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a homeschooling mom of four who used to blog about food, has a book about sourdough, and who is now walking through the grief of losing my dad.
Hi, I'm Kels!

The Best Sourdough Glazed Donuts

After using the KonMari method in our home last year, we had to sit down and decide how this would effect holidays. Read on to see how we apply the principles of minimalism in our home for Christmas!


When my husband and I began having children, we decided to try and keep the Christmas commercialism to a minimum in our home. We made a plan to only buy 3 gifts for each child for Christmas, to symbolize the gifts given to Christ by the wisemen. 

Typically we split gifts into categories

  1. Something they really want — the bigger item on their wish list, we let Santa give them this one 😉
  2. Something they need — new snowboots, snowpants, shoes, clothes, etc.
  3. Something to read — I always include a book for each child as one of their gifts. I always got books for Christmas and want to pass that on to my kids.
  4. We also fill stockings with little items that are fun or that they can USE — art supplies, coloring books, games, play-doh, etc. They get some treats and a candy cane (my oldest looks forward to this candy cane more than anything else at Christmas)!

konmari toys simple life by kels
We have been able to stick pretty clearly to this plan over the years and it’s been great. However, after our big de-junking project last year, we decided to re-think our approach. As a family we have decided to try and have more experiences together instead of more gifts.

We want our children to experience the magic of the holidays, to learn to give to others, and to have great memorable experiences with them. It can be simple things like baking together, driving around to look at the lights, reading Christmas stories by the tree, etc. Those little things mean a lot to little people! It’s our TIME they really want more than anything else, and this is the perfect season to give it to them.

homemade chocolates simple life by kels
This year we have decided to let our children, ages 8, 6, (almost)4, and 2, open one fun present from Santa, and have some fun things in their stockings. That’s it. After having such simple Christmases their entire lives, they don’t ask for much. Then as a family we are going to choose a local family in need to donate to. I want my kids to realize that there are people living right in their community who need help.
For two years running my now 6-year old asked for a pack of gum. That is ALL she wanted in the entire world. A pack of gum. It made me chuckle and also warmed my heart. Their wishes are not huge, they don’t want a lot of things, and they find joy in the little that they do receive.

She got that pack of gum, and savored every.darn.piece. It was special to her. I think she loved it more than the doll she received from Santa last year! This same tiny girl when asked this year what she wanted replied, “A teddy bear and a necklace.”

I believe that all parents dread the impending stress and commercialism of Christmas. I will admit that seeing parents spend so much money on STUFF that their kids don’t want or need just because they feel they have to, makes me a little nauseated. I have seen children almost bored by Christmas morning because the gifts are so overwhelming.

Having real discussions with children about “stuff,” the spirit of giving, and the power of experiencing things together creates a space where they might surprise you with their ideas! 

Next year maybe we will have that Disneyland trip or something extra special and not have any gifts, but this year we are focusing on helping others, being thankful for what we have, and visiting with family and friends.

This December, my church has put out the challenge to #lighttheworld with SERVICE! We are giving of our time and talents to those around us, and helping people in need this holiday season. I invite you to watch the following video and join in the challenge. This is something that we are going to do as a family. It doesn’t matter if you are religious or not, everyone can serve their fellowman. ‘Tis the season!

You can download a calendar of service ideas, here, or come up with your own. They don’t have to be big things, but something every day to remember the season.

How do you keep your sanity during the holidays? Any tips for keeping Christmas simple with children? I would love to hear!

Comments +

  1. Julia Smith says:

    Hi Kelsey

    Just read your article on your Christmas approach, I truly admire you, we don’t have kids but had our nephew for his first Christmas in Canada and my husband and I felt the same way about “stuff”, we did spoil him a little, hes 12 and loves hockey so took him to an NHL game but such a great experience for him, something to read and his stocking.
    Spent time tobogganing ice skating and playing in the snow all firsts for him, think this is way more important than “stuff”
    Good for you, your children will truly treasure the wonderful experiences you are giving them.

    • Kelsey says:

      Julia, those sound like the perfect gifts! Wonderful experiences that he will always treasure. Thanks for your comment! It means a lot.

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about me

Hey, I'm Kels!

a homeschooling mom of four who used to blog about food, has a book about sourdough, and who is now walking through the grief of losing my dad.

I have lots of recipes and resources, but now it's just about me being real, walking through the messy and beautiful parts of life.


How to Make Your Own Sourdough Starter

I am so excited to take you, step by step, through the process of making your own sourdough starter. It might seem a little intimidating at first, but if you stick with it, your time and patience will be rewarded with a lifetime of sourdough goodies!

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