Journey to the North Pole

Our Second Annual North Pole Party.

It took a little work.  And yesterday, I snapped at Brett, had an attitude talk with Lainey after school, cleaned up messes and threw dirty dishes in places they shouldn’t go fifteen minutes before the party.

But then the kids came and the rest was, truly, magic.

Last night’s memories, preserved:

north pole party from ETST on Vimeo.

Songs: Sufjan Stevens Lo, How Arose ‘Er Blooming, Judy Garland Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Chris Botti The First Noel

Thank you to our neighbor and dear friend, Nana Kate, who helped so much with the magic and mothering; and to my friend, Nici, for her help in getting Santa to call in.

Lots of North Pole Party details in last year’s post, if you’re interested in recreating.

Precious memories.




My friends at Darlybird–and I can truly say friends, not just sponsors–are back with sweet, meaningful gifts for your family this holday.


Discovering Darlybird is discovering a little secret–a site full of artsy treasures, whimsical gifts, home goods full of character–and all at such fair prices. 

New additions to the Darlybird shop include these beautiful cozy friends, made from 100% organic cotton and wool felt.  Nella loves hers.


And this folksy wood mobile, hand carved by native craftsmen.  It hangs over Nella’s high chair.


And finally, a colorful new line of wood art prints:

Loving the Christmas tree light reflection in the glass

Darlybird offers such a great collection of holiday help: vintage-inspired earrings and girly hair bows (stocking stuffers!), unique art and party goods, and fun decorative washi tape and fancy trim for wrapping presents.  Use code ‘darlyenjoy’ for 15% off your order!  So proud to have one of my very favorite sites back with us again!


My girl is begging to go jump in puddles.  Happy weekending.


Leave a Comment
  1. That looks like such a cute party, I can’t wait till my daughter has friends to invite over for parties!

  2. Crying and I’m not sure why…! Beautiful and incredible as always. I wish I had a neighborhood mama like you when I was growing up! Merry Christmas to you guys!

  3. This is such a wonderful post Kelle, found a huge smile shooting up my face while reading this, it’s so cute and wonderful.

  4. So sweet and fun..thanking for sharing this lovely post…helps me get better into the Christmas mode…take care xxx

  5. We already decided to do the party next year, when Ellie is old enough :)

  6. The nostalgia that comes with Christmas music, and the happiness I get from seeing beautiful memories… well, I got all teary-eyed. I am loving that video. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  7. GORGEOUS!! All of it!
    What amazing childhood memories your kids will have Kelle.

  8. So much fun and magic! I can’t wait to create Christmas magic for my little one. =]

  9. Such a great idea! Fun to make it a yearly tradition!! :)

  10. This looked like such a fun party. What a great job with all the decorations, cookies and fun. You really made Christmas specially for all those children. You truly have a gift! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Giving them wonder is so worth the extra effort.

  12. Wow.. Just beautiful x

  13. I have been anxiously awaiting this party…and I wasn’t even invited! :)

  14. Just found your blog Kelle! and your party looks amazing! what lucky kids :)
    Beautiful photos as well
    Ellen xx

  15. That video reduced me to tears.

  16. Oh I love love love your north pole party!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am crying.. Judy Garland didn’t help :-)

  17. I’m crying, too. I’m almost 70, the kids are all grown and on their own, my beloved husband has passed away and I’m left with the memories. Beautiful memories but a terrible longing for what once was. Thank you so much for sharing in the special magic of Christmas..the innocence and wonder of the little ones. Your party, photos, and writing never cease to amaze…you are just so special.

  18. I love the magic you make.
    Merry Christmas!

  19. Ya got me crying like a real idiot over here! *Sniff*
    I think I am going thru menopause because that made me!
    So Sweet!
    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all that celebrate different religions….it’s love that brings everyone celebrate!

  20. That’s amazing the party was adorable! and you better kiss that husband of yours for hangIng all those llights. It reminded me of when I rope my husband into helping me to exicute my “creative ideas”. They dont understand it, but are willing to help anyway (even if they grumble) not everyone has a spouse who will help and I’m thankful all the time. Great memories for your girls.

  21. I can’t believe it’s been a year since the first one! Looks like you did it again. Wonder (ful) woman!

  22. Thanks Kelle, I needed that dose of Christmas spirit. I felt the magic of it all. I wish you and your family the very best this holiday and always. Merry Chirstmas and a blessed New Year too.

  23. So thankful that Im not the only one crying over here! Hats off to the woman that thinks she is going thru menopause, Me too!! Love Love Love when Judy Garland gets invited to the party! Enjoy these precious times Kelle- You are beyond blessed :) Merry Christmas!

  24. I loved your party from last year and this year’s was even more special!

    Love the looks on Nella and Lainey’s faces when Santa was on the phone. So sweet!

    What a great time of year…Merry Christmas!

  25. What is your sugar cookie recipe? I would love to have it as I’m sure many of your faithful readers would as well.
    Merry Christmas!!!

  26. You outdid yourself! It looks like it was an amazing party! Those girls will have memories for a lifetime. Beautiful!

  27. Kelle….
    I loved your video!! Especially the part where Santa called!! How neat was that? ;-]
    “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” just so happens to be one of my very favorite holiday songs!! 😉
    I like that “Home is Where the Heart is” wall hanging!! Beautiful!! And, yours looks lovely with Christmas lights reflecting against its glass frame!! ;-D
    My Star Sign this morning read: “Holiday celebrations and seasonal events are well worth your time. This is a great day to go shopping for refined gifts or to decorate your nest.”. Guess what?! We had previously planned Christmas shopping for today!! How fun is that? 😉

  28. What a magical party. I loved the video. Such sweet little ones.

  29. I’ve had a very rough week- hoping it’s spectacular for the both of us next week. And I love that mobile!


  30. What an absolutely beautiful evening. I was in tears watching the video – you could truly feel the love! Now I just wish you weren’t so far away from me b/c I’m fairly certain we need to be BFFs.

    This is the first time I’ve commented on one of your blog posts, and I’m not sure why b/c I’ve been following you for over 2 years now. I continue to be blown away by you. You are an extraordinary woman, mother, wife, and friend. I look up to you and hope to be the same kind of person in the lives of my loved ones. Thank you for your continued inspiration and feel good stories.

    Who knows, maybe I will be lucky enough to meet you one day. Until then I will continue to “Enjoy the Small Things”.

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you Kelle. Much love from Minnesota – Danielle

  31. Loved the pictures and video! Just magical as always! :)

  32. Truly the most I’ve felt of the Christmas spirit this year, yet.
    Really beautiful.


  33. This was truly magical. Thank you for sharing.

  34. Love it. The video brought tears to my eyes. The wonder and excitement on the little ones faces is so so precious and something to cherish. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  35. I was teary eyed the entire time watching the video… So sweet and such precious memories.


  36. Ok, no fair…I want to be little again and come to your house for a North pole party….no scratch that..I want to be your friend and come to your North Pole party. You really made the magic happen for all these kids….all if you did. Bravo….I’m so jealous! 😉

  37. I’m a hot mess of tears, what a beautiful party. You’re all amazing mamas :)

  38. Absolutely magical. Those children will never forget these memories!

  39. Inspirational as always! Thank you for sharing these moments with us.

  40. That was crazy, crazy magical. If my heart was beating a bit off step from the wonder of it all, I can only imagine what those little girls were feeling.

    You have a special gift of capturing childhood magic. Merry Christmas Kelle!


  41. Seriously you are an amazing mom and your kids are so freakin’ lucky! These are memories they will remember and cherish forever!

  42. Oh my giddy aunt …you got me Mrs H, you got me a good one.
    Merry Christmas Team Hampton.

  43. Awe, you put so much thought and effort into that party! So cute and so fun!

    Great job! Those girls are going to have the best memories!

  44. I usually don’t comment because I feel like it would just get lost in the hundreds of other comments posted…but I have to say…the second Judy Garland started singing, I had a Clark Griswold in the attic moment and felt like I was watching a home movie from long ago. Tears started flowing and never stopped. What a precious treasure you are to your children, Kelle.

  45. Totally adorable! You are an inspiration.

  46. “In the eyes of our children, we find the magic of Christmas – in their hearts, we find its meaning”…….Leland Thomas.

    Your beautiful video exquisitely illustrates my favourite Christmas quote!

    Thank-you for sharing. A warm Merry Christmas to the Hampton Family!…………Rosemary

  47. I loved when Nella giggled and Brett said (if I heard him right), “Is that funny? You a funny baby?” We say that all.the.time. to Nora :). They ARE funny!!!!
    And Nora is clingy, too! Oh my! And I love it :)

    Truly magical memories…Santa calling, the BEST!

  48. Between Judy (my FAVE holiday song!) to the kids singing to Santa;s call I am blubbering like a baby over here. This was magical and nostalgic and just so special. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  49. sounds just lovely!! i’m off to check out darlybird, thanks for sharing 😉 still have a few gifts left to get.

    happy weekend.

  50. This is so adorable! Definitely doing this when I have kids :)

  51. Wow–glad I’m wearing water proof mascara. Made me so testy…looks like such a fun, magical party!!

  52. Teary…not testy…oops!!!

  53. So cute! I would love to know what program you use to make your videos!

  54. What beautiful memories you have created for your family and friends! How lucky are they?! Thank for you sharing!

  55. oh honey, you sure know how to throw a party! I was in tears watching it.. so beautiful! creating wonderful memories for your littles and you.

  56. This was truly the most precious and magical thing I’ve EVER seen!!! What sweet memories you are making for your girls to be cherished for years to come!!!! :)

  57. What a magical night for everyone! So sweet!

  58. Fantastic. You made me smile, Kelle.
    Merry Christmas xx

  59. Beautiful party. You inspire me in so many ways. Happy Holidays to you and your beautiful, growing family.

  60. Hi, I am a sophomore in high school and I am doing a project on special needs people because I feel when I grow up I want to teach special needs children. So I was wondering… What would I have to learn to help someone with special needs?

  61. This is so magical! Made me cry, there is just something so amazing about seeing little ones so excited about Christmas. You are an amazing momma, your girls are so blessed

  62. How wonderful and special of a day! I am with everyone else, I sit here teary eyed looking at their sweet faces and soaking in the soothing Christmas music….what a wonderful Momma you are! And I must say the look on Lainey’s face when she hears Santa on the phone is priceless!You can tell she is tickled pink but just won’t let it show fully, but just gives us that sweet little grin. Merry Christmas to the Hampton family!

  63. Kelle once again you have created for your kids and their friends a magical party full of imagination and wonderment. The call from Santa was so delightful.Loved the music (especially Judy Garland) that you put to the video!

  64. Being someone who lives in North Pole, Alaska.. this is darn close to the real thing. Good job mom!

  65. I miss having little ones at Christmas,,, sniff sniff. Cherish these yrs!

  66. such a beautiful video. you are such an inspiration for me to take those extra steps to make these beautiful and memorable for moments for my kiddos. thank you :)

  67. your party and the joy of the children make this grown up lady believe in the tale of father christmas. well done, beautiful party indeed

  68. What a magical night for those kids and their mamas!!! Brought tears to my eyes to see the joy in their faces….you really brought the Christmas spirit out in everybody! Oh how I wish I had that group of friends like you do and could do something like this….you are very blessed!!!

  69. These parties are SOO fun. Looks like everyone had a blast. We had our party Saturday and used your reindeer food printables. Such a cute idea!!

  70. Wow! Thanks so much for taking time to share this special event. I’m sure they will remember it forever. Merry Christmas!

  71. The world could use more moms (and people) like you. Merry Christmas, Hampton family.

  72. Hi Kelle, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now. Last night, I saw and read Nella’s birth story through a link on Pinterest. Only this morning did I put two and two together! I think your blog is beautiful and inspiring :)

  73. I adore how you think of so many special details for parties and events. Just beautiful. And it was so fun to be a part of it all the way from Montana. :) Glad Santa’s call came through. x

  74. so freaking adorable. i have been looking forward to this post about the party all year long…since the last one. fantastic job!

  75. Holy Tears of Joy Batman!! I lost it somewhere in the middle of your video…at my work desk of all places! What a wonderful preservation of joy and happiness! Beautiful thing you’re doing for those babies of yours…so many memories they will hold onto from moments like these! Love, love, love this.

  76. Sometimes it only takes one person to bring a community together. It looks like you are that one person Kelle. You are inspiring!

  77. Crying and I have no clue why! This is such a beautiful thing you do for your girls and their friends. You are such a great mom and I thank you for all the ideas you allow me to stow away until my little one gets a bit older.

  78. I LOVE Lainey’s face while Santa is leaving a message. Also, thank you for the discount to Darlybird, I just ordered the owl print for my niece!

  79. From one Christmas lover, to another, that was the best Christmasy video ever!

  80. I love everything about this party!!! Perfect. Where did you find the adorable dolls that you used as favors? I love them!

  81. Where did you get those great bottle brush trees? I’ve been having a hard time finding attractive ones.

  82. Amazing!!!! I love it.

  83. I am in love with this video! What great memories you captured!!

  84. I just have to say, THANK YOU for the Judy Garland. The best song ever. I once hear Liza Minnelli sing it live (and now my daughter’s name is Liza!). We are having a toddler version of your party next week and I am SO excited!
    -sarah @simply mommies

  85. Okay, I am so not the decorator or crafty type. BUT, you inspire me to go beyond my popcorn and water for book talk/movie night in 2 weeks. We’ve read the book A Dog Named Christmas so now we’ll watch the movie and I am inspired to make it a bit more North Poleish. Thanks for the beautiful video… it reminds me to save the memories somewhere other than in my mind. Also, it was good to see our G-girl in the background. She looked like she was really enjoying herself. Hug her for us!

  86. Oh thank God I wasn’t the only one out here crying! lol. Beautiful!

    Adopt me, please? 😉

  87. I just got a chance to watch the video and I am a hot mess of tears! Oh how I love what you do for your girls. I’m totally doing a North Pole party for Arya next year. Thank you for being awesome, Kelle!

  88. What a wonderful idea!!! And I love all the details!! The kids must have had such a great time!!

  89. This just warms my heart. I am in “awwww” of everything you do.

  90. What a truely magical nite for you all…. so special.


  91. I’m just crying over Rosie’s post! Fabulous party Kelly!

  92. North Pole Party…Pure Delight! You are such an incredible mama!

  93. Ah… how precious was that party?! I love your videos. Make more :)

  94. No lie…in my next life I want to be a mama like you. Either that or a daughter like Lainey. hmm…..

    p.s. I’m using the Reindeer food labels with my first grade babies next week! thanks for sharing! :)

  95. your awesome!

  96. What a beautiful way to remember this holiday season. This is perfection and I only hope I can be half as thoughtful and creative as this when I become a mother. Love all that you do!


  97. what kind of cameras do you use? I used to be a film photographer before i decided to become a Nurse. I’m training to be an ICU nurse right now but I’de like to get back into photography again. What type of digital camera/lenses would you recommend?

  98. Kelle, Thank you for such wonderful inspiration. I followed in your steps, even using some of your printables! Thank you so much for sharing. This was a great ice breaker for us to get to know some new friends better! Thanks again!

  99. Oh mon dieux! Wha an amazing video!! It makes me cry not sadness but joy! yoou look to have so much fun! I wish i’ll be able to do that with my friends and familly when i’ll have a kids (and husband hahaha)

    Love your blog!

    (sorry for the bad english but i’m french 😉 )

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