Table of Contents

Whose Birthday How-To

What Has Happened to Christmas?

What has happened to Christmas? Too much time spent on parties and not enough on the people important to us? Too much money spent on things, but not enough care given to our loved ones? Too much rush and chaos and crush to fit everything in? Why is Christmas so important to us, and why do we so often feel like we’ve missed it?

“Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?” is an alternative to the negative pressures on Christmas. We have asked the same questions and felt the same disconnection between the season and our celebrations.

This magazine has practical ideas to help re-think the ways to celebrate Christmas. Everyone deserves a Christmas that has meaning, value and peace. Slow down, take a breath, and read these suggestions that let the real Spirit of Christ come home this Christmas. – Doyle Burbank-Williams, chair, Alternatives’ Board of Directors

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Why a Simpler Christmas?

Let’s have a simpler Christmas this year!– Editor

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Top 10 Uses of “Whose Birthday?

For Congregations

  1. Distribute copies of selected articles to individuals, families and groups (Use our free promo kit on on-line.)
  2. Bible Study, such as a women’s circle or men’s breakfast
  3. Sunday School and Adult Forum.
  4. Pulpit Talk or sermons
  5. “Simple Christmas” workshop for your congregation or community (Use our “Alternative Event Organizers’ Kit” found in Simple Living 101.)

For Individuals and Families

  1. Weekly Family Meeting & Fun Time
  2. Personal devotions
  3. Mealtime discussion
  4. Extended family gatherings
  5. Christmas planning time or event

Hold a family meeting between Oct. 1 and Nov. 1 to talk about Christmas expectations. What does each of us really want? Who is going to do what? What is really most meaningful? Are we willing to spend less on ourselves and give more to the needy? Write down and post decisions and changes to consider.

NOTE: If you need a DAILY Advent/Christmas guide, choose from 20 at SimpleLivingWorks.org >> Archives >> Advent/Christmas Calendars.

Some are lectionary-based, some are thematic. Copy your choice on recycled paper as a bulletin insert, in your own Advent-Christmas booklet or as a series in your weekly service bulletin, for free.

More Exciting, Helpful Ways to Use “Whose Birthday?”

  1. Give or mail copies of selected article to friends in place of Christmas cards. Insert a personal note or your family Christmas letter (on recycled paper).
  2. Send photocopied articles to friends, relatives and members of your congregation.
  3. Download the text for your church newsletter at SimpleLiving.org >> Archives >> Whose Birthday? Read past editions there too.

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Going Beyond “Whose Birthday?”

  1. Check out the 20+ ideas of our Simpler Living Community Network.  Visit SimpleLivingWorks.org >> Volunteers >> Activities to Try, select an activity. Try it!
  2. Learn how to influence others toward simpler living. Read “Guidelines for Change.” Visit Volunteers >> Activities to Try >> Simple Living 101: How to Influence Others.
  3. Be a proactive volunteer. Read “Simple Living 101: Toolbook for Activists Shy or Bold.” Listen to “Living Simply and Loving It!” in teh archives.
  4. Plan a public event, such as “Unplug the Christmas Machine” workshop. The Leader's Guide is available free in teh archives. Read “Alternative Event Organizer’s Kit.” in Simple Living 101.

We’d love to share your results and ideas with others! See our complete Whose Birthday? User’s Guide at SimpleLivingWorks.org >> Volunteers.

We welcome feedback on our free-of-charge policy.

Weekly Family Time: How to Use These Reflections & Activities

The resources provided here offer individuals, families and other small groups a way to remember the reason we celebrate this holy season. The reflections begin the first week of Advent and follow through the Feast of Epiphany.

+Before Advent begins, make an Advent wreath. Find a book with instructions or follow these simple directions. Take a large, flat, shallow bowl (at least 9 inches in diameter) and fill it with sand or coarse salt. Place four purple candles securely around the edge of the bowl. Place a large white candle in the center. Make a circle of evergreens and place them around the bowl.

+You will also need a manger scene, a Bible and matches. Light one purple candle the week of Advent I; two the week of Advent II, etc. Light all five beginning on Christmas Eve.

+Set aside time each week to worship, perhaps after a meal on Sundays. Invite those who may be alone to join in.

+Depending on the ages of those in your group, adults may want to read the reflections beforehand. Incorporate the activities.

+Read and discuss one Reflection at each meeting. Sing along with the well known tunes of the “Carols with Justice” CD or from SimpleLivingWorks.org >> Archives, scroll down to Carols.

+Gather around the Advent wreath. Take turns reading, lighting the candles, praying, singing and sharing feelings and ideas.

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Let Us Have a Truly Christ-like Christ-mas

by Linda Drey-Nightingale

If you enjoyed this article, you’ll also enjoy. . .

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(c)Creative Commons attribution, not-for-profit license.

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MISSION: Equipping people of faith to challenge consumerism, live justly and celebrate responsibly // An all volunteer educational organization.