Unplug the Christmas Machine


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"Unplug the Christmas Machine" Still Sparks the Movement for a Simpler, More Meaningful Celebration

The classic "Unplug the Christmas Machine" and its Leader's Guide have been used to lead thousands of workshops on simplifying Christmas.

"'Unplug' is a true phenomenon!" said Gerald Iversen of Simple Living Works! "Started in 1978, 'Unplug' still helps keep the movement for a simpler Christmas strong and healthy. It touches so many lives at such an important time."

"Unplug" continues to receive comments like these recent ones:

"I want to share and encourage Simple Living and these are the best resources I have seen. What a blessing! The Best." (Kerstin Jones, Modesto, CA)

"Thanks for your work on protest against the commercialization of Christmas and focusing on Simplicity! The last two years I have been blessed to teach the course." (Kristjana G. Eythorsdottir, Reykjavík, Iceland)

"I used it as a Sunday School offering. It's good quality and promotes values we need to embrace." (Renee Rico, Wasatch Presbyterian Church, Salt Lake City, UT)

"It gives do-able, sensible alternatives to frantic Christmas practices." (Barbara Kaetzel-Row, Picture Rocks, PA)

"It is a great resource, easy to use. I plan to hold a workshop for church couples group." (Ellen Reeher, St. Paul, MN)

"I am extremely impressed with these materials, especially that they can be used in either a secular or non-secular setting." (Kerstin Jones, Modesto, CA)

What are all these people raving about?

"Unplug the Christmas Machine: A complete guide to putting love & joy back into the season" by Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli contains thoughtful suggestions, creative exercises and answers to often-asked questions to help people create celebrations that give them joy and satisfaction.

The "Leader's Guide to 'Unplug the Christmas Machine' Workshop" helps leaders create a four hour workshop that helps participants clarify their beliefs and make realistic plans for more joyful, meaningful celebrations. It comes for free online. A Participant's Manual is included and can be photocopied. An audio version of the workshop is available at SimpleLivingWorks.org >> Audio/Visual Archives.

The authors say of the Leader's Guide: "This Leader's Guide contains complete instructions for a workshop that helps participants create a more joyful, less stressful, and more value-centered Christmas celebration. Based on a carefully designed four-step process, the workshop enables participants to tailor a celebration that meets their individual needs.

"We do not advocate a particular point of view in this workshop. Instead, the workshop is a self-discovery process that allows participants to clarify their unique beliefs and combine those beliefs into a workable plan for the coming Christmas. Because of this lack of bias, our work is suitable for nonreligious organizations and for all religious denominations that celebrate Christmas.

"The workshop is designed to meet the diverse needs of all your participants. Some people will be coming to your workshop because they want to create a more spiritual celebration. Some will seek help coping with loneliness or depression. Some will be looking for ways to enrich a bare-bones celebration, while others will be wanting to simplify one that has become too elaborate. Whatever the participants' needs, the workshop will lead them step by step to their individual solutions.

"We have carefully revised this Leader's Guide over a ten year period so that at each point of the workshop you have the advantage of our accumulated experience. You will find conducting the workshop an enjoyable and rewarding experience - even if you have no prior workshop experience," say the authors.

There are four main exercises to the workshop.

1. An inventory examines: holiday preparations, family and friends, finances, traditions, spirituality, gift giving, physical and emotional health, children, and charity.

2. A values exercise asks participants to rank ten common Christmas values.

3. A guided fantasy creates an ideal holiday.

4. The simple written plan helps participants combine traditions and practices that have worked in the past with valuable insights gained during the workshop.

Each of these exercises is followed by a group discussion, which is an essential part of the workshop. We provide a variety of topics for each discussion period.

Alternatives' other seasonal resources include "The Christmas Game," "Carols with Justice," the video "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," collections to read aloud or alone, and the family-oriented annual "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?"

Started in 1973 as a protest against the commercialism of Christmas, ALTERNATIVES thrives producing books, videos, and workshops that encourage people to examine and challenge the consumer society. Its aim is to promote living justly and celebrating responsibly, by offering resources featuring creative, simple ideas. of seasonal and year-round resources for adults and children, e-mail Alternatives@SimpleLiving.org. Visit on-line: www.SimpleLiving.org. ###########

Editors: For more information, contact Gerald Iversen. To REPRINT any of the popular Advent/Christmas annual booklet "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?" do so under the Creative Commons attribution, non-commecial, share-and-share-alike license.

NOTE: For a wealth of Alternatives' material for your use, visit SimpleLivingWorks.org. Click on News and on Archives >> Articles Feature Articles.

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This page last updated 2 Oct. 2003

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