Holidays Aboard

Celebrating the Christmas season aboard offers unique challenges—and opportunities.

Lyra tree

I love all five feet of this sweet PVC tree. Not bad for the saloon on a 44-foot boat!Jen Brett

Even after four years of living aboard Lyra, I'm still getting used to holidays aboard—Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the mother-of-all-holidays, Christmas. And each year, fortunately, I'm getting a little better at it, but I'm still a long way from the nautical Martha Stewart that I'd like to be. Trying to create fun and meaningful traditions for the kids and decorating accordingly is challenging for me since we're so spread out from family members, and the confines of the boat don't offer much storage for decorations and the like (fortunately, we have a storage unit. Unfortunately, one of the two holiday boxes is buried underneath an anchor, several other boxes, several sails…).

Because of this, and the fact that we tend to travel over Christmas to see our parents, I've never bothered with putting up a Christmas tree aboard. Maybe I've also held on to the mistaken belief that trees don't fit in saloons.

But this year's different. Until just before Christmas, Green will be on a transatlantic boat delivery (and we still haven't decided if we're driving south to see family when he gets back), leaving me to get ready for the holidays with the girls. My seven-year-old daughter is really into Christmas this year, and I felt that we needed our own tree to help us get into the spirit a little bit. So yesterday, I did it- I got a tree for Lyra. The girls and I listened to Christmas tunes and decorated the tree, and they absolutely love it. It's my first fake tree (no needles; no tree water to slop out when we are rocked by a wake), and it's perfect for the boat. Out came the ornaments that I haven't seen since our land life (they were in the box that was fortunately not buried), and I feel as if we've come full circle. Our dock at the marina, which has all liveaboards on it, has even taken on a festive look.

While I still haven't done any Christmas shopping yet (hopefully this weekend!), and the cards still need to go out, just having the tree has done wonders for our holiday spirit. Tonight's goal? Cookies :)

Have you spent the Christmas season aboard? Any tips?