I always loved Christmas growing up, and still do. I love time with my family, I love relaxing and having nothing better to do all day than kick back and share great food in the summer heat. It’s just that now as an adult, sometimes I find it hard to look past the excess in what I feel should instead be more of a celebration of what we already have. Tiny Christmas was an attempt to get back to basics and focus on what I love most about this holiday – connection, friendship and gratitude.
For Tiny Christmas, I posted out invites and with each invite went a packet of seeds out to grow. Anyone who has had the joy of nurturing something from seed and reaping the rewards at the end can appreciate the deep satisfaction of growing your own food. The connection with the earth, with the simple and yet incredibly complex processes that take place along the way, the appreciation that comes for something you’ve invested your time and attention in. These elements in all things form the basics of what tiny living is about for me.
Although, sadly, none of the seeds had quite enough time to produce enough food to eat, everyone got creative and brought gifts to share. The meals that were created were not just filled with connection and thought but were delicious and down right beautiful in some cases – Tessa’s tiny house pie was a work of art, filled with home grown treasures. The generosity and engagement that has come from all angles in this project has constantly staggered me. Sometimes all we need is to create a space and some time for our actions to catch up with our values and our beliefs. I think this tiny does just that – not just for me but for so many people who have been involved up until this point.
Earlier in the year, I heard a talk about new year’s resolutions and the benefits of instead practising gratitude for all the things you’ve achieved and experienced in the year gone by. I collected jars from the op shop to make ‘joy jars’ for Christmas – a way to collect memories and moments of joy throughout the year. The jars can then be opened at the end of the year to relive those moments and reflect on all the little things we often forget to savour as the days, then weeks, then months disappear each year. Slow living is so much about enjoying those little moments of bliss and contentedness, the juicy splashes of satisfaction that come from getting back to basics and earning your wins, from having time to connect with nature, friends and family, yourself.
I must admit, in the lead up there were moments where the days had gotten away from me and I came close to panicking a little. Two days before, I still hadn’t organised anything at all for Tiny Christmas since sending the invites out. Originally, I had grand plans for growing my own contribution or at least finding another waste free way to share ethical food – dumpster diving perhaps? Unfortunately, the plans didn’t quite materialise this year. I did end up shopping for some food and came close to falling in a flap and buying a whole bunch of everything we might need, just to make sure everything was right and everyone happy and the fridge and pantry stocked for the apocalypse ready for when everyone arrived! Cos, well that’s how Christmas works, right?
With some helpful grounding from the very people I invited to Tiny Christmas, I thankfully managed to avoid the flap. The day before, I literally had nothing suitable for a lunch with fifteen people. The two on-loan camp chairs and my two old camping mugs I’ve been managing with for the past couple of months weren’t quite going to cut the chaff this time around.
BUT, as I have been lucky enough to discover time and time again, there is always enough stuff in the world and more than enough people willing to share. My parents lent me a table and chairs (and wine glasses and salad bowls and let’s be honest, the list goes on), Sean and Brodie helped dust them off and decorate them with flowers from Mum’s garden. Duncan brought his entire cutlery drawer, Tessa and Jim brought plates and a drinks dispenser, Noel whipped out a garden umbrella when we all started to fry in the sun and everyone brought food and drinks and joy to spare. It was all an incredible, and amazingly stress free, Tiny Christmas Miracle.
We sat, we chatted, we ate, made new friends and reconnected with old ones. It was just time spent together and it’s all that matters in the end.
I know sometimes this gratitude and intention stuff sounds corny, but it’s hard to care about sounding cliche when it’s so true for me. There have been many days that I just can’t wipe the smile off my face lately and this was definitely one of them. So, happy Tiny Christmas and new year to you all! Thank you so much to everyone who helped make it happen, I can’t wait to share it with you all again next year.
For now at least though, I hope you fill your joy jars with love and satisfaction, and all the tiny miracles that surround you. You’re all in my jar. xx