Announcing the New 3rd Edition of A MINIMALIST HOLIDAY

Here's a bigger and better guide to a more joyful holiday.

I've completely revised my book, A MINIMALIST HOLIDAY: Simplify Your Celebration for More Meaning and Joy * (previously published as Minimalism for the Holidays), and added tons of additional content (the word count is almost 50% greater).

* This blog is reader-supported.  If you buy through my links, I may earn a small commission.

Are you dreaming of a simpler Christmas?  

You're not a Grinch, but you want a holiday with less greed, clutter, and stress and more love, meaning, and peace.

A MINIMALIST HOLIDAY can help you identify the Christmas traditions that hold the most value for you and learn to say no to the rest.  It can be your guide to:

  • remove clutter and prepare your home for the holidays
  • budget money and time for maximum satisfaction
  • inject humor and comfort into common holiday challenges
  • help your family learn that the most wonderful parts of the season have nothing to do with gifts!

With chapters detailing an easy pre-Christmas clear out, a sure-fire holiday diet, tips on how to give without buying, and the Danish concept of hygge, there's something here for everyone.

Enjoy this excerpt of A MINIMALIST HOLIDAY.

sleeping infant


Hey!  Unto you a child is born!

"The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world."  This family of six trouble-making, neglected kids has been written off by an entire town.  When they turn up at Sunday school (because they heard that snacks are provided), nobody can believe it.  And when they decide to take part in the annual church Christmas pageant, the protests and dire predictions start pouring in.

Imogene Herdman, the sneaky, cigar-smoking oldest girl, bullies her way into the role of Jesus' mother Mary, and that's just the beginning of how this family turns the pageant upside-down.

For one thing, the Herdmans have never heard the story of Jesus' birth before.  What we take for granted, and what bores all the church kids in Barbara Robinson's 1972 classic, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, is fascinating news to the Herdmans.

Mary is pregnant.  Really pregnant.  She and Joseph are turned away at the inn and wind up in a barn.  When Jesus is born, he has to be wrapped up and put to bed in a feed trough.  An angel from God announces the birth – not to Jewish religious leaders, not to Bethlehem townspeople, but to lowly shepherds in a dark field.  Soon after, when foreign star gazers turn up in Jerusalem looking for the newborn king, the reigning king Herod plots to kill Jesus.

"My God!" yells Imogene, swearing in church.  "He just got born and already they're out to kill him!"  She and her brothers think the innkeeper should be told off and Herod should come to a bloody end.  They call the three wise men "dirty spies," and are incensed that they bring "crummy presents" instead of something useful for the baby.  They wonder what would have happened if the wise men hadn't gone home another way.  What if they had betrayed Jesus?

No Jesus.  Unbelievable as it seems, God's own son is completely dependent on the faith and goodwill of fallible, fallen human beings.

The Nativity
The Herdmans don't transform into sweet, well-behaved children.  But the gift they bring for the infant Jesus and his family is not only practical, but a real sacrifice for them to make.  And Imogene portrays a realistic Mary – ragged and bewildered, but fiercely protective of her child.

Why is this slightly cock-eyed Christmas pageant the best one ever?  The church congregation can't explain the difference, but maybe it has something to do with how the story has been taken out of the realm of "holy" and brought into everyday flawed reality.

And isn't that the essence of Jesus' birth?  The story tells how God appears on earth as a flesh and blood infant, not as a superhero or all-conquering ruler.  He leaves the glory of heaven to be born in less-than-glorious surroundings.  God-fearing but otherwise ordinary humans are part of the plan.

The Christmas season is about fun and family.  It's about feasting and merriment.  And there's no reason it shouldn't include the giving and receiving of presents.

But at its heart, it's the truth of God coming to be with us here, in the middle of our messed-up world.  God comes here because, like the Herdman kids, there's a small, tender, needy part of us that can respond to a story about love, trust, and sacrifice.

The history of the world is always dark, with plenty of reasons to doubt the value of the human race.  But Christmas reminds us that God thinks we are worth redeeming.  That's more than enough reason to celebrate.

The Kindle edition of A MINIMALIST HOLIDAY can be read on your e-reader, phone, tablet, or computer with Amazon's free app, and there's a beautiful paperback edition if you prefer that.  As always, thank you for reading and supporting my work!


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