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How Simple Living Helped this Tiny House Family Truly Enjoy the Holidays

This is the third installment in my series, “How We Created a Delightful Christmas in our Tiny House.” See my first and second posts for the first five ideas.

The holidays sneak up and fly by when we keep a frenzied pace of checking off lists and rushing around for the big day. Growing up, I remember my Grandma, Mom and Aunts saying things like, “I’m done. Now I can enjoy.” Christmas was a chore until the work of shopping was done.

Simplifying our lives has helped us to take a different approach. Like our daughter, Ella, said, “I like the suspense and preparing for Christmas. The actual opening and tearing up of presents is sort of a letdown.” Savoring every part of the process with rituals and traditions, rather than rushing through, helps us to feel content once we are finished tearing up paper on Christmas morning.

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Create Your Own Rituals and Traditions From Faith, Friends, and Your Own Heart As You Slow Down

Here are a few of ours:

  • Decorate for the birds – Cover pine cones in peanut butter, then roll them in birdseed. Gift the birds by hanging the pine cones on a tree you can see from your house. String popcorn for your bird tree, and make bird cookies. Use a simple flour, butter and water dough, cut into shapes with holiday cookie cutters, then press birdseed into them. Use a straw to cut holes for hanging before baking. Enjoy watching the birds flutter around their tree.
  • Go searching for mistletoe – I got this idea from a friend who drives the Blue Ridge Parkway every year with his family in search of mistletoe. Last year, he told me a story about spotting mistletoe in the yard of an old farmstead. He could barely tell the story of knocking on the door without laughing. An old farmer and his wife looked at them sideways, but eventually loosened up and even helped them get the mistletoe down by offering a ladder. I can’t wait to try this one. These are the moments that become etched in the story of our lives.
  • Play Christmas music – Last year, Pandora’s James Brown (Holiday) Radio rocked our tiny house. We love the ritual of singing the same songs every year. Now that Archer has learned to play the guitar, we are enjoying his concerts of our favorite Christmas tunes.
  • Have as many campfires as possible – with our deck-side fire pit, we create the feel of a fireplace. I love looking out the window and watching the flames dance. It creates a space for us to continue enjoying the outdoors even in cold weather. There’s something inspiring about a fire on the darkest days of the year. It reminds us that light and warmth will return.
  • Light a candle every night to remind ourselves that even in the darkest part of the year, our inner light burns bright.

What traditions add joy to your holiday season?

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Hari Berzins

Contributor and Tiny Home Owner at Tiny House Family
Hari Berzins lives with her husband, Karl, and their two kids, Ella and Archer, in a cozy 8’ x 21’ tiny house which they designed and built. They are currently building a bigger tiny house as part of their plan to build a mortgage-free micro-homestead on their three acres in Southwestern Virginia. Follow their journey at tinyhousefamily.com.
{ 7 comments… add one }
  • deborah
    November 21, 2012, 11:30 am

    I think I read somewhere that they were building a larger “small” home or adding to this one because their children are getting bigger and they need more space.

    • November 21, 2012, 2:31 pm

      You’re right Deborah, I actually got to talk with Hari recently for an interview I did with her and she told me about it. I’ll share the interview on here soon.

  • rubiebegonia
    November 21, 2012, 12:25 pm

    What’s the secret to happiness in a tiny house?
    Site it in an area with good weather year around so you can escape its confines as much as possible.
    Building small so it’s portable makes sense but sizing a building purposely small that won’t be moved is an error in efficiency since wall and roof structures expanded only marginally will produce large gains in floor area.

  • deborah
    November 22, 2012, 9:21 am

    Looking forward to the interview! 😉

  • sesameB
    December 7, 2012, 3:54 pm

    Excellent. Thanks for sharing. I loved reading this!!! Be well and safe, Hari.

  • sesameB
    December 7, 2012, 3:56 pm

    What traditions add joy to your holiday season?
    I visit local centenarians, who have no family members here in the state of Arkansas.

  • Cahow
    December 23, 2014, 4:21 pm

    If the photos show what Christmas looks like where THEY live, it’s gotta be Down South. Up North, you’d have on snowshoes and look like Randy Parker, Ralphie’s younger brother, in A Christmas Story.

    I sure would love an update on their new home; this article is 2 years old. Nice looking family.

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