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Unplug the Christmas Machine – The Gift of Joy

Do you go through the holiday season without a deep sense of joy?  Then, authors Robinson and Staeheli believe it’s necessary to reevaluate the celebration so you can feel more whole and happy.

“When (people) look around them, they see that others seem to have all the joy that eludes them, and they often feel alone in their disappointment;” however, according to Unplug the Christmas Machine, “The real problem with Christmas isn’t that (people) are spiritually bankrupt or that Christmas is devoid of meaning.  It’s simply that they haven’t taken the time to define for themselves what’s most important to them about Christmas.”  As a result, Robinson and Staeheli argue, these larger issues interfere with the dozens of smaller decisions you have to make during December.

Unplug the Christmas Machine suggests you consider the following value statements, keeping in mind there are no ‘right’ answers.  According to authors, Robinson and Staeheli, this values-clarification exercise should simply help you decide which parts of Christmas are most deserving of your time and effort.

What Are You Celebrating?

  • Christmas is a time to be a peacemaker, within my family and the world at large.
  • Christmas is a time to enjoy being with my immediate family.
  • Christmas is a time to create a beautiful home environment.
  • Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Christ.
  • Christmas is a time to exchange gifts with my family and friends.
  • Christmas is a time for parties, entertaining, and visits with friends.
  • Christmas is a time to help those who are less fortunate.
  • Christmas is a time to strengthen bonds with my relatives.
  • Christmas is a time to strengthen my church community.
  • Christmas is a time to be relaxed and renewed.

As a parent, I always steer away from talk of the naughty list because I think it’s an empty threat.  After a year or two, children quickly figure out presents are pretty much inevitable.  Instead, I try to reinforce the concept of “Goodwill to All” by gathering old toys and donating canned items to our local food bank.

This year, I’m trying a new spin on the 12 Days of Christmas, which I recently read about in Family Fun Magazine.  Children fill a container with acts of kindness and select one each morning.  Then, whether it’s holding the door open for others or helping a sibling pick up their toys, they focus on doing their good deed throughout the day, placing their slip of paper, once complete, into a gift box.  By Christmas Eve, they’ll have a present full of ‘proof’ of their niceness to leave under the tree for Santa.

My hope is that it will provide them with one more opportunity to learn every day can be Christmas.What better reason to celebrate than that?


Victoria Winterhalter

Victoria Winterhalter

Victoria Winterhalter is a mother, teacher, reader, and writer on the education and environment beats for RFM. She has been with RFM since its founding in 2009 and has contributed photos and written numerous articles on education, parenting, and family travel.

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