On Small (and Large) Spaces And Gifts This Holiday Season

A a family, we’ve gone from 650 square feet to over 1200.  Bodies grow and spaces change, but the way we inhabit them can remain the same…

With the season of gifts upon us, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. For instance, over the past few years, the kids have kept the same two large woven baskets for their things. One for stuffed animals. One for plastic and hard toys. There’s another basket in the living room for wooden train pieces and wooden blocks passed down to us when River was a year by our old landlady. There’s one more basket for the Legos, tucked under Oak’s bed, as he claims them the most. Despite my best efforts to turn it into a full toy closet, their walk-in closet only consists of a metal shopping cart River got three or four years ago one Christmas, roller-skates, two tiny woven baskets we use every birthday and holiday, and a wooden box of sweaters for the season upon us. There’s a small stack of puzzles, too. And Oak’s retired closet across the room, has turned into a spot to hide the thrifted basket that has all their dress-up stuff. When guests arrive, I move the basket and leave the closet clear for them to hang their things.

While this is a small amount in the grand scale of my apartment, sometimes, these things can feel large. The “large” times are when the kids don’t play with them and the same favorite toys remain in rotation. I love that they have their favorites. I love that their favorites are often worn-down and broken, and used for a multitude of things and play an enormous amount of characters.

My own memories of Christmas are grand. I wrote long and colorful lists, full of things I loved from commercials or the newspaper catalog. I want that same grand feeling for my children.I loved it all, but with every Christmas, I can only really remember the “big” thing I wanted. One year, It was an Easy Bake Oven. Another, a Barbie Dream house. My point: when it comes to my children, I want to continue to  stick to the big things. And I don’t mean just big in size, I mean what really matters. So that the bottom tear of things just don’t hang around for an unforeseeable about of time.  For instance: I normally love gifting them books, but because the kids have been getting allowance and go to the bookstore most weekends, we are stocked up with new books. So I’ll stick to new pajamas I know they’ll love and need, instead. As much as I love to gift books, I won’t for the sake of it. This applies to toys too, of course.

Whether in a small space or a big space, I know it is easy to accumulate things this holidays season. So my best advice is to always look at what your children want and need. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re kids don’t need much. And chances are, their wants can be marked into big and small in size and in meaning. It’s good to look at their room with this idea before bringing new things in. It’s even better, when shopping and receiving this season. Any tips of your own?

(1st, 3rd, and 4th photo of current apartment by Julia Robbs for Cup Of Jo. 2nd and 5th photos by Michael Wiltbank for Domino)

4 thoughts on “On Small (and Large) Spaces And Gifts This Holiday Season

  • Reply Cori December 3, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    Wonderful reminders this time of year. Thank you for sharing your thought process on this!

    • Reply latonya December 5, 2018 at 5:59 pm

      Thank you so much for reading, Cori!


  • Reply Patoka December 7, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    I am not sure how I stumbled upon your blog or added you but I have become mesmerized by your keen insights, inspired by your joy and happiness which surrounds all you see and how interpretive all your thoughts are!!! I will continue to read all you write and your book is in my “wish list” for Christmas. May you continue to inspire all and have a very joyous holiday season.

    • Reply latonya December 11, 2018 at 4:03 pm

      Thank you!

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