Saturday, November 25, 2017
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New Celebrations

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New Celebrations provides resources and encouragement for you to rethink what you celebrate, when you celebrate and how you celebrate what you celebrate.

Each of us tends to set into a pattern of doing what we used to do – without asking the question whether there is a better, more meaningful way of using our time and energy and resources.

The problem is that unless we do think about the whys and wherefores, we let outside forces define what we should do and how we should do it.

The whole premise of New Celebrations is that there are always alternative ways of engaging in our celebrations that could take on more appropriate meaning for our lives.

We seek this website to function as an archive of New Celebrations materials that could stimulate and inform you to do things differently.

This is but one of several modals that include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, email newsletter and blog.  Explore these pages and the other modes.

Hopefully, something will pique your interest and provide the kind of information, inspiration and support that you will find helpful.

A Time to Prepare for Christmas

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Traditionally, the Church has set aside four weeks prior to Christmas as a time to prepare.  We call this time Advent.

While most of our culture does take several weeks to prepare for Christmas, most of our preparations have little to do with why we Christians celebrate Christmas in the first place.  And, the day after Christmas, it’s all over . . . and our life goes on as usual.

But, Christmas is so important to the Christmas faith. It helps to explain our relationship with each other, the world around us, and the cosmic God of  all creation.

The real message of Christmas is seldom seen, and seldom understood.

But, some do see.  Some do understand.  And each year more and more people come to see and understand.  And, some provide resources so the rest of us can see and understand.

Warning!  The use of some of these recources can change your life . . . the life of others around you . . . and the life of others you may never meet!

I have seen it happen time and time again.

There are alternative ways to observe this season and prepare for Christmas.  This Christmas could be your best ever.

I am hopeful.

Check out the Advent Conspiracy 

Alternative Checklist: How Much is Enough?

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Each day that passes, the evidence mounts up that it is time for our society to start giving back more than we take from our planet and her people. Our taking (buying, having, discarding) appetite has always hurt Earth and those we trampled. We are now reaping what we have sown, and the impact of our gout is both physical and spiritual.

It is almost painful to recall that for thousands of years great and small people of wisdom have declared that the “good life” could not be bought with money and things. Economist E.F. Schumacher, in Small Is Beautiful, expanded this idea to include freedom and peace: “Only by a reduction of needs can one promote a genuine reduction in those tensions which are the ultimate causes of strife and war.”

“Creative deprivation” for children makes good sense for adults as well. It keeps the senses and mind free of material goods that overwhelm us, in order to have room to experience creative uses of the imagination.

Declaring yourself in the camp of those committed to creative simplicity will happen when you admit that there are limits in life which you have violated. Jettisoning the excess baggage for new ways is a process both liberating and painful and it continues until we die. Fruits come from the daily labor of nurturing the lifestyle which is life-giving. And, as in any garden, there are always weeds and bugs to contend with.

Following is an alternate celebration checklist to stretch your imagination toward specific actions:

   Birthdays
Cut out the junk food.
Give yourself.
Make gifts.
Thank your friend’s parents for her/his life.
Emphasize the uniqueness of the person.
   Your wedding
Create your own wedding celebration.
Ask friends to help with food for the reception.
Request gift money be sent to one of your favorite people- and Earth-oriented projects.
Avoid buying new clothes.
Make your own invitations.
Write your own vows.
   Other’s weddings
Give homemade, self-help craft shop, or recycled gifts.
Give yourself (paint their apartment, for example).
Donate to the couple’s favorite cause.
Give those wedding gifts you never used.
Offer to take photographs, prepare food, or clean up.
   Your funeral
Donate organs to the living.
Donate your body to a medical school.
Have your body cremated.
Be buried in plain pine box.
Ask that donations be made to a cause or charity in lieu of flowers.
   Other’s funerals
Contribute memorials instead of flowers
Start a dialogue in your congregation and community about funeral reform.
Start a memorial society.
Give the surviving parent, friend, or child a blank book for journaling.
The age-old tradition of cooking and baking still holds; prepare some food.
Donate a book to a library, school, synagogue in memory of the deceased.
   Your graduation
Organize an alternate graduation and donate cap and gown, class ring and invitation money to a project.
Encourage family and friends to give to a project in lieu of a gift.
   Other’s graduation
Give the graduate a membership to an environmental group.
Give a good book or a magazine subscription.
Make a personal gift.
Contribute to person’s favorite cause.
   Valentine’s Day
Do not buy candy and commercial cards.
Make homemade alternatives.
Contribute to a prison reform project, or programs to help ex-offenders.
Encourage your neighborhood school to organize an alternative Valentine program on prison reform.
   Birth of your child
Make your own announcements.
Encourage contributions to projects which help less fortunate children.
   Birth of anothers’ child
Offer to help the new parents – be specific.
Give the mom herbal bubble bath.
Give babysitting certificates; parents can call you when they need a break.
Write a prayer, make a quilt, knit or crochet a gift.
Give a book.
Write a letter to the baby, telling how you felt when you first saw him or her.
   Thanksgiving
Plan a meatless dinner.
Give a donation to hunger and First Nations projects.
Organize an alternative Thanksgiving campaign.
   Passover and Easter
Plan meatless meals.
Don’t buy candy.
Don’t buy new clothes.
Contribute to human welfare.
Plan an alternative children’s celebration.
   Halloween
Give fruit or homemade cookies.
Organize collection for hunger project.
Plan a block party.
Give your “treat” money to a hunger project and tell children about your decision.
   Hanukkah and Christmas
Drastically reduce spending.
Make gifts.
Give yourself: your time, talent, skill.
Shop at self-help craft outlets.
Give a gift certificate for environmental or justice work.
Organize an alternate Christmas or Hanukkah in your congregation.
Establish family tradition of giving “unspent” income to people- and Earth-oriented projects.
Create new family traditions which are person-oriented.

©Alternatives for Simple Living. Used by permission.
For more ideas to simplify your life, call 800-821-6153 or visit http://simplelivingworks.org/

Making ThanksGiving ThanksLiving

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As a day that gives voice to our highest ideals, Thanksgiving can be a time to remember with gratitude and humility that we alone are not responsible for whatever bounty is in our lives. It can be a time to confess that part of our bounty has come at the expense of others, including native Americans, slaves, farm workers, and hosts of others we do not even know. It can also be a time to share what we have with others, and include in our celebrations those who would otherwise be alone.

Finally, Thanksgiving can be a time to commit ourselves to creating a world where hungry children are fed, the homeless are provided with shelter, and those who suffer discrimination because of race, sex, religion, or age are respected.

Advent / Christmas

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In the midst of the cacophony of all that surrounds us at this time of year in North American culture, it is increasingly difficult to pause and reflect on the reason for the season and how a more appropriate celebration may be more befitting.

The purpose of this website is to bring together resources that reflect a more healthy, a more sane, a more theologically correct approach to more meaningful celebration of Christmas and other holidays.

Of course, for most of us Christmas doesn’t just happen.  All around us merchants plan for months on end to convince us that they have the solution to our happiness — which, after all, is what we are told the season is all about.

Here, at NewCelebrations.com you will find resources to help reclaim Christmas as a celebration and expression of the faith we hold.

To truly get a handle on a more appropriate celebration, we need to plan — perhaps just as long as the merchants do.
It’s not too early.
It’s not too late.

Take a look at what resources have been assembled here.
Use what may be helpful to you.
With proper planning you can have the most meaningful Christmas ever!
Remember where you are.
Share this web site with others.
Let us know what works for you.
Let us know what doesn’t work for you.
And, may you not miss the birthing of Christ this year.
In these days before Christmas browse, explore, and use Advent resources.

Expand your Christmas celebrations, recall traditions of the 12 Days of Christmas.
And remember Epiphany as the grand culmination of the Christmas season.

The Reverend Clyde Griffith,    CyberMin Resources