silly games or props to help add joy, or providing a holiday meal – they always do something to make you feel like part of the family! Just last week we signed up to bring a dish for a Christmas Eve Party, as well as a New Year’s Eve Bash, complete with a live band and dancing the night away until the stroke of midnight when we ring in the New Year!
CREATE NEW TRADITIONS:
And our new holiday tradition – whether alone or with family – is to attend a festival or holiday celebration of some sort. One with plenty of lights, festive food, and of course, music! Over the course of our three Christmases’ on the road we have attended ICE! at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas; Tohono Chul Holiday Nights in Tucson, Arizona; and this year – Night of Lights in St. Augustine, Florida!
ICE! Gaylord Texan Resort / Grapevine, Texas
If you’ve never visited a Gaylord Resort – plan to do so at Christmastime when they are featuring their signature holiday attraction called ICE! This winter wonderland features a different theme every year and is constructed from over two million pounds of clear and colored ice! The year we visited (2016), the theme was Santa Claus is Coming to Town – straight out of my childhood memories. Not only are scenes from the famous holiday classic brought to life in carved ice, the event offers ice slides, snow tubing runs, food, fun, music and more. And they even provide warm parkas (it’s a chilly 9 degrees inside!) – be sure to bring your own scarf and gloves!
Three other Gaylord properties also host ICE! from November through January 1st – be sure to hit one up the next time you are in one of these areas. Or visit them ALL – they each feature a different theme. This year’s 2018 theme line up is as follows:
- Gaylord Texan / Grapevine, TX – Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Gaylord Opryland / Nashville, TN – Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- Gaylord Palms / Kissimmee, FL – A Christmas Story
- Gaylord National / National Harbor – Washington D.C. – A Charlie Brown Christmas
Contact Info: Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center / 1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine, TX 76051 / 817 778-1000 / www.marriott.com/hotel-info/dalgt-gaylord-texan-resort-and-convention-center/lone-star-christmas.
Tohono Chul Holiday Nights / Tucson, Arizona
Tohona Chul (translation = “desert corner”) is an incredible place to visit any time of year. But add a million twinkling lights and this botanical garden + nature preserve + museum becomes a magical desert wonderland. That’s right! Every December this lovely park full of palms, cacti, and succulents of every shape and size transforms itself into Tohono Chul Holiday Nights.
The pathways twinkle with holiday lights while leading you to booths manned by local craftspeople selling unique one-of-a-kind gifts. Line up for a glass of wine or a cup of cocoa. Better yet, come hungry and sample tasty treats like homemade soups and Sonoran dogs (the Southwest version of a hotdog – yum!) from area concessionaires. All of this set to a background of holiday tunes from Tucson choirs and jazz band ensembles. Anyone who thinks you have to dream of a WHITE Christmas has never been to this Sonoran desert region during the holidays!
Contact Info: Tohono Chul Park / 7366 Paseo del Norte, Tucson, AZ 85704 / 520 742-6455 / www.tohonochulpark.org/holiday-nights.
Night of Lights / St. Augustine, Florida
Every year St. Augustine, Florida hosts the famous Night of Lights when three million lights adorn the Plaza and historic downtown area to transform our nation’s oldest city with some old-fashioned holiday magic! It doesn’t get much merrier than a stroll along the narrow streets and down the cobblestone lanes of this “Ancient City”.
Or hop aboard one of the St. Augustine trolleys for a thirty-minute ride through the twinkling old-town district while listening to the likes of Jingle Bell Rock and All I Want for Christmas is You. They even give you special 3-D glasses that make the lights even twinklier! How jolly is that? Passersby wave and shout Merry Christmas as you make your way through the alleyways aboard the trolley before making your way back to the station where you’re greeted with Christmas cookies and hot apple cider.
Contact Info: Night of Lights Trolley Tour / 10 W. Castillo Dr., St. Augustine, FL / 904 829-3800 / www.visitstaugustine.com/event/old-town-trolleys-famous-nights-lights-tour.
So while we might not be able to spend every holiday with our families and loved ones, and we sometimes feel a bit lonely – no matter where we may be – there is always something we can do to get that sweet, cozy feeling. Here’s hoping this holiday season brings you and yours sweet blessings and memories. Merry Christmas from Me and Mr. Jones!
What are some of YOUR favorite Christmas traditions? Have you ever been to any of the Christmas events mentioned in our blog post? We would love to hear about what makes YOUR Christmas special in the comments below!
Check out our Family Travel Scrapbook and some Christmas fun at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri – Click HERE.