Simply Christmas

There are those who come to the tiny table for a simplified life downsized from McMansionville. I am not the kind to criticize anyone for their choices and I am not here to proselytize carbon footprints or anything else. There is a BIG table in this Tiny House. I think if you promote tiny, everyone should be welcome to pull up a chair and put in their two cents. Some say the science is there, regarding various issues as global warming, and some do not, but for me, I come to the TINY life because it is pretty much all the life I have ever known, (minus a few years in the 80s). It is a life of common sense.

This Tiny House movement reminds me of Christmas, in a way. When I was a little girl, my brother and I waited up on Christmas Eve, too excited to sleep. And small wonder, in the 70s everyone gave the kiddos such a haul of goodies, it was like a small department store in the living room when we awoke at the crack of dawn and convinced our parents it was time to go look. This haul usually had bikes and toys and encyclopedia sets, and drums, and guitars, and tvs, and clothes, and candy and if all that was not enough, somewhere would be a small fortune in actual CASH, just in case you did not get what you really WANTED! Now, to be fair, my parents did not have a lot of money, and this Christmas haul was the one time of year that we actually got anything new. Sort of like all of your year’s worth of clothing, shoes and toys all rolled into one. There was another thing that was part good and part bad- my parents would mete out Christmas gifts in exact change. They not only made sure that we both got stuff worth the same amount, then they would even TELL us that it was this or that! OK, they were trying to be fair, but you can actually be so fair, that you are not fair! Like as in, they buy you something lame that you hate just to be the same cash value of the other.

Enough of my petty complaints- I love my parents and they were as good to us as they could be under frequently trying circumstances. I am grateful for every gift I ever opened. And that leads me to the Christmas-Tiny connection. Because you see I had some sense of Christmas ENTITLEMENT, like I and everyone else were OWED a lucrative Christmas haul.

Fast forward years later as I struggled alone with my daughter in a Tiny Cabin in the mountains. I figure the cabin was in the 400-450 sq. ft range. Absolutely HUGE by today’s Tiny standards where under 200 sq ft is truly tiny. I did not even really USE all that space, the only bedroom, maybe 8×8, I hardly slept in for most of the years we were there. We spent most of our time in the “great room,” a main living area bound on one side by a rustic huge, (and inefficient), fireplace. The ceiling had giant tree trunks as rafters exposed and open, and it must have been about 16x 10 or maybe 12. The “dining room,” was about 5’x 8′ or less and then the kitchen was the same width and about 8-10 ft long. These two opened up from the living area shotgun style, and the entire thing was in the shape of the letter “U” with the bath and bedroom on one side of the U and the kitchen/ dining on the other. The house begged for a loft but alas, that was never possible.

The days were spent gardening and chicken-ing, and goat milking, and just living in our little triangle shaped land piece of heaven. If you stepped out onto the porch that ran down the length of the bedroom side of the U, you could see the Blue Ridge mountains. If you looked down, you could see the bottom of the holler that I lived across on the side of the mountain of, a road ran through the middle. On the front porch of the tire store sitting on the other side of the road, you could hear conversations uttered in whispers, for that is the way sound travels in a “holler”- amazingly well. And if you looked at the chinking between the logs in the walls of the cabin, you could see outside. When the wind blew, you could see the curtains stand out at the windows. And now you cannot see any of this, because my cabin is a right hand turn lane in approach to the Blue Ridge parkway…

My favorite gift I have ever given anyone was one of the last years in our very cold little mountain dwelling. No money to give the lavish Christmas time gifts of my childhood, I wanted my daughter to have something nice. With a hand drill, (the old kind- no electricity needed), I drilled holes into branches I collected and made the most adorable log cabin dollhouse you ever saw. It had lights, carpet, furniture, people and  Victorian wallpaper. All of these were donated end pieces collected from local craft stores and saved from certain dumpster futures. My Christmas tree was one I cut off of my own land, and the decorations were all hand made from blown eggshells and antique buttons. Simply gorgeous and could have been sold for many pennies. To have few resources is not to be poor. I believe you can have little and have the very best. That dollhouse was a hit and it was even passed along to others after my daughter grew out of it.

I still do not go all out in giving lavish gifts. Sure I love to give and when the money is there I give all I can. But whether big or small, the thing is to give gifts that mean something to the recipient. Over the years I have become the most annoying type of Christmas celebrant. I am used to no presents. Most monies I might receive have been spent on electric bills or other utilities. We almost never sit down to dinner for Christmas turkey or ham. We never have presents under the tree. But the same glee as when I was young- a sense of delight and wonder still fills me every year. Christmas is in my blood and love it and love to be good to others. Whether my lot is good or not, my Christmas is never ruined, because what does stuff and circumstances have to do with Christmas anyway?

It is just simply, Christmas….

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