Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas afloat

It's a little different than on land

A floating Christmas. It can be challenging. Yes, we sing the same carols and we eat ham and mashed potatoes, but getting the visible, tangible Christmas spirit can be challenging. We don't have a tupperware box in the attic filled with lengths of tangled lights or stacks of red bows to festoon the outside of the boat. Since we have no storage space, all of our possessions are items we use on a regular basis. A singing Santa just has nowhere to live on the boat in February or July. So we have to be creative.

A few ornaments hanging above the galley table.

A green wreath decorating the stern.

Homemade paperchains.

Christmas songs streaming from Pandora.

Advent calendars.

Gingerbread houses.

A pathetic string of Christmas lights with only half alight since I found them in a locker filled with water. (Sigh. Boat living.)

And food. (Of course.) Egg nog, hot buttered rum, peppermint hot chocolate. Gingerbread. Pepparkakor. Lussebullar.

When it comes to decorating our floating home for Christmas, we have to think in the here and now. We don't have many heirloom ornaments or beloved decorations (well, we have a few), but spending time baking and crafting for Christmas helps put me in the Christmas spirit.

Studding Florida tangerines with cloves.  Matilda "helped" by dumping the cloves out and putting them back in the spice jar.

Clear space for the gifts

But what about the gifts? I actively spend time every month or so purging excess from our boat. Clearing shelves and lockers of toys and clothes we no longer use. Christmas could be viewed as an impending nightmare for a "stuff-conscious" person like myself. Not so. I simply prepare beforehand.

A trip to Goodwill a week before Christmas helps to clear some space. Communications with family helps tremendously. Our families know that we live in a small space so they ask before gifting: what do you need? What do the girls need?

A mindful Christmas

All of these small, boat-specific preparations for Christmas more or less force us to be mindful and intentional about how we celebrate Christmas. No excess consumerism, because we have no space. No cheap plastic decorations, because we have no space. Instead we spend the holidays doing Christmas activities together - these Christmas experiences are our gifts. (Although I would love to have lights running from bow to stern and a real Christmas tree. Maybe next year...)

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