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Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case For A More Joyful Christmas [Hardcover]

By Bill McKibben (Author)
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Item description for Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case For A More Joyful Christmas by Bill McKibben...

The author of The End of Nature offers a thought-provoking look at the growing commercialism of the Christmas holiday and argues that, by reducing the amount of money spent on gifts, families could enjoy a more rewarding celebration that emphasizes fellowship, togetherness, and community. 100,000 first printing.

Publishers Description
Too many people have come to dread the approach of the holidays, a season that should -- and can -- be the most relaxed, intimate, joyful, and spiritual time of the year. In this book, Bill McKibben offers some suggestions on how to rethink Christmastime, so that our current obsession with present-buying becomes less important than the dozens of other possible traditions and celebrations.

Working through their local churches, McKibben and his colleagues found that people were hungry for a more joyful Christmas season. For many, trying to limit the amount of money they spent at Christmas to about a hundred dollars per family, was a real spur to their creativity -- and a real anchor against the relentless onslaught of commercials and catalogs that try to say Christmas is only Christmas if it comes from a store.

McKibben shows how the store-bought Christmas developed and how out of tune it is with our current lives, when we're really eager for family fellowship for community involvement, for contact with the natural world, and also for the blessed silence and peace that the season should offer. McKibben shows us how to return to a simpler and more enjoyable holiday.

Christmas is too wonderful a celebration to give up on, too precious a time simply to repeat the same empty gestures from year to year. This book will serve as a road map to a Christmas far more joyful than the ones you've known in the past.

From Publishers Weekly
Environmental author McKibben (Maybe One; The End of Nature, etc.) makes an impassioned plea for a less consumer-oriented, more meaningful Christmas celebration. But this book is more than just an echo of the recent vogue for simplicity. Tracing the history of American observance of the holiday season, McKibben discusses both the needs such festivities have filled and the excesses and problems they have created. McKibben avoids the trap of nostalgia for a nonexistent time when Christmas was free of commercialism or drunken reveling, but he recognizes the current holiday frenzy, dread and depression as symptomatic of "the underlying discontent in our lives." He offers thoughtful "new forms of celebration" to fill the cravings for "silence and solitude," "connection with each other and the natural world" and "some relationship with the divine" that plague these times. McKibben also blasts "those relentless commercial forces" that lead Americans to annual overspending. Instead, he suggests making the holidays as much fun as possible, filled with song and food, creativity and connection. One hundred dollars, McKibben says, is not a magic number or even the point, but rather a simple reminder "to give things that matter." Begun as a project for the author's rural Methodist church, this slim book offers us tips on giving one another the priceless Christmas gifts of time, attention and fellowship. Agent, Gloria Loomis. (Dec.)

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Simon & Schuster
Pages   95
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.76" Width: 4.34" Height: 0.56"
Weight:   0.34 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Dec 2, 1998
Publisher   Simon & Schuster
ISBN  068485595X  
ISBN13  9780684855950  

Availability  0 units.

More About Bill McKibben

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Bill McKibben writes regularly for The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, Natural History, The New Republic, and many other publications. His first book, The End of Nature, was published in 1989 after being excerpted in The New Yorker and was a national bestseller. His other books include The Age of Missing Information, Maybe One, and Long Distance: A Year of Living Strenuously. He lives with his wife, the writer Sue Halpern, and daughter in Vermont.

Bill McKibben currently resides in Adirondack Mountains, in the state of New York. Bill McKibben has an academic affiliation as follows - Middlebury College.

Bill McKibben has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Resources for Reconciliation

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > General
2Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Self-Help > General
3Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Self-Help > Happiness
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction
6Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Customs & Traditions
7Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > General
8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Holidays > Christmas > General
9Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Holidays > Christmas

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Reviews - What do customers think about Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case For A More Joyful Christmas?

Succinct but worth reading  Jan 10, 2007
For any spiritual person looking to simplify life and get back to God, this is worth a read. It is only a start, however. I would recommend reading it along with Unplug the Christmas Machine for a more thorough overview of how to simplify Christmas.
A gentle nudge for a different holiday now  Nov 27, 2006
I liked this book. I really enjoyed reading about the history of Christmas, especially in the United States. Though I knew some hazy details, like the invention of Santa Claus as roly-poly from "The Night Before Christmas," I did not know that so many of our traditions are fairly recent. Since I already like Bill McKibben's book, THE COMFORTING WHIRLWIND: GOD, JOB, AND THE SCALE OF CREATION, I was well disposed for another book by him. Here, at the end of November, I am glad to have a renewed focus on Christmas in our cultural setting, so that I will choose how to participate, instead of merely falling into it and being carried along with the season.
Thought-provoking  Nov 19, 2004
This book is a call to reconsider our Christmas traditions, where they came from, and what we want from them. The book is extremely short, and can be read in only an hour or two, but the ideas in it are profound. McKibben begins by describing some of the details of how the American commercialization of Christmas came about in the early 1800s. At that time, wassailing was getting a bit out of hand, so some upper-class New Yorkers decided to reinvent the holiday around some more wholesome traditions of family celebrations and gift giving. As part of this movement, in 1818 Clement Moore brought St. Nicholas into the picture complete with reindeer on the roof with his famous "Twas the Night before Christmas". From there, the idea of centering the holiday on gift-giving grew and grew, much to the delight of department store owners, who were eager to add their own contributions to the holiday pantheon (such as Rudolph, courtesy Montgomery Wards).

McKibben asks us "Are you having fun? Are you enjoying your family's holiday traditions?" Or do you find yourself stressed out with all the competitive shopping and endless wrapping? Do the holidays leave your credit cards maxed out? He reminds us that the tradition of massive gift-giving at Christmas time is only a very recent one in this country. If it's not fun, if it doesn't fill your life with wonder and holiday spirit, why continue with it all?

Instead, McKibben suggests examining your own family traditions. Stop and think- -do you even remember what gifts you received for Christmas last year, or the Christmas before that? On the other hand, what elements of the Christmas celebrations of years past stand out most clearly in your memory? For most, it is the fellowship of friends and family, the wonderful foods, and the music. The exchange of gifts is certainly prominent, but it's often not the actual gifts that are important, but the anticipation, the surprise, the humor, and the unveiling of the gift in the loving presence of all one's family members. McKibben points out that we don't need to spend a lot of money and buy a lot of gifts to enjoy a memorable Christmas. Homemade gifts, gifts to charities, coupons for future services or shared meals together will serve the purpose of gift exchange just as well. It's the love that will make the holiday, not the price tag. As for those who feel that Christmas should be about fulfilling all of our children's material dreams, McKibben reminds us "...if we make that the center of the holiday, we help school [the children] in the notion that transcendent joy comes from things."

The title of the book "Hundred Dollar Holiday" refers to the fact that $100 is the upper limit of what McKibben and his entire family spend on celebrating Christmas. He argues that by setting such a limit, it forces everyone in the family to be creative with their contributions to the holiday. The end result is a holiday season that doesn't feel rushed, but is filled with the warmth of family making gifts for each other, cooking and eating together, and most important, sharing time together.

Beyond suggesting setting a monetary limit, McKibben doesn't provide a lot of specific suggestions for how to re-make the holiday in this book. He includes some general ideas of alternatives to commercial gifts for family and friends, but there are no simple lists of things you can do to save money or cut corners. This is because each family is different, and they need to decide together how they can best enjoy the mystic spirit of the season.
Just make sure you know what you are getting  Dec 5, 2003
I read a newspaper article on financial planning at Christmas that recommended this book as a helpful guide to paring down holiday spending. Based on that, I expected a how-to book of recipes, craft instruction, and volunteering ideas. Though the last chapter does present these, it is short and very generalized.

The rest of the very tiny book is mostly a plea to remember the spirit of Christmas. For what it is, it's fine, albeit short. I think it would have been a far better speech (or sermon) than a book though. Also, I would imagine most of us who would buy this book do not need to be convinced, yet most of this book is persuasive and not practical.

I should add that for those of you (like me) who believe the Christmas spirit should be extended to animals as well, be forewarned that the book does not. Some of the gift ideas include a homemade meat product and a donation to a meat-giving charity, and there is a long segment about how Christmas may have been placed as it was on the calendar to coincide with animal butchering times, which is probably true, just unfortunate and not exactly uplifting. I couldn't help thinking that the author could have saved yet a few more dollars (and a few lives!) by giving sustainable and cruelty-free grain- or legume-based gifts.

Excellent feel-good book - wish it was longer....  Nov 6, 1999
Gift-giving is a good thing, but our gifts can be less about monetary value and more about reaching out to one another. The idea is to give more of our time and care and less of extra stuff that most of us don't need. I gave the book four stars instead of five because it is too short! I would have liked to read more about alternative ideas for celebrating and making gifts. The description of how Christmas has evolved, while pertinent, was my least favorite part of the book. I truly enjoyed reading about how the author's family and friends celebrate Christmas with a minimum of materialism. This is a great book to start of the holidays by remembering what really matters.

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