The Leader's Guide to "Unplug the Christmas Machine" Workshop: Help

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9780914966081: The Leader's Guide to
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The companion to the classic Unplug the Christmas Machine is now available again! This guide helps leaders create a four hour workshop that helps participants clarify their beliefs and make realistic plans for more joyful, meaningful celebrations. A Participant's Manual is included and can be photocopied.

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From the Publisher:

Started in 1973 as a protest against the commercialism of Christmas, ALTERNATIVES has thrived producing books, videos, and workshops that encourage people to examine and challenge the consumer society. Its aim is to promote living justly and celebrating responsibly, by offering resources featuring creative, simple ideas.

From the Author:

We were inspired by Alternatives to write Unplug the Christmas Machine, said Jo Robinson, so we are delighted that Alternatives is re-issuing the Leader's Guide, especially at a price only half the original.

Unplug the Christmas Machine: A complete guide to putting love & joy back into the season by Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli contains thoughtful suggestions, creative exercises and answers to often-asked questions to help people create celebrations that give them joy and satisfaction.

This Leader's Guide contains complete instructions for a workshop that helps participants create a more joyful, less stressful, and more value-centered Christmas celebration. Based on a carefully designed four-step process, the workshop enables participants to tailor a celebration that meets their individual needs.

We do not advocate a particular point of view in this workshop. Instead, the workshop is a self-discovery process that allows participants to clarify their unique beliefs and combine those beliefs into a workable plan for the coming Christmas. Because of this lack of bias, our work is suitable for nonreligious organizations and for all religious denominations that celebrate Christmas.

The workshop is designed to meet the diverse needs of all your participants. Some people will be coming to your workshop because they want to create a more spiritual celebration. Some will seek help coping with loneliness or depression. Some will be looking for ways to enrich a bare-bones celebration, while others will be wanting to simplify one that has become too elaborate. Whatever the participants' needs, the workshop will lead them step by step to their individual solutions.

We have carefully revised this Leader's Guide over a ten year period so that at each point of the workshop you have the advantage of our accumulated experience. You will find conducting the workshop an enjoyable and rewarding experience -- even if you have no prior workshop experience.

There are four main exercises to the workshop. 1. The first exercise is an inventory participants take to give them the opportunity to reflect on past celebrations. By having an accurate assessment of how they've celebrated Christmas in the past, they gain a better sense of what they like and don't like about their current practices. The inventory examines nine important aspects of the holiday: holiday preparations, family and friends, finances, traditions, spirituality, gift giving, physical and emotional health, children, and charity.

2. The second exercise is a values exercise that asks participants to rank ten common Christmas values. When participants have completed this section of the workshop, they will have a better sense of what is most important to them about the celebration.

3. The third exercise is a guided fantasy that gives participants a chance to create an ideal holiday. Trapped in a mire of habits and obligations, few people take the time to dream about how deeply satisfying the celebration can be. When participants create this vision, they will gain new insight into the positive changes they wish to make.

4. The final exercise is a simple written plan that helps the participants combine traditions and practices that have worked in the past with valuable insights gained during the workshop. By defining goals and objectives, the participants create a valuable tool to guide them toward a more loving, spiritual Christmas celebration.

Each of these exercises is followed by a group discussion, which is an essential part of the workshop. We provide a variety of topics for each discussion period.

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