Christmas in a Camper: How Are We Doing It?

camper christmas

Several of you have asked how I will manage Christmas while living and traveling full-time in a 5th wheel with a family of seven. True, it has been a challenge to bake, decorate, wrap (and hide!) presents in a home that is under 500 square feet.  But in the end, all it really took was a change in thinking.

With space at a premium, we are forced to be very cautious with what we buy, asking ourselves if we absolutely love it, and whether it will be regularly used. That means everything we own, we love!  There is no clutter or excess.  So our gifting had to reflect our new values.  After creating a small per-child budget, we set to work looking for gifts that would get the most use, and fit in our tiny space.  Here’s what we came up with.

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We have one child on the autism spectrum who has very specific preferences. In a way, that made our shopping easier. He loves balls, lights, items to stack/organize and anything related to the movie Frozen.

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I have another boy who is very musical. He taught himself to play the electric guitar this year, and now would like to learn piano. This one has some bells and whistles, but still affordable at $49.95. Also highly rated – that was important. Best of all, it will slide under the sofa when he’s not using it! He is also getting an instructional DVD set with sheet music.

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My daughter is a teen. She wanted a jewelry organizer and some handmade jewelry from Etsy. I found this awesome jewelry box called Stackers for $19.99. It can be used alone as shown, or you can add additional boxes to create a large organizing system!

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I have yet another son who is a fabulous artist, and spend time every day drawing. For him, I purchased some high quality art supplies at Michael’s (with a coupon!) and these additional items:

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Our family gift to ourselves was this set of books that I can hardly wait to tear into. It is The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson, and it comes very highly recommended. We love Christian Fiction, so we will be reading these books aloud as a family throughout 2015.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, our oldest son is a junior in college, and he asked for a gift card to purchase a new bike when he returns after Christmas break.

Now the big question many of you have about our Christmas, aside from how we are doing it, is whether or not I am able to save money on gifts. The answer is a resounding YES! I didn’t save money in the way you might expect…that is, by getting 50% off all of my gifts. Instead I saved by being extremely focused in my giving, so that every single gift was important and valuable to the recipient. Some of the things were on sale, and some were (gulp) full price. But we don’t have room in our lives for things we only like a little bit. We have to love it, or leave it!

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Presently we are enjoying living in sunny San Diego, California where we will stay at least until March. You can read about our free and frugal adventures in the gorgeous city over on our travel blog. Or follow along on Instagram. In case you hadn’t heard, we are living and traveling on a budget of $3000 – $4000 per month!  Not bad for a family of seven!

We are thoroughly loving life on the road, and are already thinking this trip might last longer that one year! Living in a small space has done some amazing things to our family. We are so much closer and happier! We talk more, and there is a spirit of cooperation and camaraderie that didn’t exist before.  Our marriage is growing stronger, and my husband is embracing his role as a spiritual leader of our home in bigger ways than ever before.  I’d be lying if I said there weren’t any bumps in the road, but overall we are just feeling so grateful and blessed to be doing what we’re doing.  Thanks to all my loyal blog readers – your visits increase my ad revenue and help to fund this trip! I pray you all have a peaceful and blessed holiday. ;)

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100 Days of Christmas – Day 94

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My kids are always asking for S’mores, so I love when I can find a unique spin on them. Sara over at Mom Endeavors recommends a little peppermint to give them a holiday touch. I think I need to give these a try!

Friday Pizza Codes

pizza codes

Here are the latest codes for national chains. Some codes are regional, so be sure to test before placing your order.

  • Domino’s two medium 2-topping pizzas for $5.99 each with code 9193.
  • Pizza Hut Most locations are offering two medium pizzas with 4 toppings for $6.99 each or a large 2-topping for $7.99. Check HERE to see if it is available in your area. Code: TEOMED3T6 works for 1 medium 3-topping for $6.
  • Papa John’s – Code: ANY11 gives you any large with up to 5 toppings for $11.  Or get a FREE pizza when you buy $25 in gift cards.

Restaurant Coupon Round-Up

restaurant deals (2)

Coupons at the Mall

mall holiday

Free Printable of the Day

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For the cheese fans in your life. Gift the gift of a homemade cheese log with this free printable gift tag from Eighteen25. They provide the recipe and packaging ideas too!

Eddie Bauer Mini Lantern $10 Shipped (from $20)

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Eddie Bauer is offering free shipping on any size order today when you use code: MERRY at checkout. Example of savings: Pop-Up Light is 50% off and priced $10 shipped (from $20). It has 4.5 out of 5 star reviews from over 100 customers.

Description:
It’s a flashlight, a camp lantern, and an emergency backup light all in one compact, lightweight package. Putting out an impressive 80 lumens, the flashlight converts easily to a lantern simply by unscrewing the top and sliding the tube out of the aluminum casing. Great addition to your basic kit for hikes, overnight treks, and home emergencies.

American Eagle Free Shipping + 40% Off Code

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Use code: HOLIDAZE to get 40% off sitewide + free shipping from American Eagle. Example of savings: Heritage Thermal drops to $14.99 shipped (from $29.95).