Guest Author on No Sidebar

I'm so pleased and grateful to once again be featured on the minimalist website, No Sidebar.

The piece I wrote is partly about a holiday tradition in my town, and while I like the photo chosen by the editor of No Sidebar, I thought I'd share an actual photo of one house on Toyon Avenue, so you can see the work of some Christmas-loving homeowners.

What makes the holidays special for you?

Ask anybody what they love most about Christmas.  I've never heard anyone mention receiving gifts.  A few mention making or giving gifts, but most speak of lights and music, snow and coziness, family, memories, and love.  

I hope you're making time to savor the people and traditions that mean the most to you during this season.  It goes by so fast – don't miss it!


  1. Hi I've read the article/blog shared in No Sidebar. It's fun to read how people in other countries celebrate Christmas. It's also nice how you had related the holiday season with minimalism. Do you have other pictures of what Toyon Avenue looks like? It seems like a fun place. I live in the Philippines and even though we have decorations, it's not as extravagant as the one in this picture. It looks nice walking in this avenue. :) Have a great Holiday! :)

    1. This is the only really good picture I have. We also like to walk the extravagantly decorated neighborhood called the Fabulous 40s in Sacramento, CA, about 40 miles from our home (our daughter and son-in-law live with our grandsons in Sacramento, so we visit regularly).

      Most homes that I know of are not decorated any where close to this extensive display. Many streets have no decorations at all, on others you will see a few houses with lights along their eaves or up in their trees. Toyon Avenue is an exception, which is what makes it a December "destination" in our area.

      It is very nice to walk this avenue! We enjoy it so much, and we appreciate the work and expense the homeowners put into it every year.

      Merry Christmas in the Philippines!

  2. Hi Karen! I read your article from No Sidebar and I want you to know how much I appreciate your perspective. Learning about minimalism has been life giving for me but also life draining. It's made me feel guilty for the unnecessary things I do (like decorating at Christmas) but enjoy doing. Your words were affirmation for me and were like a virtual hug. Thank you.

    1. Katharine, thank you so much for your comment. I do feel that some perspectives on minimalism can be, as you put it, "life draining." We are privileged to CHOOSE minimalism. So many people do not have that choice, and are looking for some hope and happiness as they deal with living with less than they need.

      I write from a perspective of a culture that is glutted and overrun with stuff and with busyness. Maybe we're looking for hope and happiness too, but we seem to think it is found in buying and owning way more than we need. We seem to think our value and significance as persons rests in how busy, how "important" we are.

      Minimalism is counter-cultural, but as you said, that doesn't mean we must or should give up the things that we enjoy and find valuable. Minimalism is joyous because the extra, cluttery stuff and activities are removed, letting the things we keep and do shine out, unobstructed.

      Merry Christmas to you and your family.


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