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Unplug the Christmas Machine: A Complete Guide to Putting Love and Joy Back into the Season Paperback – October 28, 1991

4.7 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Now in its 13th printing, Unplug the Christmas Machine remains one of the most comprehensive guides to managing Christmas stress and combating commercialism. Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli give readers solid advice on how to make their celebrations more spiritual and less materialistic. Practical discussions, such as shopping lists, holiday recipes, and family activities, meld with deeper issues, such as how to teach children that Christmas is more than a present or how to find meaning in the holiday when you're not especially religious. Robinson and Staeheli even delve into the mixed blessings of Christmas homecomings to help readers pass the true holiday stress test.

Review

""Unplug the Christmas Machine" offers a wealth of suggestions for combatting commercialism and filling the holidays with simple, spiritual celebrations that help families draw closer together." -- "The New York Times Book Review""A wide-awake volume dealing with everything from saving time and money to bucking the hidden gift-giving code. With recipes, decorating ideas, even sources of seasonal purchases: thorough and heartening." -- "Kirkus Reviews"""Unplug the Christmas Machine" is more than a 'how-to' book on holiday accessories. It is a complete guide to putting the love and warmth back into the season." -- "Oregon Magazine"
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Rev Sub edition (October 28, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688109616
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688109615
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #765,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Since reading Unplug the Christmas Machine when it was first published several years ago, my family and I have scaled way back materially at Christmastime. As a result, we're less stressed and have more time to spend together doing the things we really enjoy, such as going to holiday concerts, singing carols, baking goodies, reading in front of the fire, writing letters, etc. This book will help your whole family "unplug" from the out-of-control juggernaut that is Christmas in the U.S. It also makes a great gift for friends and family who might need permission to simplify their lives during the holidays.
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Format: Paperback
I first read this book 7 years ago, when I was just married and trying to keep everyone happy at Christmastime, spreading myself far too thin in the process - "Unplug The Christmas Machine" was a lifesaver!!! I learned how to NOT try to be all things to all people (one chapter is aptly titled, "Women: The Christmas Magicians"), how to handle "difficult" family members, how to relax and enjoy the season - a very important lesson. I have loaned or given this book to countless friends and family members - I cannot recommend it highly enough!
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By A Customer on December 5, 1998
Format: Paperback
While I felt overwhelmed with the Christmas machine, I didn't want to give up everything. This book helped me identify what mattered to me and my family. I especially liked the ideas on how to pace the holiday. This suited me much better than the "Simplify Christmas" book which seemed to me to consist more of reasons not to have a tree, send cards etc. than identify what to keep and what to change.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Unplug the Christmas Machine is a thoughtful look designed to help individuals become more intentional about how they celebrate the Christmas season. Based on data, observations and research into how individuals and families approach the Christmas celebrations, the authors have suggestions based on real thought that intends to remind people what their real goals are in Christmas celebration and what they can do to achieve those real goals.

Taking neither a secular nor an especially religious approach to how Christmas is celebrated, the authors are consistent in their desire for people to be intentional in how the holiday is celebrated. For example, they show through their research, the oft-repeated desire for the holidays to be more family centered, is encouraged by a slower approach to celebration, where different individuals in a family are encouraged to participate, rather than just one or two to carry the load.

The markers of modern Christmas - a big family meal with lots of gift giving and a smattering of religious observation are observed in the book as something that has sapped the life of what should be a restful, heartfelt celebration. Certainly stresses in families, due to divorce or other separating factors, combined with the notion of what Christmas is supposed to be, from the retail marketers contribute to how Christmas is often more trouble than it is worth for many.
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By A Customer on May 18, 1998
Format: Paperback
Simplifying the holidays.... Adding joy to a season of intense busy-ness.... Bringing the spiritual aspects of Christmas into clearer focus.... These are all topics covered in this wonderful book---plus much more! Don't wait until December to order this book. The sooner you read it, the easier it will be to make any necessary changes to your personal holiday celebrations.
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Format: Paperback
THis is the best book I have ever read on how to handle Christmas. Some books on this subject get so psychological that one wants to check into a hospital and forget Christmas. I am ordering it for all the family - one copy each.
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Format: Paperback
...then I'll be happy.

I have an unscientific observation. It seems to me the further away someone feels from the "perfect Christmas", the more money, time and resources they devote in pursuit of this unattainable perfection. Speaking from personal experience- there is not enough money, time, or resources that can produce this magical Madison Avenue promise.

It's July, and I just bought this book in the clearance section at Half Price Books ($2.00). Perfect timing!
The book had me at the preface. Although the women/men assigned roles do not reflect my life, I am able to hear the message that lies beyond the language.

To the authors: I've taken the Christmas Pledge and have started to gently share it with my family and friends. Thank you for standing up, speaking out.
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Format: Paperback
At Christmas time, the busy wife, mother and career woman kicks into overdrive. She feels the need to maintain her usual roles while bringing the magic of a perfect Christmas to her family, work place, and church.

If your Christmas cards routinely include an apology for being late and half of your holiday decorations are still in the attic, you are not alone. Let's admit it, the perfect holiday season should include a week off from work in early December.

This book can be a life saver, as it helps you focus on what parts of the holiday season are really important to you. I find the layout of the book easy to use and the structure it provides is priceless.
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