Deck the Halls with lots of Sea Side.
A handmade Christmas tree can not only save you time and money, but it can be magical and gratifying and can set the mood or theme for the entire Christmas Season. I was born and raised on the cosmopolitan and bustling Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago…..so I could never quite relate to a White Christmas, I’ve always found it hard to understand the use of cotton, fake snow-flakes and ‘snow in a can’ to represent a winter scene when I knew I’d be spending my Christmas vacation on the beach making sand castles and sand angles.
I grew up thinking that ice was invented for drinks or snow cones…..there could be no other possible use. It never occurred to me that people actually lived in it, and that entire holidays were centered around Winter Wonderlands. Yes, I read the books and I knew Santa lived in the North Pole….but I also read about the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. It was only year’s later in my teens and early twenties, after 4 years of school in Canada and another 4 more in the ‘deep freeze’ at RIT in Rochester New York, I finally understood the whole White Christmas symbolism and I learned to appreciate and respect the power of winter. I also totally understood why so many of God’s creatures hibernate or migrate south for the winter ; ) I knew then what I know now….this Island Girl’s blood is much better suited to a warmer climate so I moved as far south as I could and made my new home in Florida.
During the holiday bustle, it’s only natural to miss my little island. Christmas time is a big deal in Trinidad and I always miss all my ‘Trini’ friends and family. The smells in the air of all the traditional Christmas food and drinks, the upbeat sounds of Parang music playing, and the laughter of friends and family taking some time out to ‘lime’ and be together….that whole magical and intoxicating island vibe.
This year once again, I won’t be visiting the Caribbean for Christmas, but if I can’t be there, I can always find a way to bring a little of the island spirit here by recycling and repurposing items that remind me of the islands and incorporating them into my Holiday decorating.
Last year I made an ‘Island Style’ Christmas Tree out of driftwood scraps, decorated it with seashells, and placed it on a big platter with sand and sea glass. It turned out so beautifully, I think I’ll reuse it again this year! So now I have my Caribbean Christmas Tree that smells like the ocean, my Parang playing, my Ponche Crema chilling and my fabulous Cuban husband to share it all with me. I give thanks, this Christmas for all my blessings!
Christmas is a time when you get homesick – even when you’re home. -Carol Nelson
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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Repurpose all Season long!
‘Tis the season to be jolly for sure but ‘tis also the season for lots of folly! Yes, it’s the season for spending lots of money and creating lots of waste. Here’s the thing…most people give their ‘green’ thoughts a rest during the Holidays, when in fact we should be more conscious of the excesses that can occur over the holidays, and more aware of how we can reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose all season long.
Just because something is recycled doesn’t mean it’s trash and it certainly doesn’t mean it cheap. Good taste has nothing to do with money or how much we spend…and sometimes the thought or presentation can become the most valuable part of the gift. Spend more time with your kids, get them involved, this is their planet…we just borrow it from them for a while. Teaching your children the importance of living green is the best gift you could ever give them.
Spark your creativity and ignite your children’s imagination. The holidays are a great time to transform ordinary and discarded materials into new useful and beautiful items to decorate and inspire. And the way you wrap your presents with individuality and creativity can speak volumes about how much you love your friends and family and show how unique and special they are to you.
There’s a saying in Trinidad: “You may leave the islands, but they never leave you.” It’s so true…regardless of where I live, in a warm or cold climate, I’ll always be an Island Girl and I’ll always recycle tropical things to make and decorate my Christmas trees and to wrap my presents. It’s my way of putting a little warmth into all the presents that I give to my friends and family.
When I give a gift I always say…”The gift is just a thought, my present to you is the wrapping!”
Keep your love of Nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more. – Vincent Van Gogh
All images © SanchezArias.com