Monday, November 17, 2008

Unplug the Christmas Machine

Unplug the Christmas Machine: A Complete Guide to Putting Love and Joy Back into the Season by Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pub. Date: October 1991
SBN-13: 9780688109615
207 pages

Finish on 11/15/2008
Rating: 8/10 B Very Good

Back Cover:

Nine years and thirteen printings later, Unplug the Christmas Machine is still undisputed guide to creating a joyful, stress-free holiday season. Revised and filled with new material, this book will enjoy even greater popularity in the years to come.

"Unplug the Christmas Machine offers a wealth of suggestions for combating commercialism and filling the holidays with simple, spiritual celebrations that help families draw closer together." The New York Times Book Review

Who hasn't said at one time or another, "I need to slow down" or "Why are the stores putting up decorations so early"? Doesn't it seem that we are seeing Christmas decorations or hearing Carols earlier and earlier? At our house the mere mention of Christmas can cause a near rumble. My husband yells that we spend too much; my son wants to be with his family alone; and all I want is a Currier and Ives print with me at the center sitting with my feet propped up and my dog in my lap staring dreamily at the fire.

I was drawn to this book the minute I saw it in the public library. How can I bring peace and joy to our holidays? The chapters of this book offer insight into the celebrations of some pretty typical families and exercises to help the reader examine his or her views on the subject. The authors offer suggestions to handle the more frequent roadblocks in the effort to "cut back."

"When they [adults] have a better sense of the many subtle ways that commercialism has altered Christmas, they can see why the modern celebration seems so flat." (16)

As the above quote shows, much of the book was "preaching to the choir." The authors were not telling us anything new. We spend too much; we rush too hurried; and we all too often forget the purpose. What was new were the suggestions on ways to divert the mad dash and ways to spread the load.

I found the book to be a good resource to help me slow down and it was particularly reassuring that there are ways to avoid the commercialism attached to the season. Christmas is not about the sales. I don't have to buy the bill of goods the malls are trying to push on me.

Even though I intend to string up lights; I can Unplug the Christmas Machine and enjoy my holidays.

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