Last Update: 12/22/2017

3 Ways to Survive a Vanlife Christmas

VW campervan covered in christmas lights
Well, what the fuck makes Christmas and all those other end-of-year holidays so goddamn merry anyway? Sometimes they ain’t. I know, I been there. For anyone, holidays can be stressful. If you live alone in a van down by the river? Can be that much worse.

But here’s Vanholio’s constructive ideas to get your head outta your ass. Try happy out. You’ll like it!

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1. Do Something Fun by Yourself, for Yourself

No point sitting around like the Grinch, stewin’ in your own juices. Make merry on your lonesome.

Some years back, Vanholio got divorced. It was rough. Naturally.

First Father’s Day alone, away from the kids, the blackness was overtakin’ me. The swamp looked deep and cool, easy to just sink on into.

So I got off my ass and went for a loooong hike up a mountain ridge. Natural beauty, tons of exercise, the knowledge that I was a free man in nature. Did me good. Picked me right the hell up. Got me through the day. I even had some fun.

What would you like to do? Something you don’t normally get to. Go to a favorite place? Stay in a fancy hotel? Play a shit ton of video games? Give yourself that special present.

2. Elbow Your Way to the Table

Now, Vanholio’s normally a bit shy. He don’t just make friends everywhere. That’s by choice

But couple Thanksgivings ago, he was in Florida. I’ve got some friends in Florida, but they already had plans to be guests elsewhere.

It was forward of me, but I asked my friends if they could wangle an invitation to Thanksgiving where they was going. They agreed. They got it. I went.

Turns out the hostess had been a career Army nurse and totally got the need to find “family” wherever you can on the road. Never felt more welcome. Lovely people. One of my best Thanksgivings ever.

If you’re not near people to ask, go near people. Stay at an RV park. Bet most of them got something going on. Hell, I bet Slab City’s got a heck of a party planned!

3. Gather Your Own Posse

Don’t you think other vandwellers might be in the same spot? That they don’t got people nearby (or at all)?

Start a gathering! Don’t need anything fancy. A location and a potluck will do. Cheap RV Living folks are gatherin' early in and around Quartzite, AZ for the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous. Get into the Cheap RV Living Forum to see what's up. If you can’t hook up with them, do what they’re doing where you are! Ain’t hard.

Talk to folks on the other forums, too: /r/vandwellers, Squat the Planet, and Vandog Traveller. Plenty of van folk in the same position you are.

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  1. Christmas alone (which I've done for decades) is far more enjoyable for me than having to deal with the social expectations of it all. This year I happen to be with a small group that's doing a pot luck dinner. I guess I can suffer through it. ;)

    1. The only two holidays I give a damn about being with F&F and traditions are Christmas and Thanksgiving. There's a little mush in me for those two.

    2. The pot luck got cancelled because there was a big argument and near fist fight between the host and one of the guests (neither of which was me). Yay, Christmas. ;)

    3. I probably shouldn't laugh. But I am. :-O