Saturday, December 27, 2014

Savoring a simple, homespun Christmas

My homespun Christmas tree is adorned with paper snowflakes, peacock feathers, sage and dragon boat bling.

Living large in 600 square feet translates to simplicity every day. This is magnified tenfold during Christmas when wrapping paper, ornaments and other stuff can take over a home.

Two of the most important guidelines for living small are: 1) Have a place for everything. 2) If you can't find a place for it, perhaps you don't need it anymore.

In October I donated my Christmas tree stand to Goodwill because I don't have floor space for a tree. Last year I bought an artificial tabletop tree at Goodwill for $5. Downsizing to a tiny artificial tree was a huge concession for me, the farm girl who always had a large, fragrant evergreen at Christmas. But I did what made sense for my stage of life.

I've come to appreciate my tiny tree. Instead of hanging dozens of ornaments, I must choose carefully. Last year, my daughter and I made paper snowflakes and tied them onto our miniature tree with ivory ribbon. This year I reused those snowflakes. At the top of tree, I tied a peacock feather and a handful of fragrant sage from a trip to Eastern Oregon. I also tied my dragon boat medal earned in my paddling adventures with the Mighty Women. I added simple ornaments my kids made and an old photo of my daughter and me.

Beneath the tree I've tucked treasures from my adventures: moss and mountain goat wool from a backpacking trip, a chunk of granite from a forage into the woods, a burl bowl Kirby helped me make, a large seed pod and a remnant of robin's egg I gathered on a walk in the woods.

In my old life, I had space to set up a wrapping station during Christmas. In my new life, my diminutive dining table, once used for cutting fish on a boat, doubles as my gift wrapping center. During a move, I donated a mountain of wrapping paper, bows and ribbons and kept only what could be stored in a small box in my closet. Now that I'm the parent of adult children and the child of aging parents, I don't buy many gifts.

Christmas is over. I've wrapped my last gifts and stashed my wrapping supplies. But I will keep my tree up into the new year. The moss, mountain goat wool and feathers collected in the past year are a reminder that even though our holiday celebrations--and our lives--may change through the years, the next adventure is just around the bend in the river.

Paddles up! Wishing you the time to savor what's really important in life in 2015.

At the top of my tree, I tied a peacock feather and sage from Eastern Oregon. And I added dragon boat bling from my Mighty Women adventures.