Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case for a More Joyful Christmas

Bill McKibben, Author Simon & Schuster $12.99 (96p) ISBN 978-0-684-85595-0
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.)
Reviewed on: 11/30/1998
Release date: 12/01/1998
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