Hundred Dollar Holiday; The Case for a More Joyful Christmas by Bill McKibben. It is so good that I check it out from the library every year and read it. Here are a few quotes:
"There is no ideal Christmas; only the Christmas you decide to make as a reflection of your values, desires, affections, traditions. If it takes you two hundred dollars to celebrate Christmas the way it seems to you it should be celebrated, then that's fine. If you can do it on fifty dollars, that's fine, too (unless you're just being cheap). The limit is not supposed to hem you in. Just the opposite-the hope is that it will serve as a spur to your creativity. Having lots of cash (or more likely, lots of credit) may free you in certain ways, but it doesn't spark your ingenuity as much as a challenge. The goal, however, is not to spend as little money as possible, or do as little environmental damage as possible, or any other worthy thing; it's to have as much fun as possible."
"If there is one way in which the world has changed more than any other since 1840...it's that we've become such devout consumers. That consumption carries with it certain blessings and certain costs...but the greatest cost may be the way it's changed us, the way it has managed to confuse us about what we really want from the world. We weren't built just for this life we find ourselves leading-we were built for silence and solitude, built for connection with each other and the natural world, built for so much more than we now settle for. Christmas is the moment to sense that, the moment to reach for the real joys."
This book isn't about squelching all the joy and magic from Christmas, it's about finding MORE joy from the season. It won't stress you out, giving you yet another list of things to do in order to have a simpler Christmas. Instead it plants a seed in your mind, a vision of the way Christmas can be more fun, more peaceful, more Christian, and more filled with deep joy. I've been working toward a simpler Christmas for many years now, each year reminding myself to calm down, and this book has helped me feel less stress, less anxiety, and more hope for what Christmas can mean to me and my family. I can't recommend it highly enough. Here's hoping you have a wonderful, peace and fun-filled Christmas season.