From the Ministerial Intern, Thu Nov 23

“Over the river and through the wood,” the well-known setting of “A New England Boy’s Song About Thanksgiving” by Unitarian Lydia Maria Child certainly captures a child’s excitement and anticipation en-route to the family feasts. “Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!”

“Onto the highway and to the mall…” might be the start of an additional verse in a modern revision as Thanksgiving starts the countdown to winter’s gift-giving and party planning season. Already promotions for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday are dominating the airwaves and social media. And my mailbox has been overflowing with too many catalogs, sometimes addressed to my children! The time has come again to gather them up, log-on to the free service, Catalog Choice, and stop that flow. (Yes, it works!)

I'm not alone, I know, in resisting the push to commercialize our holidays. Efforts like Friday’s Buy Nothing Day and alternative gift fairs that benefit non-profits catch my attention. One online collection of resources I particularly like and recommend for folks and families that want to reduce their consumption, waste and stress is the Simplify the Holidays campaign at New Dream.org. There you’ll find tips for prioritizing connection with friends and family over consumption, including an online calendar feature, a short video to share to spark conversations, and a Simplify the Holidays Pledge.

For a longer, good read, check out one of my favorite reminders of what’s most important this season in this excerpt of an early work about putting joy back into the (Christmas) season by Bill McKibben, from his book Hundred Dollar Holiday.

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