Christmas Day in the Van

Big Family Celebrations have always been important to us so the idea of being away from home for Festive season was really tricky.

We soon learned that Celebrations on the road can be really fun though, meeting new people, swapping traditions and trying out new ideas.

For our first Christmas in the van we spent it on a beach in Portugal as a family. Cooked a simple meal in the van, messaged friends and family in the UK and swapped simple gifts.

We arrived at the coast in Ericeira Portugal afterΒ travelling for 12 hours from Valencia, Spain on Christmas Eve to get just far enough south for some sunshine.

Treated ourselves to a night in the campsite so we could wake up and have showers and hot water!

Waking uo early, we enjoyed a really lazy family morning tucked up in bed with the children opening their presents…

Explored old town and walked down to the beach with our new bucket & spade, bubbles and fairy wings.

We were so lucky to have the whole beach to ourselves apart from a handful of local surfers.

Such fun being outdoors in nature on Christmas day, we splashed in the rock pools, built sand castles, collected pebbles and jumped the waves…

Warm enough to be out on the beach in t-shirts, jeans and flip flops.

Felt like such a luxury after being stuck in the cold in the UK for so many months.

Played on the beach all morning, blowing bubbles into the waves and running around like crazy people.

Christmas lunch was a simple risotto.

We had arrived so late the night before there was no chance to stock up on any special food. Luckily we found a stashed bottle of wine under the bed!

The children were soooo excited to play with all their new things, particularly eager to take their new skateboard to the campsite playground after food.


We soon discovered that a pizza place opened up in the evening, so we ordered two huge extra molten cheesy pizzas from the campsite takeaway for our dinner and took the opportunity to curl up with our bottle of red!

At first we were worried about being so unprepared for the big day. However there was a real beauty in appreciating the simple things… outdoors, nature, warm food, new experiences and time well spent together.

It was refreshing to not be stressing about all the little festive details and spending hours cooking or washing up in the kitchen. We missed out on any potential drunken arguments with relatives, having to drive round to lots of people’s houses and we didn’t put ourselves into debt.

Christmas in the Van felt cost effective, simple and meaningful. It allowed us to relax as a family, release some of our rigid expectations around the big holidays and be content with the abundance that we were finding all around us.