Thanksgiving in Your RV (Home On Wheels)

As RVers make their way to sunny destinations throughout the southern half of the United States to work, play and kick-back until next spring, conversations and planning have already started for how Thanksgiving will be spent!

Many RVers are used to having huge holiday meals, surrounded by extended family and friends for a big sit-down dinner on a large table perfectly decorated for the harvest where thoughtful conversations are encouraged!

Tis’ the season for holiday cards, big turkey dinners, glorious decorations, and campfire gatherings in RV parks scattered throughout the Sunbelt!Click To Tweet

But celebrating Thanksgiving in an RV is a little different…

You have limited space for food prep, display, and cooking serval dishes all at once might not be an option.

In this post I want to share 5 tips and ideas for people who want to prepare a Thanksgiving Feast while living in an RV as well as 7 simple ways you can celebrate without the fuss!

How To Celebrate Thanksgiving in Your RV

Thanksgiving Traditions For Full-time RVers

After moving into an RV, the holiday feast tradition seemed to be out of the question as small spaces, low storage, and distance between family comes into play. But Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday for many Americans for more reasons than I can count in this one blog post. And living in an RV, part-time, full-time or seasonally, doesn’t have to mean missing out on the tender turkey, tree trimming traditions or even the fellowship and full day of small plate pecking we all love!

During this time of the year, many RVers are still working at employers such as Camperforce, where leaving the position to go home and see family is just not an option.

Instead of feeling like your missing out, look to your new family of friendly RVers to help celebrate all that your RV lifestyle provides- new friends, new adventures and new destinations as often as you like!

The traditional Thanksgiving dinner might include a 20lb bird roasting slowly in a double oven stacked with mac-n-cheese and a green bean casserole while a glowing sweet potato pie sits quietly on the counter waiting for its time to meet the heat.

If you find yourself yearning for a full feast and just have to go all out and prepare the whole shebang, then go for it!

Live your best life doing what makes you happy!

How to Prepare a Thanksgiving Feast in Your RV

  1. Buy a small turkey or turkey breast!

    Come on! Let’s be real there’s no way you can fit a huge turkey in you RV oven. Smaller birds will cook much faster and more evenly in our crazy RV ovens, and if you need more meat, well just make two or try an Electric Roaster Oven and save your propane!

  2. Try a grilled turkey!

    Personally I love fried turkey, but have only had it when a courageous neighbor decided they would take charge and get ‘er done! Maybe I’ve watched too much TV, but I’ve got it stuck in my head that frying a turkey is best left to the professionals or at least someone who seems to know what they are doing.

    For that reason, we usually grill our beloved bird! OMG! How can you resist a perfectly seasoned turkey, that’s been grilled to perfection on a charcoal grill or even better a campfire? Maybe try using a tripod grill like the one!

  3. Utilize your gadgets!

    We all have a few kitchen gadgets and hopefully at least a crock pot! Crock pots are one of my favorite RV kitchen tools, because they can cook your sides easily throughout the day and then just keep them warm until it’s time to eat. We bought a triple crock pot as well, which comes in handy for holiday parties, campfire pot lucks and taco night!

    The same for an Instant Pot, but x1000!
    Instant posts are electric pressure cookers that have like 8 other functions. They can sauté, steam, bake, slow cook and so much more! If you have several sides or even meat based dishes to prepare an Instant Pot will be your new best friend!

  4. Make it ahead of time!

    Cooking some of your favorite Thanksgiving sides a few days or even a week ahead of time, will allow you to disperse your time and energy across a larger span of time, alleviating stress!

    Just decide which dishes do best when made in advance and schedule a day to whip them up in oven-safe containers and then freeze them or if possible, just keep them refrigerated.

    Then when it’s time to make your big Thanksgiving meal, just pop them in oven and viola! Thanksgiving dinner prepared with love without the stress!

  5. Buy your dessert!

    Unless you’ve got a secret recipe worth millions, I’d suggest you choose a delicious dessert from your favorite local bakery shop! Not only will this save you time and cleanup in your RV, but you’ll also be infusing some dollars into a local business that specializes in desserts!

    Choose a pie or two, small tarts, cupcakes, cookies or anything you’d like to treat your family and friends with this holiday. The baker will make it with love and lots of sugar and all will be well this Thanksgiving!

Woo hoo! There you have it my top 5 tips for preparing a Thanksgiving meal in your RV kitchen. Good luck my friend- enjoy your feast! You deserve it!!!

And for those who are less than enthusiastic about creating a perpetual mess, cooking whole heaps of food while other sit back and relax, because sometimes you just can’t or don’t want to go through all the hassle of preparing a big meal, especially in a tiny RV kitchen…

I want to provide 7 simple ways you can celebrate Thanksgiving without all the stress!

7 Simple Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving in Your RV, While Living Full-Time

  1. Picnic Feast:

    Plan to celebrate with your campground neighbors at picnic tables pushed together on one large site or in an open space in the grass. Everyone can bring small bits and pieces of decorations for the table. Plan on gather a few extra tables for the food setup and start a sign up sheet to have people bring their best dish to share.

  2. Instant Pot Luck:

    Every RVers needs an Instant Pot! And if all RVers have an Instant Pot, which is likely the case, you should have an Instant Pot luck and put those time-saving multi-function cookers to good use! You can host it inside a clubhouse or outside if the weather is nice, but make sure you have extension cords to plug everything in or plan to bring the pots in at the last moment so the food is hot!

  3. Small & Intimate:

    Just do you! Plan a small meal for you and yours and enjoy a nice day without fuss or stress. For those who would just enjoy a day of relaxing in their favorite chair while reading, playing cards, or watching a good movie, this option is perfect!

  4. Community Dinner:

    Many RV Parks and Campgrounds will host a Thanksgiving meals for their RV guests in a large event space on site. I’ve seen it done many ways, but often than not the campground will provide the turkey and everyone will else will bring a side dish or dessert! We went to a great Thanksgiving Dinner at Verde Valley RV Resort in Cottonwood Arizona.

    There’s always so much food leftover at these events, maybe consider brining these festive take-home containers, so people can take a little to-go!

  5. Dining Out:

    If you’re not at all excited about making a big dinner, why not let someone else handle the cooking this year? Do some research ahead of time and find out which restaurants in your area will be open and plan to enjoy their holiday meal.

  6. Dinner & A Movie:

    Enjoy a simple meal and then head to the movie theater for a salty popcorn treat! Movie theaters are often open on Thanksgiving day and welcome folks with full bellies to hand out in cozy recliner chairs for a new film or special holiday feature!

  7. Order a Meal Kit:

    Lots of grocery stores are now offering a complete meal deal for big holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas! Stop over by the deli and ask about this option, which usually includes the turkey, sides, and dessert pre-cooked and prepared for you a head of time. You just place an order, pick it up the day before and then reheat as needed.

Celebrating the holidays in an RV can still range from big and stressful to low-key and laid back, depending on how you choose to celebrate. If you decide a big Thanksgiving Dinner is still the best way to go, the key is planning ahead and if you decide simple is best, well planning will help you as well.

Deciding what you’ll do and who with is the biggest step.

Once you have this information you can move forward with either planning the whole meal or just the pieces you’ll contribute!

However you choose to celebrate, have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the time to reflect on the past year!