We love Christmas time! In fact, if Paul had his way we’d have the tree up and carols playing all year round! The transformation that takes place at this time of year, with streets and stores full of decorations, houses and gardens twinkling with lights, and summertime temperatures soaring, seem to create a festive energy that can be felt all around regardless of your beliefs and traditions.
Four months into our full-time travel exploring Australia, we finally feel like our space has transitioned from a holiday to a home. We have relaxed into the permanent caravanning lifestyle, and that change of perception has also changed our thoughts around the “things” we want and need.
Something we hadn’t really considered when moving into our van is that living this kind of lifestyle also helps to create a smaller footprint, not only on your wallet (because full time travelling requires a tight budget) but it also helps you become a Conscious Consumer. I love this term and there is something in this for everyone…. from our impact on the planet, to our environment at home, and the gifts we purchase and give across the year, particularly during the silly season. Consciously choosing how and on what we spend our money, the impact of our purchase and its true value in more than just dollars, helps us to find balance, reduce stress and focus on the things that really matter most.
Christmas time is a perfect opportunity to get creative and discover new meaning around giving and receiving. We are making the most of acknowledging that the best gift we have is the present (and that is why it is called the present)! For us the New Year will be about the experiences we are sharing together as a family, and the life-long memories we will make, rather than the things we have… and that is where the true magic of life is created.
The magic is everywhere, and you don’t have to look hard to find it, especially when you have children at home. Watching their little eyes widen with awe, wonder, anticipation and excitement is a real joy and certainly brings the inner child out in Paul and I!
When it came to decorating our Coromal caravan our considerations included minimal cost, minimal space, whether it could be reused or recycled, if we could keep the packaging to store and use again next year, and how we could incorporate natural elements. One of the best things about living in such a small space, is the small amount required to decorate and style. We settled on some strings of LED coloured lights from Bunnings and some reusable window and wall decals. We also collected pinecones from the forest to make natural diffusers using our beautiful dōTERRA essential oils, and these make great home-made gifts for friends and family as well.
In past years we have travelled to and fro on Christmas Day, visiting and enjoying time with both sides of the family. And whilst we have tried to minimise holiday season travel, something we are very happy about this Christmas is our ability to take our home on wheels with us, and have our own sanctuary to retreat to when we need some time out from the festivities.
Another tradition we continue to enjoy is to take the week in between Christmas and New Year to unpack the year that has been. We use this time to make peace with where we are at, to celebrate the successes, and acknowledge the growth, the challenges and change. We plan and set goals for the year ahead, and this really is the best present we can give each other and take with us into the new year.
Reflecting on the things that matter most has been heightened by the current bushfires that have impacted hundreds of thousands of people across Australia, in some cases with very tragic outcomes. Out of this comes a very clear reminder that life is fragile, and to choose kindness during what is often a hectic and stressful time of the year. Now is the time to reach out and reconnect with friends and family and share a little Christmas joy through a simple act of humanity.
From our family to yours, we wish you a safe, healthy and happy Christmas!
~ Katie Guerin