The holiday season is all about love, joy, community, and family. This month, we will be bringing you a little holiday series about the people who make up the family here at The Green Nursery and some of our favorite bits of the season. 

Today: Siri

Tell us a little about yourself!  What unique skills or interests do you bring to The Green Nursery?
Babies, young children, families and community have always been a constant part of my life. I grew up on a farm and from birth to age 16 my mom ran a really cool daycare out of our home. So I grew up in a community of children, and always loved helping with the younger ones. I was changing diapers and rocking little ones to sleep by the time I was 10 or 11, and was greeted off the bus from school every day by a hoard of toddlers begging me to play. I think this environment nurtured in me a deep interest in babies, young children, birth, education and parenting. As a teenager I researched all these things extensively, attended conferences, interned at alternative schools and read many books on these topics. Before working at The Green Nursery, every job I'd held since working age had been supplemented with childcare, including working in schools and several full-time nanny positions. A year ago I decided I was done doing long-term childcare until I have my own.

TGN is really the perfect thing for me to have transitioned to. I still get to be involved in the lives of families and help bring a super-valuable resource into their lives, but I also get to nurture other strengths of mine. I really enjoy learning about/helping run a business such as this one Scott and Abby have created. The position of "back-end" (shipping) manager really appeals to my organizational side, my desire for making order out of chaos, and my love of seeing projects completed. I'm happy to have found this place, and soon I'll be celebrating my 1-year TGN-iversary! I'm excited and grateful for that.  I do still work with kids as a volunteer instructor for the youth programs of Wild Nature Project and enjoy every minute of it.

Tell us about your favorite holiday traditions.
Since I don't have any terribly exciting family holiday traditions, I'm going to tell you about one tradition that I would like to start doing (I love starting new meaningful traditions!). This one doesn't correspond with any specific holiday, but with the season of winter. Winter is a time of quiet, and focusing energy inward. Animals are dreaming away in hibernation, trees have dropped their leaves and are giving their energy to their roots. I would like to take the hint from the natural world and use this time to try and slow down, live a little quieter and refocus on my goals and purpose.

Last year I learned about a wintertime tradition from a guy named Jon Young called the Renewal of Creative Path, which is a variation of similar traditions seen in cultures all over the world. Many go through the process as a community and may take as long as a few weeks each year, but it can be done on as small a scale as you want. So I'm going to start small this year, with myself, and hope to someday be doing this with a larger group of friends and family. The essence of this process is taking time to recall and honor the gifts in our lives and in ourselves, what they are teaching us, and how they are helping us and helping us help others, and then using these lessons set forth new goals and visions for the years to come. I can just imagine what a different culture we'd live in if each person committed some time each winter to reflect on these things. So, this year, this is my new favorite "holiday" tradition. I'm setting aside time to begin the tradition of this yearly process in my life, and with the hope that one day it will again be an age-old tradition practiced by many many more.

Growing up, what was your favorite or most memorable holiday gift?
At first I was going to say that I didn't think I had any memorable holiday gifts because the things that I remember the most as being special have been the time with family and friends, and not the gifts. But when I thought about it harder, I started to remember some things that I really treasured as a kid. One was a little leather coin purse that I think I may have gotten from my grandpa - one just like he had. It folded in on itself in a spiral-like way, and I just loved opening and closing it, feeling it, playing with it, having it in my pocket. Another thing was a wooden coin bank shaped like an "S," which I still have.

I also spent hours and hours with something really similar to the Prism Puzzle we carry.  It was a huge tin full of geometric shapes that I would sit on the floor with and create endless mandala-esque designs. When I think about it, all the things that I actually took seriously and treasured were really simple things, made with natural materials. I think even as a kid, I could tell that these things were so much more real than a plastic passing fad, were more special and would last a long time.

Who, in your family, gets the most into the holidays and how to they show it?
None of us get into it very intensely. I'd say my mom and grandma get most into it because they actually put up lights and some variation of a tree to decorate. But I think all of us appreciate it equally for the good food and time together.

And what about at TGN?  Who wishes tinsel grew on trees and pretends the store room is full of elves?
That would be Abby. She is definitely the most excited about decorating and overall holiday cheer. And what do you mean "pretends"??? The stock room IS full of elves!

What is your favorite baby's first holiday gift, and why?
I myself really like the locally made hand-knit hats that can be found in TGN's brick and mortar. :) (Brea here.  Siri and her sister make these hats!)  But aside from that, toy-wise I think my favorite would have to be the Under the Nile line of simple organic cotton buddies and fruits and vegetables. Also the organic cotton knit George the monkey and Victoria the bunny by Miyim. Baby's first gifts should be something gentle and healthy for both baby and the planet.

I'm also really excited about Kid Kazooey's Lullabies album. Music was a big part of my life growing up and the music I listened to was a very meaningful aspect of my childhood that is still with me today. It can be so nurturing in so many ways and will last a lifetime. 

knit hats