a pared down Christmas

Here we sit, on the other side of Christmas; in the soft lull between the old and new year.

Each year finds us celebrating Christmas more simply than the year before.  This is partially due to  our one income insisting upon it and partially because we know we don’t need more stuff.  We have read countless articles and books on simple living and parenting and they all contain a common thread; too many toys and things only inhibit free thinking, free play, free movement,  wild imaginations and big living.

This year, we all received one substantial gift; Mike received a ukulele from ebay, I received this beautiful website; Poppy received a handmade Waldorf doll, and Silas received a wooden barn with farm animals and tractor.  We filled one stocking with things they love like bubbles,  klean kanteen sippy cups and candy.  We also used this as an opportunity to add some beautiful classic story books to our growing collection (Elsa Beskow +  Sibylle Von Olfers, etc).  For our parents we made the annual Blurb book {last years is here} accompanied by baking or homemade items.   All of that, and the kids most played with and cherished toys of the day were two snow globes {thank you Aunt Liz!} and a jar of $1.49 bubbles.   I rest my case.

I must say it was liberating and we are now enjoying the lack of spending hangover that always seems to follow this season.  I adore Christmas, but often find Christmas day to be the biggest let down; some have felt downright empty.  I think our biggest mistake in years past was that of tying our fulfillment and holiday satisfaction directly to the gifts we give and receive.  So obviously wrong.

A few of my favourite events this year was our simple solstice celebration, hosting the Ellenberger Christmas Eve festivities, a little jaunt amidst the trees and fresh snow on Christmas day, making toutons for a heart warming Christmas breakfast {in honour of Mike’s Newoundland roots}, and felting some play food {something I failed to get done before the big day} while Mike practiced playing his new ukulele.

With some of our Christmas money we bought a scroll saw {35% off} for our new family hobby of simple toy making {items such as this + this and so much more}.

Each year we move closer towards living up to our own ideals of simplicity and as we move into the new year, I find myself contemplating what will come next.  What items and beliefs I will let go of and which will I cling to?  Who will we be and what will our family look like in the wake of next year’s simple celebrations?

Hoping your holiday has left you feeling refreshed and ready for the coming year.


go gently + be wonderful



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  1. Posted December 29, 2011 at 4:21 pm by Ana | Permalink

    Who is that grown-up looking boy in that rocking chair? Surely its not little baby Silas?

  2. Posted December 29, 2011 at 4:46 pm by Stephanie K. | Permalink

    Your site inspired me. I know the exact emptiness you describe, and over the years I feel like Christmas is getting out of my hands. I plan to write myself a note, stick in on November 2012 in my calendar, and remind myself then of what I know now…the simpler, the better. I find it hard to live up to what I know about simplicity…it seemed easier when my kids were littler (now my almost-seven-year-old son isn’t content with little wooden trucks anymore!)…must delve into some ideas early about what he might like.

  3. Posted December 29, 2011 at 6:00 pm by janeisgreen | Permalink

    Wonderful! That’s the way it should be (and the way it once was).

  4. Posted December 29, 2011 at 6:55 pm by Desiree Fawn | Permalink

    What an absolutely wonderful Christmas <3 Much love, mama.

  5. Posted December 30, 2011 at 9:51 am by Jamie | Permalink

    So beautiful. You continue to inspire my hearts longing.

  6. Posted January 2, 2012 at 11:58 am by Amberlea | Permalink

    Your Christmas sounds beautiful and meaningful. I just checked out your photobooks, and they are gorgeous! Erin, your photos of your wee bobbins are so great. They will cherish your images and sweet words forever. xo

    • Posted January 2, 2012 at 1:26 pm by erin | Permalink

      Just checked up on your Christmas! You guys are so awesome! Love the gifts you made. Amazing.

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