Kris Jenner Talks Embracing ‘Aha’ Moments as She Ages

Kris Jenner is counting her blessings this holiday season.

After an eventful year in which the Kardashians-Jenner matriarch, 67, has experienced the lows of a stressful hip surgery and the joyous highs of expanding her family, The Kardashians star has a greater sense of appreciation for life.

“I think that I realize that as every year goes on, I’m more and more appreciative for the special moments in my life with my kids,” she tells PEOPLE exclusively on Tuesday while partnering with the Ronald McDonald House Charities to bring joy to families with sick children this holiday season.

“As I get older — and I had a hip replacement this year, which was a big aha moment for me in many ways — you realize how lucky you are to be healthy and overcome some of these things that happen health wise, which are so minimal compared to some of the kids that I saw or talked to tonight,” she continues. “I just appreciate every single year that goes by.”

Kris Jenner and Khloé Kardashian at the Ronald McDonald House Charities event.
Jerritt Clark/WireImage

Fans first got saw Jenner open up about her hip replacement and recovery on season 2 of her family’s Hulu series. Throughout the season, Jenner often got emotional about aging and the toll it was taking on her body.

“Hearing the doctor say that I need a hip replacement is very scary for me. It reminds me of somebody older than I feel on the inside and somebody who is going to have challenges for the rest of her life,” she said on the show, later adding, “It’s the realization that I’m getting older… It messes with your head because I’ve always felt like I was 40 years old.”

But while getting older has had its downfalls, Jenner admits it has also provided her with a new perspective on family time.

“For me, I also really spend a lot more time with my mom [MJ Shannon], who’s 88, and just really appreciate having her here after all these years,” she explains. “And I feel so blessed to still have her in my life, and she’s doing well. She had a couple of health scares this year, but she overcame that.”

“I love being there for my grandkids and just making those traditions and memories together,” Jenner continues. “To be there for my family and be supportive in any way I can, that’s my contribution to the family — it’s just family first and teaching them how to follow their dreams.”

Kris Jenner with her mom MJ and family.
Kris Jenner /Instagram

Because Jenner has been so fortunate in her life, the momager says she has always been eager to give back when she can. The opportunity presented itself this year when was offered the chance to work with RMHC, which serves millions of children and their families around the world.

The charity’s programs help families with kids who are sick stay together and near health care services worldwide, while also ensuring they are fully supported and actively involved in their child’s care. In 2021 alone, RMHC provided more than 1.8 million overnight stays for families, saving them over $504 million in lodging and meal costs.

“It’s such a wonderful charity,” says Jenner, who met families on Tuesday at RMHC’s Hollywood chapter with daughter Khloé Kardashian. “When my kids were little, we went and visited one of the Ronald McDonald Houses. And it was really a very important visit because it was something I’ve always thought about.”

“As a mom and a grandma, you worry about your family, you worry about everybody’s health. I worry about all my kids every day. And when you have a child that’s sick, it’s really hard because it can separate you from your family,” she notes. “I’m so happy that I went because I met so many families who were there… It really does make you realize how lucky we are and how blessed we are.”

Kris Jenner and Khloé Kardashian.
Jerritt Clark/WireImage

Part of the evening’s festivities included making gingerbread houses with the kids — something Jenner says is a holiday tradition with her own family.

“I love making the gingerbread houses, which has always been a tradition in my family. And it’s always been really fun,” she explains. “It’s something I started when I was a little girl and my grandmother made gingerbread houses with me, so we’ve carried on the tradition.”

“It was really cute to be able to make some houses with the kids tonight and see their faces,” she adds. “And even if it’s just for a few minutes or an hour, to take their mind off of what is happening around them with their families. It was fun.”

Kris Jenner and Khloé Kardashian at the Ronald McDonald House Charities event.
Jerritt Clark/WireImage

Despite her busy schedule, which includes preparation for her iconic family Christmas party, Jenner says she has always prioritized giving back during the holidays, and hopes others will follow her lead.

“It’s always been super important to me my entire adult life to be able to give back throughout the year to people who need something and need resources and need care and need kindness and compassion,” she says. “To be able to do some of these things that really make a difference in somebody’s life is really important to me, and it’s so easy for us to do.”

“When Khloé and I were leaving, I actually was thinking, ‘I wish we could stay longer. I wish we could do more. I wish we could make all of their pain go away.’ It was just such a special evening … that I feel really blessed to have been a part of,” she continues. “And I know Khloé feels the same way.”

“The Ronald McDonald House, I think they’re so deserving, and it’s really amazing how many kids and families that they actually help,” she adds. “Donations go a long way. It’s a great charity.”

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Those interested in donating to RMHC can do so here.