Toward a more sustainable Cedar Mill
Unplug the Christmas Machine!
By Becky Lovejoy
Where's the silent night? The holy night? If your holiday season is chaotic and stressful, it's time to unplug from the busyness and commercialism that can sneak down the chimney. Re-think old habits and create new traditions, to balance the spiritual world with the commercial one.
Try taking a Christmas inventory to see the Martha Stewart-esque lengths we go to in creating the 'perfect' Christmas. Write down all the things that go into celebrating the holiday, like gift-giving and decorating, parties and travel, cleaning up and thank-you notes, and giving to charity or helping at the church. Cross out those that have little value to you. Then circle those that you enjoy but want someone else to take over. Look at what remains and see if you can hum, "Peace, Heavenly Peace." If not, cross out a few more.
Gifts are great but what if you're unemployed or the budget is pretty lean? Shop locally like at Leedy Grange's first-Saturday-of-the-month flea market or at Second Edition. Make or bake edible gifts, or find things in your attic and storage to re-home. Family members might like a packet of old photos, grown children can get their old games and toys back in festively decorated boxes, and busy parents can receive coupons for services like baby-sitting, yard work or dog walking. Instead of giving dozens of gifts, take the whole family out for a magical evening at ZooLights, visit folks at a retirement home (yes, it's really fun!), or make gingerbread cookies for everyone at work.
What kind of holiday is most meaningful for you? Packing food baskets for the needy? Singing carols by candlelight and sipping cider? Traveling to get away from it all? Or recommitting to your spiritual life by being involved at church and taking time for reflection? Make conscious choices instead of being swept up in hectic shopping, endless parties, and a to-do list that never ends.
"Unplug the Christmas Machine" is a great concept and a series of books by Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli, that give guidance to bringing the magic back to your holidays. "Simplify Your Christmas" by Elaine St. James is another great resource, with 100 ways to reduce stress and recapture the joy of the holidays. The Cedar Mill Community Library is hosting two workshops to Unplug the Christmas Machine on Friday, November 12, 6-7:30 pm, and Sunday, December 5, 2-4 pm. RSVP to reserve a space or get more info and ideas from Becky Lovejoy, Facilitator, at email@example.com.