It’s no secret I love celebrations! And guess who just had a birthday? Me! It was absolutely perfect! Family called and sang Happy Birthday to me. Friends reached out either by snail mail, social media or live. I was surrounded with love. It was the perfect day and none of it had to do with the traditional material things. I told people, no gifts, but folks want to feel like they have something they can do to show you how they feel about you. Isn’t that the point of gifts in the first place? All of this got me thinking about enjoying holidays while living tiny.
I have found holidays are richer since going tiny. There is no more room in the trailer for stuff! I used to stress out and get caught up in the hype of gift giving, holiday traditions and holiday decorating. I had a love hate affair with the whole process. Since living tiny I have given up the drama and expectations.
Decorating together and sharing traditions tells people we love them. Lights are always festive! Some no longer want holiday cards, I still like to string them up as window decor. A beautiful basket of Easter Lillies on the back bumper, lighting the fire pit, or having a bowl of candy for the park kids coming around on Halloween, or for me, are some of my traditions I kept from my bricks and sticks home. I simply adjusted thoughts on size.
Biodegradable decorations can add a fragrant touch and don’t have to be packed up. I like to use a simple clear jar for any celebrations and put different types of items inside like homemade fudge at Christmas, Colored Eggs at Easter, A fresh bouquet of my favorite flowers for birthdays, or some pretty pine cones in the fall. Finish it off with some ribbon tied into a lovely bow and I start feeling like Martha Stewart! I add my favorite holiday music for a nice ambiance, and once in awhile I do take advantage of my truck storage.
There seems to be an unspoken taboo in trailer living. One does not simply march up to someone’s door and knock. Rather you wait and catch folks outside. So when my neighbors who I didn’t really know came knocking on New Years Eve and I was in the middle of being as grubby as I could in protest of holidays, I was a little surprised. I learned saying yes leads to new and fun experiences. Enjoying margaritas and enchiladas around a fire pit to bring in the New Year was a first for me this year. Thanksgiving I skipped cooking the whole meal in my convection oven. Yes, we do have ovens and all of the conveniences of a normal house. Instead ordering out from Boston Market and hanging out with friends sounded better. It’s about quality time with people, not things.
I had to decide what the holiday meant to me and then go from there. I no longer do something just because that’s what has always been done. I stopped the comparison game with other’s holidays—they will always look amazing on Facebook. I stay away from big shopping days and have movie night, or go for a hike so I don’t over spend adding to a commercialized lifestyle. Yah, yah, movies are commercial, but you get what I mean.
I remind myself, the best things in life aren’t things. People love that you want to be around them. Give your time. What a treat it was to find loved ones honoring simpler ways of celebrating, for the same purpose. I try to communicate how important to me you are, and just what I love about you. Holiday cooking of favorite dishes, and making homemade cards while enjoying holiday beverages, and a movie in the background is fun. I’m glad I kept my festive holiday mugs. Holiday light tours are all over the country. Go solo or with friends in the area or take part in seasonal sports for fun, whether your thing is snow skiing or snowshoeing at New Years, or paddle boarding to the middle of the lake to watch the fireworks for the Fourth of July.
Feeling a little lonely, I figure out who else is and host an ‘orphan’s’ Holiday for them. The name helped me laugh a little at my self and realize I’m not alone. Laughter is always a welcome addition. Go potluck style. Don’t forget about Caroling at Christmas, or you could throw an egg themed party at Easter where you paint eggs, bring egg themed dishes, and watch egg themed movies. Yep, watched “Cool Hand Luke” for Easter one year. Homeless shelters, soup kitchens, donate to a cause, toys for those in need are great ideas. Taking the focus off of me fills me with gratitude.
One favorite tradition from a friend is to travel out of the country on U.S. holidays. Folks in other countries know it is a U.S. holiday, and are intrigued that you are visiting their country, which often results in them rolling out the red carpet for you.
And if I must resort to material gifts, I have found gifting a new experience related to a hobby, can be a hit. Be creative! Go for the Kindle or Audible books rather than hard books that take up space and add weight to the trailer. Don’t underestimate the joy of a gift card from the Airstream Store, or Camping Club Memberships. Of course if we really listen, folks will give us hints of material things they do want. Think tiny and add a receipt.
These are just a few ideas from me. You all are the real experts! Please share your ideas in the comments. Most importantly do things that have meaning to you! How have you taken the holiday focus off of the accumulation of stuff?