Whoever can be trusted with very little…

Hello my name is Katie Bu….oh wait is that a butterfly???

This is my typical, terribly distracted, self.  Yesterday I found my phone on the top shelf of our kids closet (where I was organizing).  And I have so many tabs open on my browser I can hardly read the titles.


I just got a text, where was I?? Oh yes…

I feel God has been teaching me something lately.  This beautifully simple and ridiculously profound word….FOCUS.

I am the girl who read kisses from katie and was convinced I wanted to move to Africa and adopt 14 kids.  Bessie inspires me to adopt, Chrissy inspires me to move, and the Kebrdle’s inspire me to sell everything I have.

And in the midst of my “holy whining” (can we say oxymoron)  about how I wish I was doing more, God brought me to a very good point.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.
Luke 16:10


We have two young girls.  Am I sensitive to how God wants me to parent them?   I have a wonderful husband, have I told him lately how much I appreciate him?  I lead a college girls small group, have I invested enough into these amazing young women to illustrate God’s love for them?


Instead of whining about all I’m NOT doing, I am CHOOSING to FOCUS on all that God is doing through me.

And instead of thinking I would be better if was doing more, I have decided to CHOOSE to FOCUS and invest to let God be GREAT at what I am already doing.

I must be faithful first in the small things.  

Who knows what the future holds, but today, my ministry is where my feet are.  

How to sell on ebay (the really simple and easy version)

I opened up an eBay account when I was in college.  I still remember my first purchase, a simple silver chain to replace my broken one.  Shortly after, I started selling some of my old formal dresses, accessories, textbooks etc.  Over 900 transactions later (WOW that is nuts)  I guess I have learned a few things about the wonderful world of eBay.   I have been asked more than once how to do it, so I figured why not write a blog post about it!

Being able to sell on eBay opens up a world of opportunity.  If you buy the wrong size and can’t take it back, just sell it on eBay.  If you got two of the same thing..sell it on eBay.  And if you have extra STUFF yet short on cash….eBay it is.  Your payment goes directly to paypal which is accepted almost everywhere online AND you can do a free transfer to your bank account!

If you have a smart phone or iPad there is an eBay app that makes all this even easier.  For many items that still have a bar code (books, dvd’s or items still in box)  You can simply scan the bar code and BAM your item is there.  You simply list the condition and short description and your done.

***WARNING*** Dust collectors on your shelf will start to look more like dollar bills and you won’t hold on to so much “just incase”  because money is much more fun than stuff.  It is an ideal way to de-clutter and get $$$.  Plus it’s way easier than you think…I promise

How to sell on ebay (the really easy and simple version)
How to sell on ebay (the really easy and simple version)

First things first..

1)  Decide what to sell

As their slogan says, “whatever IT is, you can find it on eBay”  so chances are you have PLENTY of stuff to sell.  You actually would be surprised how much.  Here are a few ideas to get your brain going:

-The china you never use

-The name brand serving dish too

-The fancy candle you will never burn

-The designer jeans that are too tight

-The toys in your parents attic

-The purse you don’t like

-The cute clothes the kids outgrew

-The heels that are too painful

-The book you already read

-The gift card you will never use

-DVD’s and video games

-Sorority, fraternity, or club memorabilia

-I have even sold plant bulbs and cuttings!

-And of course the gift that you can’t return

I once sold an Anderson Cooper poster (that I randomly had) for $100!

2) See if it is worth it

Not all items are worth your time and effort to list on eBay.  GENERALLY (especially when it comes to clothing)  If it is not name brand, or brand new, I wouldn’t waste your time.  Used items still have plenty of value (depending on condition) but a used shirt from wall-mart or worn out old shoes…not so much.

The best and simplest way to decide if your item has worth is to look it up on eBay.  From the homepage, just type in the search bar exactly what you would like to sell and see what comes up.

For examples sake, let’s say we have a vera bradley purse we would like to sell. First we would determine what style we have and type in a search

Typing in just “vera bradley” gave me 48,686 results….I’m not kidding.

For examples sake, let’s say we have a vera bradley purse we would like to sell. First we would determine what style we have and type in a search
Typing in just “vera bradley” gave me 48,686 results….I’m not kidding.

Typing “vera bradley purse dogwood(the pattern name)” narrowed it down to 137 listings
Typing “vera bradley purse dogwood caroline (the style name)” narrowed it down to 3 listings

They are listed from $140 to $170 which gives us an idea on where to list our (example) purse.

**It is not uncommon to find items listed for very high amounts but have NO bids. Listing a $100 purse for $400 is fine but it is highly unlikely it will sell. When deciding the price range of your item make sure you notice items that HAVE BIDS. You can also search “sold listings” to see what similar items are worth.

3)Should you get it appraised?
If it is old coins, baseball cards, jewelry or autographs, you might look into getting it appraised.

Before you do anything search your item to be sure it is worth something. My husband had a baseball card collection from when he was a kid. We searched several of the cards we thought would be of value. When we found he had a Ken Griffey Jr rookie card we new we had a gem. The card as is was MAYBE worth $20 BUT if I sent it to Beckett (the baseball card appraisal system) And got a good rating, we were looking at $100+ value. Getting an appraisal is, of course, not free. But you typically make more than your money’s worth IF what you have is of true value.

4) Listing your item:

(a)Assuming you already have an account with eBay, (if not go get one now) Your first step is to click sell, then choose a category. eBay makes this every easy by just typing on what you are selling then providing a list of possible category choices.

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(b)A picture is worth a thousand words: No matter what you are selling you want to make sure you get a good picture. eBay now allows up to 12 pictures uploaded of your item for FREE on each listing. You don’t have to be a professional photographer but don’t just plop your item on the floor and snap a few pics. Consider laying down a pretty backdrop, or if you have access to it, take a picture of your clothing on a mannequin! If nothing else, iron the clothes, get good lighting for your jewelry, and make sure your flash doesn’t shine out your books or DVD’s!

©Describe it like a salesperson: In every listing you have to describe the item you are selling. You must be 100% honest of the condition and wear of your item. Your feedback score and seller rating depend on it. That being said you also need to play your item up a little! What would a potential buyer love about your item? Why should they buy from you? Why are you getting rid of it? If you are selling multiple items will you combine shipping? All this information is helpful in buyers making a decision.

(d) The details: In every listing ebay has several details you must list like measurements, condition, brand, color etc. It is all spelled out right there for you and a good reminder for details you may want to add to your listing.

(e) Name your price: Having a low price will encourage bidding, but I typically set my price just below what I would like to receive for my item. That way if I get just one bid, at least I sold it and if more people bid, then I get more $$!

(f) Decide shipping cost: Anything under 13 ounces (including envelope) can ship first class which is typically $3 or less. Anything larger than that I typically like to weigh first to estimate shipping (all provided on their website). USPS also has several flat rate boxes which takes a lot of the guess work out it if fits it ships! More on shipping below…

5) Ship it

Saaa-wweeet!! Your item sold! Now you have to ship it out!

(a) Package your item up. I save all my boxes and padded envelopes to re-use for this. USPS also offers flat rate boxes, or you can buy 9X12 manilla envelopes pretty inexpensively in a box of 20 or more.

(b) Print your label: From the eBay home page click on “my eBay” From there you can see a list of your sold items. To the right of the item you just sold will be a “print shipping label” option. Click here. You will need a postage scale, food scale or any scale that measures ounces. Fill in the proper info provided by eBay and print your label right from your computer! i just print mine on a piece of paper then tape it to the package but if you want to by label paper than go for it.

Cha-Ching! You just made quick and easy money from stuff you didn’t want anyway!

6) Leave feedback. Don’t forget to list your feedback for the buyer. They should return the favor. The more feedback you have the more buyers trust you.

eBay offers many more details and tools here to help get you started. It is a very user friendly site. Now go sell something!

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautifu”l. – William Morris

Interview with a “regular” missionary

Do you ever think of missionaries as, like, AMAZING Christians? That they are somehow on a different level than the rest of us? I think they are out saving the world and I am just simply trying to not cuss when I stub my toe.

Well Today, I have the privilege of sharing an interview from friends that are very near and dear to my heart. We have known each other since before either of us were married. Names will be changed for security reasons.  

“Sarah” is the kinda friend I consider like a sister. I have called her 100 times for advice and she even cleaned my house when I was in the hospital during the birth of our youngest daughter.

Our husbands watch football together and we consider them some of our closest friends. Now, in a matter of days they are moving half a world away to share with people who have never heard the name Jesus.

It is amazing to watch friends as close as these, friends I know as real, goofy, playful and perfectly imperfect put feet to their faith as they become missionaries.

Enjoy this “interview” of sorts as you meet some new friends. I hope you see the authentic and REAL people through the screen and leave encouraged by the incredible work God can do in everyday people!

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1. Tell me how it came about that you were going to be missionaries?

For about 3 years we felt like God was calling us to missions, but we never felt like we were equipped or even ready. We had no specific place, and felt inadequate to the task. I mean, missionaries are like “super Christians”, and we are not. We both had somewhat shady pasts too, and certainly that wasn’t called for either, right?

In the end, it came down to a few things that convinced us. First, we realized that if we didn’t go, who would? There are over a billion people who need Jesus with no access to the gospel. Why shouldn’t we go if we are committed to loving people and seeing Jesus love change lives.

Second, we were afraid. Fear comes in all shapes and sizes and for us, the fear of the unknown, fear of what it would look like, and fear of things like kids’ schooling, etc. Our God is not a God of fear (Romans 8:15) and so we are blessed to be loved by Him so much that he calls us sons/daughters. Finally, it was through the obedience of others in sharing their story.

A couple we heard speak came to talk about their serving. They had kids our age, they were our age, and weren’t perfect Christians either. They just had a heart to serve and love on people. We realized that this wasn’t a specific call for some people, it is a call for all people.

Living a life for Christ is about sharing the gospel each and every day, wherever we find ourselves. We may happen to find ourselves 12,000 miles away, but we are called to the same purpose as anyone living here in the states. Not only is that empowering, but encouraging to know that we are all missionaries. We also picked up a copy of the book Radical by David Platt. Don’t read it if you aren’t ready, but 2 pages into the book, with tears streaming down my face, I realized that I had run from fear long enough. It was time to give that which Christ gave for me – everything.

2. What has this looked like in your day to day life, selling your house, quitting your job, telling your parents etc.?

The selling everything part is amazing. Freeing in every sense of the word. You just don’t realize how caught up you get in the stuff until you don’t have it anymore. It’s not easy, but knowing that your life is about something more than just the American dream is a very encouraging.

Whether or not you sell everything or just become that much more generous, a life without “stuff”, is a life more available to be filled by Him. One thing that we felt like God was impressing on us about our house, jobs, etc. was that even if we go and decide this isn’t for us, it’s still just “stuff” and they make more of it every day. We can always get more stuff, but the feeling of missing something amazing that God has for us, we can’t get that back. We can’t recreate that or take back the years we could have been serving Him.

It’s also a huge leap of faith, and that’s not easy either. Trusting God with your entire life is a little disconcerting, especially when you have no idea of what His plan is. However, when an artist is painting a canvas, the brush strokes may seem random to the viewer, but to the artist, each one has a specific purpose. It’s not clear at first, but God is painting a masterpiece with our lives too. All He asks is that we trust Hm to give us just what we need when we need it.

Telling people, especially our families, inevitably brings up questions about the kids and safety or other issues like organized activities, culture shift and even friends. This is hard, too, but one thing we decided early on was that the best thing we could do for our families, friends, and even our kids was to show them that above all, God desires obedience. We hope that in following Him we will show a life lived for His glory and one that points people towards Him.

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Photo by HB documentary

3. What are you most excited about on your missionary journey?

We love people, period. We have been praying for a genuine love for the people we’ll be serving in Asia, and God is rewarding that. We cannot wait to love on the people and share with them God’s amazing story.

All along we have looked at this is just another adventure, another destination — for the journey IS the destination! This is just another adventure and knowing that our kids will see some things and have experiences that almost no one else could ever have is a cool thought too. They’ll have a love for culture and people far beyond what we feel they could get here, so we’re excited to see how they do.

Finally, we can’t wait to see God glorified through our amazing team and the nationals we’ll be working with. Earlier this year I had the privilege of serving in Zambia and on the first day I experienced just a small piece of every nation and tribe praising God (see Revelation 7:9-10). You can’t imagine how awesome it is when God’s name is being praised among the peoples and this is the hope we have for each day of our journey.

4. What words of encouragement would you have for people who are interested in missions but think they are under qualified, not “spiritual enough” or just to intimidated to take that leap?

First, to quote the old cliche: God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. When he called Matthew to a life of service, Matthew was sitting at a tax collector’s booth. Jesus didn’t tell him to clean up his life, then follow. Rather, He asked him to follow. He did, and the rest is history.

God is simply looking for willing servants, ready to make a radical sacrifice, but sharing in an eternal reward. If you are thinking about missions, even if you are thinking it might be for you, I’d ask that you begin to pray for God to break down the walls of fear and doubt, replace them with love and encouragement, and be willing to be obedient.

It requires no special qualifications, just that you love others and love God.

Won’t you join us in this mission? Won’t you join us in serving? It won’t be easy, but the rewards far outweigh the sacrifice.

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Photo by HB documentary

To follow their family on their journey please check out their blog and don’’t forget to subscribe!

2013…my one word

My one word for 2013 was a no brainer this year.

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I’m still totally inspired by the life changing book, One thousand gifts.
Noticing ways to give thanks instead of ways to complain is a total game changer.

When our kitchen is a total mess and the crazy white girl inside of me wants to come out, I am reminded, at least we have a kitchen, with food and dishes to make such a mess.

When I think we don’t have enough money, I am reminded: If you make $33,500 a year, you are among the richest 5% in the world. (source)

When I’m tired from a long day, I am reminded of the blessing of an able body and mind.

During the mist of this realization, days after the school shooting in Connecticut I posted this to Facebook:

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The kids are coloring each other with marker and their bedroom looks like the closet threw up. But before they drive me nuts I think of all the mamas in newtown that would do anything to have their kids drive them nuts today. #perspective #newtown

I am no thankful expert but learning little by little, I have more blessings than 10 people put together.

There are things to be thankful for and complain about in everyday, it just depends on what we are looking for.

What are you thankful for today?

Do you have a “one word” for 2013?

Top posts for 2012

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I can’t think of anything clever or alluring to say here so let’s just go ahead and list what you clicked here for mmm-kay?

The top posts for 2012 on Imperfect people are as follows:

#10 This is a little…uncomfortable

#9 If as first you don’t succeed (or get laughed at)

#8 Losing your life

#7 Im an Imperfect Christian

#6 Where is God when bad things happen

#5) 17 Cheap and romantic date ideas

#4) To all the Imperfect Ladies

#3 A personal story of love and loss through Adoption

On a side note: So proud of my sweet friend Bessie for sharing her story, well God’s story written in her life. And I’m so glad you liked it too. Her newest addition became OFFICIALLY a part of their family just before Christmas!! WOO HOO!!

#2) Kisses from Katie

Love this story. I want to be her BFF really bad.

And your #1 favorite post this past year from Imperfect people??…… Drum roll in the form of the Griswold family please…..

#1 Following a Rock Star

I’m not gonna lie I think people google it with totally a totally different idea in mind but, hey, whatever works.

In other “imperfect news” Facebook “likes” went up a lot this year to a current total of 733 which I’m pretty pumped about

And don’t forget “imperfect People T shirts are still available!

Happy New years to my perfectly imperfect friends!

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They are $15 each and 50% of all proceeds go to charity (this month they go to IJM)


Pre-Christmas De-cluttering

In preparations for the upcoming big day we have been doing some serious de-cluttering around here. It feels so good to know that so much STUFF that was either un-needed or un-loved now has a new home. Making more room for what we do enjoy and making room for new gifts.

It started ilke this:

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And ended like this:

(pictured is the donate pile)

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The “sell” box ended up being the “attic” box. Inspired by the book Simplicity Parenting. I try to keep a limited number on the amount of toys out at a time. I rotate them periodically so they have all “new” toys!

I did however list several items on eBay and came out with about $170!

I just dropped off two additional huge bags of clothes to a local charity that donates to those in need. And had at least 2 big bags of broken toys and extra paperwork that were just straight up trash.

“I thank God for the things I do not own” -Saint Teresa of Avila

Having less clutter means we appreciate what we do have and gives us more space to LIVE.

And it couldn’t come at a better time!

Do you have a designated “de-cluttering” time?  Do you love a clean closet as much as I do?  

A different kind of Advent Calendar

I am pretty excited about this new advent calendar that I scored for $2 thrifting a few weeks ago.

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This is our first experience doing an advent calendar with the girls, and I don’t recall doing one as a kid so I was clueless as to what to put in each day. Internet searches mostly suggested candy which we don’t need and toys which we need even less.

My inner rebel can’t stand doing anything “normal” anyway. So this Christmas we decided to do an advent calendar full of fun activities and lots of ways to GIVE.

Here are a few examples:

1) Write a letter to a soilder (more like draw a picture for our 5 and 3 yr old)

2) Watch a christmas movie

3) Sing a Christmas song at dinner tonight

4) Make a craft for our nursing home friends

5) Deliver our crafts to our nursing home friends

6) Go see Christmas lights

7) Visit the downtown Christmas Celebration

8) Make Christmas Cookies

9) Share some Christmas cookies with a neighbor

10) Read the Christmas story from Luke

11) Act out the Christmas story

12) Put birthday candles in our dinner and sing happy birthday Jesus

13) Read a Christmas book

14) Have a blind taste test with christmas goodies to see which one you like best

15) Write an unexpected thank you note to someone i.e. teacher, janitor or waitress

16)Pick one or your favorite past activities and do it again

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I simply printed out our ideas on card stock and cut with cute scissors (To my perfectionist friends: regular paper and scissors also work just fine, I just had these on hand).

Real life “imperfect” application

  • So far, I am trying to incorporate things we are doing that day ANYWAY. For example on the evening I knew we were headed to the downtown christmas celebration I added that note in that day, or changed it around to fit the correct day.
  • Our crafts are nothing terribly impressive. And we started saving some of their crafts from pre-school to give away at nursing homes as well.
  • I let some events count for more than one day (making cookies one day then sharing the next as an example)
  • Notice how I don’t have 25. The few open days gives me grace to change some around or add to it with upcoming Christmas events. For example on the 23rd our church is helping to feed the hungry which would be a great thing to add. I’m sure we will also have friends over for dinner, a playdate, or Christmas party that will be perfect to add in that day

The main idea was to help us incorporate some intentional time to give back and enjoy the season. The kids look forward to seeing what is next each day!

Do you have an advent calendar? What are some of your creative Christmas traditions?

“Healthy” chocolate chip cookies recipe

Do I have any fellow chocolate chip cookie lovers out there? We make cookies on a regular basis around here. I have toyed with the original nestle toll house recipe and tweaked it just so, to make…in my humble opinion…very tasty, yet good for you cookies! They are not exactly like eating a stick of celery, but as far as cookies go, they are quite healthy.

You may or may not have all of these ingredients on hand. I have discovered myself to be quite the hippy these days with all kinds of crazy ingredients on the shelf. If you don’t have them on hand, maybe this will spark some imagination:

Original recipe:

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

My recipe:

2 ¼ cups king arthur unbleached all purpose flour (any unbleached all purpose flour will do)

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1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

¾ cup coconut oil

1 cup sucanat (i get from lucky vitamin)
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1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large (free range) eggs

A few tablespoons of water to reach desired consistency

2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

The results?

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And our kids like them. So I’‘m happy

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What do you think? Do you have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe?

Your fair trade gift giving guide

Giving Gifts and Changing lives: Thats the beauty of fair trade shopping. Fair trade products are produced by beautiful people half a world away overcoming poverty, slavery, and oppression. Purchasing Fair Trade products provide jobs, and offers dignity to hard working and talented artisans. The fair trade industry is changing lives one purchase at a time.

I did a post on fair trade last year at some of my favorite shops at the time. Since then, I have heard of many more fantastic companies selling great products AND changing lives. If you are not sure what to get this year. Please consider items like……

This snazzy little purse for only $39.50 from Joyn

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Stationary Sets from trade as one $15 for the set from Trade as one

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These earrings for $15 and this ring for only $7! Also atTrade as one

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A sampler pack of fair trade coffee for the coffee lover for only $12 from land of 1,000 hills

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Or this bamboo bowl in my favorite rich red color. On special today for $11.90! from Ten Thousand Villages

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There is plenty more shopping at the links below. Happy Fair trade shopping!

Purse and Clutch

Trade as one

Land of a thousand Hills

Ten thousand villages

Simpler Christmas

Did you know that the average american spent $646 last year on Christmas gifts. The same “average” american is also in $15, 328 worth of debt. Does anyone else see a problem with this?

Of course Christmas is not the only reason people are in debt, but what if we looked at Christmas giving a little differently than our friend, the “average” american.

First let me say I am all in favor of gift giving. When God gave us the greatest gift of all at Christmas it is wonderful to give to others in remembrance of such a beautiful display of love and sacrifice. But do we really remember the beautiful symbol of His gift when we are stuck in crowded malls, and adding stress to our life with hustle, bustle, spending and holiday lists?
Are our kids truly better because they got everything they ever wanted under the tree? If we are going into debt to give gifts then what are we teaching about our values?

Our kids are 3 and almost 5 yrs old. So far we have done very simple gifts but as they get older I know that becomes harder. I asked several families in which I respect how they handle Christmas giving and here is what I found:

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  • “If three gifts were enough for the newborn King of Kings, three gifts are enough for each of our children. We will set a modest budget for gifts for each child. Each gift will be thoughtfully selected to support real-life interests that we see emerging, and develop skills that could be used for God’s purposes at some point. We will never give them anything that supports harmful values or habits.” -Crosswalk.com
  • “At Christmas I got practical gifts, stuff I needed. The video games, etc. I had to earn. I would work for those items. I found some items were not really worth working for, and the ones that were, I appreciated so much more.” -Friend of ours
  • “We give ONE thing in each of these categories: something they WANT, something they NEED, something to WEAR, something to READ” Simple Kids
  • “When I give gifts I try to give homemade gifts, experiences (bowling gift card or massage), or consumables like food. Something they will enjoy and not add clutter”Happy at home

What is right for each family will change over time.

I simply want to keep the focus on the season and not on the number of presents under the tree.

What do you think?

How do you keep Christmas simple at your home?