A while ago I wrote a post on being “weird” which was a huge hit and you can check it out here. I was thinking about what it means to be an average American and started researching some of the numbers. In particular I was thinking about how a typical American would compare to someone who lived in a Tiny House. Tomorrow I will write a post on what the average Tiny House person is like to compare.
It’s nearly Christmas and here in Charleston we have been enjoying the festive decorations throughout the city. Living in a tiny house definitely limits traditional decorations and living the tiny life means having to tweak some holiday decor. One difference is that last year we had an 8 foot tree. That just will not work in La Casita and I have to admit I was a bit bummed about not having the space but one of my students at my school came to my rescue! He brought me the top off his twelve foot tree and placed it in a bowl of clay with a little ornament hanging on one of the branches. He came in the kitchen a couple weeks ago and said, “Here Ms. Andrea! It’s for your tiny house!” It was the sweetest gift and it fixed my tree dilemma. Now we have a Charlie Brown tree to keep things festive this holiday season!
Luckily for us, here in Charleston, the city goes to great lengths to decorate the streets. Wreaths, living trees, lights and banners are everywhere so when I feel like enjoying the season I can hop on my bike and go out to Marion Square to see the park all lit up in white lights or down King Street to enjoy 16 foot living trees placed along the shopping areas. Living in such a vibrant city is great when your living space can’t support all the holiday bells and whistles!
Since we don’t have a regular tree we’ve decided to celebrate gift giving in the style of stockings! I’ve yet to make them, which I swore I would do last week, and now with only a few days til Christmas I have work to do! Stockings were always my favorite part of Christmas morning growing up and it’s a great way to receive presents in a tiny house! Certainly helps keep things scaled down. Check out Ryan’s post about gift giving and tiny house living for more great ideas on giving or receiving this season!
In terms of indoor decoration we have Christmas lights lighting our living room and we’ve put out the cards we’ve received from family and friends. I’ll get the stockings up when I finish them and we’ve put a winter wreath on our door. It takes some adjustment to have a merry tiny house Christmas but I find it no less enjoyable than past holidays when I lived in larger dwellings. We’ve had to be willing to sacrifice a few things, like a regular tree, but when compared to my daily enjoyment of life in La Casita I don’t mind doing things a bit different during the holidays. For example, since we don’t have the space to host a party this year we are going to host a Christmas Eve bike ride! We’ll bring cookies and hot cider and enjoy the lights of the city on a tour around the downtown peninsula. We love to entertain our friends and family and while it takes a bit more creativity living in a tiny space, we’ve had just as much fun having gatherings outside our home as in and w e look forward to many more tiny life inspired holidays to come!
- Hey tiny house inhabitants! How do you celebrate the holidays tiny life style?
With the holiday season upon us, people get very wrapped up in the need to buy presents. Even though I don’t need things and for the most part I don’t want for much, it’s hardwired into people’s brains that they have to give me something. So today I wanted to share some of the things you can do when it comes to the gift giving season.
I think the first thing to do is long before the holiday season, share with those who might give you gifts that your lifestyle and priorities have shifted to have fewer items. You can frame this in the context of environmentalism, reduced-consumerism, simple living, minimalism; however you do this, people are going to be curious why, so be prepared to have a conversation. It’s important for them to understand that there is a greater purpose and/or goal behind your request. Now we tiny house folks often can’t shut up about our dream tiny house, so this isn’t usually an issue.
Next thing to do is consider the things that you really do need throughout the year, then consider if you could hold off getting it now and instead suggest it as a gift for the holidays. A great example in my own life is work shirts. I wear polos to work, but I only have 4 (I only go into an office 3 days a week), so they wear out with more frequent washings. I was about to retire my polos when I realized it was getting close to the holidays and I decided to wait and ask for new shirts.
So where possible, try to time things so people can give you things that you truly do need, but what about beyond that? Being that I don’t need a whole lot, I find that there are more people to exchange gifts with than I have needs. This is where I ask for experiences or consumables.
The great thing about these two things is that they don’t take up space (or not for long). Experiences can be having them take you out to dinner, going to see a movie, taking a weekend vacation, going on some adventure with them, having them cook you a meal and enjoying it together. The experience will be something that you both will value so much more than anything you can buy at the store.
The second thing is consumables. There are items like foods, drinks, candy, etc. that you can use, but they aren’t going to have to be stored forever. If you want to take it a step further, ask them to take into consideration the packaging of the item.
Great examples of consumables are baked goods. If they are a wine or beer drinker, consider wine/beer of the month clubs. If they are meat eaters, try some mail order steaks; for the vegetarians/vegans/raw folks consider local vendors that prepare meals to go that align with their food preferences. Buying someone a share in a CSA (community supported agriculture) is a fantastic option. A great place to start is with your local farmers market.
So those are just a few tips on how you might bring in the New Year and handle the gift giving season while still balancing it with living The Tiny Life.
How to do you talk with other about reducing your possessions during the holiday season?
So a while back I did a overhaul of the website for The Tiny Life and gradually I am starting to build out the content in the various sections. It has been a bit slow going because in addition to blogging for you all, I am building my house, plus hiring our first staff person (more to come soon).
I got to the section of my website where I wanted to catalog the most Frequently Asked Questions about Tiny Houses and Tiny Living. I took a stab at it, but then it occurred to me that my awesome readers would have some good ideas for questions and answers.
What are some questions that you think most people just discovering Tiny Houses want to know or should know?
Questions can also be around simple living, off the grid living, sustainable housing, etc.
Over the years I received a lot of comments and emails saying that Tiny Houses aren’t practical, “how am I supposed to fit my whole family in 150 square feet”, etc. At this point I should disclose that I do have a bias to Tiny Houses for one or two people as I am currently not married and have no children. However, to understand this I would point out that Tiny Houses have no definition. They don’t have a dictated size, form, shape, color, etc. What does this mean? A Tiny House is what you want it to be; it is this flexibility that draws people to us, that opens doors and minds to what could be.
The answer is that the Tiny Houses that are 100-200 square feet aren’t designed for families. A Tiny House for a family might be 1,000 square feet, but it isn’t about the number, it is more a factor using space efficiently and reasonably to suit your life style needs. I always tell people to consider the square footage per person living there, if they are insistent about the number.
The truth is, that Tiny Houses of 100-200 square feet isn’t a magical number, that has been divined by some deep insight or other means. In fact the size of the trailer often dictates the size of the house, so in a way, it’s quite arbitrary. To this point, Tiny Houses don’t have to be built on a trailer either, because there is no true definition of Tiny Houses.
Today even the definition of a family is being challenged, it is no longer the traditional family unit that is being considered a family. Couple that with the fact that Tiny House is whatever you want it to be and we begin to see that the Tiny House Movement as a very flexible thing that morphs to your needs, not what someone else tells you it needs to be.
Some Families in Tiny House Links:
- Family Living Tiny
- Growing Up In A Tiny Cabin
- City Cottage, Finland Style!
- Is It Ethical To Raise A Child In A Tiny House?
- What do you think about raising children in a Tiny House?