This post may contain affiliate links.
Ashley Mann spent three years living full time in a 38-foot, 5th-wheel RV with her husband Josiah and their cat, Kitty. Her favorite thing about RV life is the challenge of finding the perfect way to organize a space, and she loves seeing all the creative and clever ways people come up with to customize their RVs.
This blog post is part of a holiday RV blog post series called “Christmas in the Camper.” Go here to find the other articles in this series!
Some people really love winter and cold weather, but I am not one of those people. Maybe it's because I grew up in Missouri where we got one or two big snows each year and the rest of the season was just damp and gray and cold with dark evenings, and not in Colorado or some place where winter means skiing and snowboarding, but I often find feelings of gloominess creeping up on me during the winter – especially after Christmas and New Year's and my birthday (January 2nd) are all over.
That is exactly why, since I am a grown-up and can do whatever I want, I leave up my Christmas decorations throughout all of January and February. Since we have to stay in the Midwest for work right now and I can't spend winter parked next to a warm, sunny beach, having cheerful lights and candles and pretty things that celebrate winter helps me to feel more cheerful during the coldest, darkest time of the year, and more appreciative of the season as a needed time of rest and contemplation.
Admittedly it takes away some of the “specialness” of Christmas to have Santa or Nativity decor sitting around for months, so I like to decorate for the holiday season with things that are, or can be transitioned to, more of a “winter” theme rather than specific to Christmas.
I thought I would share some of my Christmas/winter decor from my RV, since tiny living has forced me to be more creative in my use of space, in case some of these ideas might inspire others who don't have much room for storing seasonal decorative items or who also want to decorate in a way that looks nice all winter.
Ribbon as decor
I really like using ribbon as holiday decor, because it doesn't take up much space and allows a single item to be used year round by just changing the ribbon to match the season. I wove some cheery plaid ribbon through this metal wall basket I have hanging on the wall above my espresso machine, and I like how it looks with ribbon so much better that I definitely plan on getting some other kind of ribbon to replace it with when spring arrives. Or I may use fabric instead.
I love to incorporate nature into my decor because it helps me appreciate the beauty specific to that season. To make this garland, I dipped some pine cones in white acrylic paint and tied them to a length of red ribbon cord. Then I added some LED “fairy lights” that look pretty in the evening when the lights are low.
I will probably keep this to reuse next year, but if space was a concern it would be easy to remove and toss the pine cones (or perhaps burn them in a campfire – especially if they were the cinnamon scented ones!) and replace them next year.
Other items from nature that could be strung on a piece of ribbon, yarn, or twine to make a garland include evergreen sprigs, nuts (you might need a power drill for those), cinnamon sticks, dried orange and apple slices, dried eucalyptus or bay leaves, and the old standby, dried cranberries.
Lamp shade cover
Last summer I came up with the idea of making a removable cover for the shade of my wall sconce as a way to add a little bit of color to my RV decor (I have a hard time forcing myself not to choose all neutral colors). In addition to a geometric print cover, I also made this one out of a Nordic snowflake print. You can read about how I made it here.
Throw pillow covers
Throw pillows are one of my favorite ways to decorate because the covers can be easily changed for a new look and seasonal pillow covers don't take up much room to store. For Christmas this year I decided to go with a soft red pillow cover, a red and white plaid one, and a white one made from cable knit sweater fabric.
I decided to make the cable knit pillow cover myself out of a secondhand sweater. I made it as an “envelope” style cover, meaning on one side the fabric overlaps to allow the pillow to be inserted without requiring a zipper or buttons:
Because the sweater I used ended up being rather short, I wasn't able to overlap the fabric as much as I would have liked, and as a result, the cover often kind of gapes open after use, so I'm planning to add some Velcro to help it stay closed. I'm not the first person to come up with this technique, and others have done a great job of explaining how to do it; if you know how to sew and are interested in making your own, this video does a pretty good job of explaining the basic idea.
I decided to try something new this year and use a snowflake stencil and aerosol spray snow to create snowflakes on this window. I was a bit hesitant at first because I had just recently finished making a storm window out of plexiglass and the window was all clean and clear so I hated to spray something on it, and I thought about using paper snowflakes or vinyl decals instead, but after testing it I found that the spray snow washes off pretty easily with a damp rag or paper towel (which is good because this was kind of a messy project). I like how it turned out.
The silhouettes look nice when I draw the curtains to keep the sun from glaring on my laptop screen. 🙂
Since taking the photo above, I replaced the elephants on my corner tension shower shelf with a little camper ornament I couldn't resist at Target and an LED flameless candle. The candle is special to me because my sister-in-law, who is studying graphic design, designed the image for it, and I had it printed on a candle.
I also made this ornament the same way, but decided it made a good ceiling fan pull.
And, I made this mug, even though I did NOT need another mug, lol!
The top of a slideout makes the perfect place for hanging an evergreen garland. One of these days I may spring for some fresh cut greenery, but for now I am content with this kind. It makes a great place to hang Christmas ornaments, and then after Christmas I will remove the ornaments and enjoy the lights all winter.
I had another length of lighted greenery, but the lights stopped working, so I removed them and used it to make this wreath for the front door by wrapping around a bent coat hanger and adding some battery powered fairy lights and the rest of my plaid ribbon.
Last of all, I have a little tabletop Christmas tree. While I did leave it set up all winter last year, this year I am planning to take it down after Christmas. I actually haven't fetched it from its storage spot in the back of my closet yet; I am planning to wait until mid-December to set it up. This is a photo of it from last year:
Altogether my Christmas/winter decorations don't take up very much space, but they help me feel festive during the winter months! 🙂
Do you have a space-saving holiday decor idea? Leave a comment to share it!
For more inspiration…