holidays in the desert

Holidays in the desert will make you forget snowmen and reindeer.

In the Southwestern United States, RVers visiting during the Holidays will experience special customs, many with cultural links to our south-of-the-border neighbors. These festivities are quite different than the snow and jingle bells experience in the more northern states.

For instance, visitors shouldn’t miss the lighting of luminarias — sacks about a third full of sand with candles nestled in the middle. They are lit on Christmas Eve and placed along paths to represent “lighting the way.” They can provide a nice entrance to your RV door.

holidays in the desert

A belly-friendly custom is the making — and eating — of tamales, usually a group project. They are filled with corn meal, and vegetables, meats or fruit, then wrapped in corn husks and baked. 

Tumbleweeds Highlight Holidays in the Desert

As RVers have discovered, it is great fun to capture a tumbleweed scurrying by and transforming the plant into a less-than-traditional “Christmas tree.” This can be decorated with desert discoveries like juniper berries and sprigs of creosote bush (ahh, the aroma), along with shapes cut out of colorful art paper. Bright ribbons and tiny LED lights complete the picture. 

Considering the differences between the desert and the white Christmases of colder climes, David Fitzsimmons of Arizona Star points out, “Over the dry riverbed and through no woods — and flying over a pothole or two — to grandmother’s hacienda many of us will go, while others will wander off into the desert to find God in a canyon trail.

“And here in the desert silence, where one can find solitude, many will pause to listen and hear the ancient admonitions in spite of the clatter of commerce: Clothe the naked, forgive the trespasser, feed the hungry and love your enemies, words that sprang from the desert of olives and figs, not the pagan woodlands of fruitcakes and holly, and most assuredly not the cartoon world of dancing snowmen and flying reindeer.”

Check out the many Southwest RV parks that put you right in the action.

But wherever in the desert you spend the Holidays, by blending tradition and creativity, you can make your Christmas a memorable one. Happy Holidays to all!

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