Expat couple spends Christmas in a van in Portugal- ‘difficult to get in Christmas spirit’

Lisa Faulkner shares her tips for Christmas dinner

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Living in a van is a lifestyle choice many dream about, and Aart and Eva have made the dream a reality. Selling their house, quitting their jobs and now living in a van with their dog, the couple swapped a traditional life for the van lifestyle.

The couple spent their first Christmas in their van this year, and they spoke to Express.co.uk just before the festivities.

They said: “This will be our first Christmas in a van and it will be very different to what we are used to.

“It’ll only be the two of us. We usually visit our families and have big dinner parties. Eva usually prepares traditional Hungarian food and bakes multiple cakes.

“In our little kitchen it’s difficult to prepare a big dinner as we don’t have the kitchenware to do that. We will have a Christmas diner but not as extensive as we are used to.”

The lack of family and big dinner was not the only difference this year.

Living in a van and travelling full time meant the couple had swapped the cold of the Netherlands and Hungary for Portugal.

They said: “We are in Portugal right now and it is not cold at all.

“A couple of days ago, we found a sheltered hidden bay and went for a swim. So we can’t complain.”

While the sun and the sea make for a dream holiday, it was hard for the couple to get into the Christmas spirit.

They explained: “We don’t have the Christmas feeling yet, maybe that is because of the climate.

“We are used to grey cold winters and now we are in a warm country with a mild winter.”

But they found ways to get in the mood and “are watching Christmas movies and listening to Christmas songs”.

Living in a van did not mean the couple forgot about Christmas decorations.

They said: “We love Christmas and we love decorations. But we have to make choices about what to buy as not everything fits in the small space.”

They still managed to decorate for Christmas, and even bought a tree.

“We bought a little tree which we will plant outside after Christmas.

“We’ve decorated it with chocolate balls we’ll eat after Christmas and used fairy lights we already had.

“We bought handmade stockings and wooden decorations at a Christmas market, and we’re planning on storing these for next year.”

And that wasn’t all, as Aart and Eva also had “some garlands with lights and candy canes” to make sure their van felt Christmassy.

The couple behind Happy Van Tour said they weren’t sure yet where they would end up on Christmas day.

“But as long as we are together, we will have a great Christmas time, no matter how and where we celebrate it.”

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