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by Ron
Holidays on the Road

During our fourteen years of full-timing there were only four times that we spent Christmas with family members and three of those times it was with one child's family and not a large family gathering. This year we will fly back to Michigan for eight days in order to attend a  family Christmas and to see two new grandchildren, but we will be back at our home in Gold Canyon by the 21st of December so once again we will be by ourselves on Christmas. I mention this to point out that its not just full-timers who are not back with family during the holidays. Today families are often separated by long distances because of relocation due to work or the fact that many seniors retire to the sun belt. Most of our children have their own large families and it is too costly and time consuming for them to travel for a short holiday visit. 

Most RV parks and senior communities like ours have recognized that many of their members would enjoy a Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner together and they organize wonderful meals and holiday programs in the large gathering places that most complexes have. Its a great time for neighbors to get together. In our subdivision a Christmas choral concert, Christmas house tours, individual organization Christmas parties and coffees all add to the holiday festivities. Even though we don't have snow in the yard the Christmas lights are up and Santa will probably come over the desert in a four wheeler.

Many of us belong to or attend local churches and we will enjoy special services there. Its also a good time to participate with local organizations in helping others who are not as fortunate as we are. Many RVers can be found helping to serve the homeless at an urban mission. At Valle del Oro RV park in Mesa  they have a Christmas tree in the lobby with paper cut outs (bells or stars) listing the names of  needy children and their sizes. We had a ball one year shopping for two little ones and of course we added a several toys along with some nice clothes. 

There sure is a lot of holiday activity in the second grade class where I volunteer two days a week.  They are making Christmas cards for their parents and pictures to hang up in the room. The pictures are bright and cheerful, but nothing like the twinkle in their eyes as they proudly show me their latest creation. I can't help my grandchildren with their projects but I can still have fun with happy children. I know that my grandchildren are receiving a lot of love and attention from their parents and that isn't always the case with the little ones that I am working with. Its a joy for me to be involved. 

The holiday spirit is alive and well with those of us far away from families and full-timers are no exception. Since they are resourceful and fun people to be with, they have Christmas every day. 

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