Introductory MaterialsTreasury of Celebrations:
Index for this Section
From Alternatives' Treasury of Celebrations, published by Northstone Books. The entire 288 page book is available for $12.
Items from the books "Treasury of Celebrations" and "To Celebrate: Reshaping Holidays and Rites of Passage" are Free Resources on our Website. These are text files. If you want the graphics and formatting, get the whole book.
You're welcome to download and copy this information -- but not sell it -- as long as you include on each copy: "©Creative Commons. Used by permission. For more ideas to simplify your life, visit SimpleLivingWorks.org"
Part 1: Making Choices
- From the Beginning... xx
- If We Sell You Our Land, Love It xx
- Reverence of Life: A view from the First Nations xx
- Ten Reasons for Choosing a Simpler Lifestyle xx
- Voluntary Simplicity: Lifestyle with a Future? xx
- Fundamental Change in Values xx
- The Psychology of Consumption xx
- How to Live Better With Less - If You Can Stand the People xx
- What Can One Person Do? Spread the Word! xx
- Giving and Receiving Gifts xx
- Gifts in the Consumer Society xx
- Double Your Gift of Love xx
- The Hidden Price Tag xx
- On Creative Deprivation xx
- Choosing and Using Toys xx
- Toys ARE Us! A Parent's perspective xx
Food and Celebrations
- Hunger and the Lifestyle Connection xx
- Food and Celebrations xx
- Do You Serve Feelings or Food? xx
- Family Transition is Half the Battle xx
- One Family's Program for Change xx
- Celebrations in Extended, Single Parent, and Blended Families xx
- Women and Celebration: The Fable of Maybe-Maybe Land xx
- Socializing xx
- Alternative Checklist: How Much is Enough? xx
- The Shakertown Pledge xx
- Conversion: A Letter from Yola xx
Part 2: Gifts
- Gift planning xx
- Different Approaches to Gift-giving xx
- Plants: A Gift of Life xx
- Give A Tree! xx
- Making Gifts xx
- Woods Treasures xx
- Gift Ideas xx
- Ideas from Kids xx
- Make Your Own Greeting Cards xx
- Gift Wrapping Ideas xx
- More Gift Ideas xx
- Some of the Best Christmas Gifts xx
- Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen xx
- Books for Teenagers and Adults xx
- Children's Books are Butterflies xx
- Beyond Disney, Toward Shalom with Books xx
- Storytelling xx
- Prime-time Storytelling xx
Part 3: The Celebrations
January, February, March, April
- New Year's and Epiphany xx
- Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday xx
- Valentine's Day xx
- Purim xx
- Chinese New Year xx
- Lent xx
- Central America Week xx
- International Women's Day xx
- St. Patrick's Day xx
- Spring xx
- Passover xx
- Ramadan xx
- Easter xx
May, June, July, August
- May Day xx
- Pentecost xx
- Savuot xx
- Mother's Day and Father's Day xx
- Memorial Day xx
- Celebrating Summer xx
- National Birthdays: Canada Day and Independence Day xx
- Hiroshima Day xx
September, October, November, December
- Labor Day xx
- Rosh Hashana xx
- Yom Kippur xx
- Sukkot xx
- Thanksgiving and World Food Day xx
- United Nations Day xx
- Halloween xx
- Remembrance Day (see Memorial Day) xx
- Hanukkah xx
- Advent xx
- Christmas xx
- Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway? xx
- Alternative Christmas Congregational Campaign xx
- Organizing a Festival xx
- Kwanzaa xx
Part 4: Rites of Passage
- Birth xx
- Adoption xx
- Birthdays xx
- Early Passages xx
- Puberty xx
- In the Faith Community xx
- Marriage xx
- An Alternative Service xx
- Anniversaries xx
- Second Marriages xx
- Retirement xx
- Divorce xx
- A Service of Ending and Beginning xx
- Death xx
- Hospice Care xx
- Memorial Societies xx
- Bequeathal xx
A Word from Alternatives for Simple Living
Alternatives for Simple Living - generally known as Alternatives - is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to "equip people of faith to challenge consumerism, live justly, and celebrate responsibly." Started in 1973 as a protest against the commercialization of Christmas, it encourages celebrations year-round that reflect conscientious ways of living. Throughout its 23-year history, Alternatives has led the movement to live more simply and faithfully. Alternatives emphasizes relationships and traditions over things, hoping to avoid stress and debt, and promoting alternative giving - helping the truly needy instead of splurging on ourselves.
Alternatives has developed a wide variety of resources (some in Spanish), led workshops, published six editions of the Alternative Celebrations Catalogue, and a quarterly magazine. Their most recent video, Break Forth into Joy!: Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle, won a gold medal at the Houston International Film Festival (religion and ethics division). Alternatives' annual booklet, Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway? has been published since 1988 and is available in 20 different editions for various denominations. It contains an Advent calendar, biblical reflections for Advent and Christmas, activities, and articles.
Alternatives' current catalogue of resources includes material produced by Alternatives, and also books and resources from other publishers on simple living and related subjects such as hunger, the environment, and media literacy. Because Alternatives provides resources for celebrations, they have adopted the motto, "Resources for responsibly living and celebrating since 1973."
A Word from the Editor
It has been a pleasure to work with Alternatives material, and to work with Michael Schwartzentruber at one of Canada's newest publishers, Northstone Publishing, Inc.
Many articles in this book have been previously published in one of the six editions of the Alternatives Catalogue. Although some editorial work was required to update statistics, and a few articles and ideas have been added, it was a surprise to see how the thinking behind creative simplicity needs little change and no apology in 1996. Creative simplicity in the 70s and 80s, perhaps, was ahead of its time. There is no question that as we approach the end of the millennium the lifestyles described in this book are necessary and welcome.
I dedicate this book to children everywhere. Children deserve the best life can offer - a peaceful, clean, just, and safe world. May readers find encouragement and practical ideas on these pages to help bring that about.
Reshaping Our Celebrations
This is a book about joy, spontaneity, caring, justice, and concern for nature. It is a book about celebrating, a book for those who are not satisfied with the models of celebration offered by a consumer society. This book includes the experiences of people with widely varying backgrounds and perspectives, people whose celebrations give voice to the ideals by which they are trying to live.
There is a tradition which holds that the most rewarding life is one shaped around our highest civic and religious ideals, and that the arena for practicing these ideals is in the routine of daily life. It is, to be sure, a minority tradition and it stands in stark contrast to the traditions of the majority - a life of self-gratification through consumption regardless of the adverse effects on other people, on the environment, and even on our own spirits.
In her book, Living More With Less, Doris Janzen Longacre gave voice to that old tradition. She proposed five "life standards" as guides for living according to our highest ideals. While neither new nor unique, these simple life standards are an important framework for thinking about what it means to live responsibly today:
- Do justice. From the Hebrew prophets to our ancestors, the important ideals of fair play and "the common good" are deeply imbedded in our religious and national traditions. Although injustices in our history, in our society, and throughout the world tempt us to be cynical, we are called to be attentive to the way our patterns of living affect other people, especially the poor in our country and in the developing world.
- Learn from the world community. The notion that North America is a cultural melting pot, no matter how flawed, carries with it the insight that we are enriched by an infusion of knowledge and spirit of people from all over the world. To continue this learning in daily life is more than enriching. It may be necessary for our survival.
- Nurture people. The intrinsic worth of all individuals - the importance of their rights and needs - should be the basis of all human interaction. How do we care for each other in ways that neither manipulate nor exploit, but are fair, loving, and humane?
- Cherish the natural order. Rather than seeing nature as a commodity to be exploited or as an obstacle to be overcome, we must learn to respect our environment as a wonderful but finite gift. We must live in harmony with nature if, in the long run, we are to live at all.
- Nonconform freely. Do not let the world squeeze you into its mold, St. Paul admonished the Christians at Rome. Many European immigrants viewed North America as a place where individuals were not forced into rigid social, economic, and religious patterns of behavior. Now, in the era of "mass culture," reclaiming the ideal of nonconformity may be more important than ever.
Celebrations: Regaining perspective
While preoccupation with the details of living makes these ideals seem remote, celebrations are opportunities to regain perspective. Celebrations are ritualized interruptions in daily life that give focus to life's meaning and purpose. Whether in public or private worship or in observing a birthday or a national holiday, celebrations remind us of who we are, where we have been, and where we want to go. For people committed to living by ideals, celebrations are indispensable.
The experiences which make up the heart of this book are like a symphony with many moods and tempos: certain themes recur again and again to undergird and give coherence to the whole.
- Celebrations are rooted deeply in what it means to be human. Without celebrations we lose important ways of nourishing the human spirit.
- Celebrations in our culture tend to be commercialized, making them impersonal, over-consumptive, and destructive to the environment.
- Celebrations are more than entertainment; they are occasions for nourishing relationships and the human spirit.
- > Celebrations are times to forget daily cares in order to remember what is true and abiding. Regaining perspective requires that we "forget" in order to "remember."
- Celebrations are more than personal and family occasions; they are occasions for remembering and celebrating our kinship with the whole human family.
- Celebrations are ways to anticipate the future; they are manageable times in our lives when the future envisioned in our ideals can be practiced in the present.
While these themes recur throughout the many celebration experiences in this book, readers may not find the "ideal" celebration for each holiday or rite of passage. Our intent is to offer possibilities for breaking the tyranny imposed by society (and family) on celebrations, not to impose new ones. We know how far our celebrations are from our ideals. How we go about breaking free of these restrictions and creating new ways of celebrating are matters for individuals and their celebrating communities to decide.
Celebrations as identification
"Let all who are hungry enter and eat," is the way the Jewish Passover Seder begins. It catches that essential element in all genuine celebration: reaffirming our kinship with all humankind. This identification in celebration occurs in three ways:
1. The content of the celebration: When we observe Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, we identify with the struggles of Afro-Americans. In Advent, we experience the fears and hopes of a minority people in the first century. At a funeral, we hurt with those who suffer the loss of a loved one. At a wedding, we rejoice with two people who publicly declare their joy in a new covenant relationship.
2. The manner of the celebration: While celebrations often revolve around family and community, they can be enriched by including those who would otherwise be left without community at times of celebration.
3. The outcome of the celebration: To identify with others in our celebrating means more than remembering our ties to the whole of humanity, and more than occasions to practice inclusiveness in our households. Celebrations are also occasions to identify with others by diverting resources of time, energy, and money to those who are in need. Although celebrations are symbolic acts, resources diverted from celebrations are concrete ways to identify with others.
Welcome in to a new/old way of viewing and celebrating Earth and our fellow travelers on the planet!
Editor: Michael Schwartzentruber
Cover design: Lois Huey-Heck
Consulting art director: Robert MacDonald Northstone Publishing Inc. is an employee-owned company, committed to caring for the environment and all creation. Northstone recycles, reuses and composts, and encourages readers to do the same. Resources are printed on recycled paper and more environmentally friendly groundwood papers (newsprint), whenever possible. The trees used are replaced through donations to the Scoutrees For Canada Program. Ten percent of all profit is donated to charitable organizations.
Canadian Cataloguing in Publication Data
Main entry under title:
Treasury of celebrationsISBN 1-55145-088-7 1. Holidays. 2. Anniversaries. 3. Simplicity. 4. Conduct of life. I. Pogue, Carolyn, 1948-
GT3930.T73 1996 394.2 C96-910435-9
Copyright © 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1987 Alternatives.
Some materials Copyright © 1982 Pilgrim Press.
Licensed 1996 to Northstone Publishing Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced - except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews - stored in an electronic retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of the publisher or copyright holder.
Published by Northstone Publishing Inc.
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