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Recommended Books

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If you use Gift-Circles.com, then these books are right up your alley! Enjoy!

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Skipping Christmas

by John Grisham

John Grisham turns a satirical eye on the overblown ritual of the festive holiday season, and the result is Skipping Christmas, a modest but funny novel about the tyranny of December 25.

176 pages 1st edition (November 6, 2001)


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Hundred Dollar Holiday : The Case for a Joyful Christmas

by Bill McKibben, 96 pages, 1998.

McKibben shows how the store-bought Christmas developed and how out of tune it is with our current lives, when we're really eager for family fellowship for community involvement, for contact with the natural world, and also for the blessed silence and peace that the season should offer. McKibben shows us how to return to a simpler and more enjoyable holiday.

"The Christmas we now celebrate grew up at a time when Americans were mostly poor ... mostly working with their hands and backs," he writes. If we now feel burdened and unsatisfied by the piles of gifts and overconsuming, it is not because Christmas has changed all that much, he adds, "It's because we have."

Related: The Battle For Christmas

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Simplify Your Christmas : 100 Ways to Reduce the Stress and Recapture the Joy of the Holidays

by Elaine St James, 269 pages, 1998.

Elaine St. James, best-selling author of the Simplicity series, puts her insightful and straightforward approach to work on a holiday that's long needed simplification. In Simplify Your Christmas, St. James shares-in brief, easy-to-read essays-a variety of tips that will help readers deal with the seasonal overload. For example, Just Say No to Elmo, Eliminate Turkey Torpor, and Slay the Secret Santa.

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Unplug the Christmas Machine : A Complete Guide to Putting Love and Joy Back into the Season

by Jo Robinson, Jean Coppock Staeheli, 207 pages, 1991.

Nine years and 13 printings since its debut, Unplug the Christmas Machine is still the undisputed guide to creating a joyful, stress-free holiday season. Revised and filled with new material, this book "... offers a wealth of suggestions for combatting commercialism and filling the holidays with simple, spiritual celebrations. ..."

-- The New York Times Book Review

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The Battle for Christmas

by Stephen Nissenbaum, 400 pages, 1997.

Complaining about the ruthless commercialization of Christmas has become something of a national sport in recent years. But as Stephen Nissenbaum demonstrates, Americans have been wrangling about the meaning of Noel for centuries.

This scholarly analysis of our modern celebration of Christmas pulls together a thoroughly convincing case for the widely accepted notion that it is a 19th-century creation ... Christmas was set at December 25 in the fourth century, not for any biblical link with Christ's birth, but because the church hoped to annex and Christianize the existing midwinter pagan feast [which was] based on the seasonal agricultural plenty.

With the year's food supply newly in store, and nothing to do in the fields, it was a time of drinking and debauchery. Until the early 1800s, the season-to-be-jolly coincided with massive boozing, begging, and public vandalism. In 1826, for example, a typical party of holiday revelers in Manhattan pelted a tavern with lime, broke the windows and pews in a neighborhood church, and then tried to remove the iron fence that surrounded Battery Park.

[But] The Victorians hijacked the holiday, and Victorian writers helped turn it into a feast of safe domesticity and a cacophonous chime of retail cash registers. Christmas was transformed into the ultimate family holiday -- a celebration of children and charity (and, of course, commerce).

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Release 2.1 : A Design for Living in the Digital Age

by Esther Dyson, 320 pages, 1998.

"Yes, I do regret that more and more interactions are becoming explicit / commercial / quantified. Everything must be bought or traded, rather than given and received. Some of the online communities are in fact "gift circles," and are trying very hard to resist the forces of commercialization. And some of these are funded by advertising or commerce even as their members exchange gifts. Long may they live; it's a hybrid world!"
-- Read the interview

Geared to the Net newbie, Dyson discusses the changes that the Internet has imposed on many areas of our lives, such as work, communities, and education. She is optimistic about the growth of the Internet and addresses skeptics' concerns about the future of online privacy and security issues, ownership of online content, governance of cyberspace, and more.

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