Our Christmas this year was very different from previous years….we’re on a boat away from family and friends in a warm tropical location. We wanted to make sure to carry traditions that we will continue year after year, despite our location. When we downsized onto the boat, I quite literally got rid of just about everything…..we have a couple boxes stored at my dad’s house. So, when it came time to decorate the boat for Christmas, we made decorations out of things we had around the boat. Everything we have used to decorate our boat has been made by us which makes it feel special in our small little home. The stockings are made from paper and twine, the snowmen and elves from toilet paper rolls, the Christmas tree from drift wood, the ornaments from pasta noodles, popsicle sticks, and shells, the candy canes from pipe cleaners, and many more paper crafts also line the walls of the boat. We broke out the glitter and it now covers everything on the boat….it may be a while before it’s gone for good.
Our elf, Carl, managed to make it on the boat, so he surprised us each morning in a new hiding spot and reported to Santa each night to update him on the location of the boat as it moved down the coast of Florida. The week started with a visit from Grampa and Gramma and it was very special to have some family time for the holidays. We spent a day at Peanut Island with them and visited the South Florida Aquarium and Science Museum, went to the light show in downtown West Palm, swam in the hotel pool, decorated cookies, and rode the trolley around town. We finally busted out our GoPro camera again and got a little video of our day to Peanut Island.
After the grandparents headed back to South Carolina, we were all a little blue and unsure of what exactly we would be doing for Christmas. Luckily, we were able to meet up with two other cruising families who were anchored just north of us on the waterway. We weighed anchor on Christmas Eve and headed to the other anchorage closer to the sailing families.
Santa visited our boat, hung up some extra lights, ate the cookies we made that day, and left a few presents. Each girl got the gift they had asked for…..a train set and baby doll. They were so excited when the woke up…..this was the first time they were old enough to really “understand” Christmas. The reindeer ate the carrots we left on the deck and Santa took the letters they wrote to him.
We spent Christmas on the beach enjoying the company of new friends, exchanging stories, and hearing lots of children’s laughter. There were 7 kids in all between the ages of 8 months and 9 years old. It was so refreshing to meet other families living a similar lifestyle as us, but our current plans will be taking us all on different routes……Abacos, Cuba, and the Keys.
While this was definitely not our typical Christmas, nothing is really typical anymore. We missed our family and friends, but it felt good to create some new traditions and memories with our family of four. All our Christmas decorations are now packed into a small box and stored away for next year. Our sights are set on a couple of off-shore passages with the destination being Boot Key Harbor in Marathon, Fl. We hope this will be a temporary home for a month or more until we decide our next destination.