A minimalist Christmas

It’s just after Christmas, and it’s been a while since I wrote a blog post.  It’s already dark outside at 5pm, but the kids are still outside playing in the front yard that is (thankfully) full of snow.  Owen, our oldest, broke his arm last weekend so he is inside teaching himself how to code (?!).  A fire is on behind me, and I feel like writing.

How different next Christmas will be!  Where will we be?  How will we celebrate?  What crazy stories will we have by then?  Will we miss the snow, the house, the presents, the visits with friends and family?  Will we even be in a place that celebrates Christmas?

You might even be wondering how we are managing this Christmas.  We certainly don’t need more “stuff” around the house that we will just have to store while we are away.  So our Christmas has a kind of unspoken “minimalist” theme.

Predictably, presents this year revolved around our upcoming trip.  Fortunately, we were able to successfully communicate our travel intentions to Santa via our Elf on a Shelf and all the boys received brand new backpacks of awesomeness from the white-haired jolly guy.    Linds and I filled in the details.  In our quest for travel minimalism, here is what we think will be the packing list for each of the boys:

  • 18-24L backpack
  • 1x sling pack for day trips
  • water bottle
  • carabiner
  • pack towel
  • packing cubes
  • travel journal
  • pen, pencil, a few pencil crayons
  • ereader (Kobo)
  • MP3 player (& headphones)
  • tennis ball (easy games)
  • small game (current obsession: Rubik’s cube)
  • headlamp
  • clothing
    • 3x socks and underwear
    • 2x shorts
    • 1x bathing suit
    • 2x pants
    • 3x t-shirts
    • 1x long sleeve shirt
    • 1x hoodie
    • 1x ball cap
    • 1x warm hat
    • 1x vest
    • 1x rain shell
    • 1x shoes
    • 1x sandals/Crocs

Are we crazy?  On the one hand, this list looks pretty comprehensive which makes me wonder how it could possibly fit into a backpack that a six year old could carry.  On the other hand, if a six year old like Eli can carry it, can it possible be enough?

Well, there’s one way to find out.  Let’s pack for Eli.  Might as well make a video!

I should mention, this is the first video of many we will be making for our YouTube channel.  If you like it and want to see more, please like it and hit the subscribe button at the end.


  1. Now that you guys have been traveling awhile, had this been enough? Have you needed to buy clothing? Anything you wish you had packed? Anything you haven’t needed? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jen – We’re almost 8 months in and this packing list has served us surprisingly well. We have definitely bought clothes along the way – mostly to replace those that wear out, but also little things like sunshirts in Sri Lanka so that we could learn how to surf without broiling the skin on our backs.

      We have picked up a tablet or small laptop for each of the kids. Because they do most of their learning online it was necessary. We also carry a curriculum exercise book for each kid to make sure there are no gaping holes. Lastly, we carry Plus Plus blocks – which are kind of like tiny Lego. The kids play with it constantly.

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