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My Favorite Christmas

Today, I’m moved to reflect on one of my favorite Christmas days. It was three years ago, at my second home on Cortes Island in British Columbia, Canada. Even in this remote location, my then 15-year-old daughter Diana and I were engaged in the usual bustle of phone calls, emails, music, cooking…when suddenly, the power failed.

It became extraordinarily quiet. The house also began to get colder as the central heating system shut down, so we found ourselves huddling ever closer to the fireplace. We cooked on our gas stove, so no one went hungry, but the lack of electricity for kitchen appliances made the fare somewhat simpler than planned.

Friends began dropping by, and they all seemed merrier than is usual, even for Christmas day, enchanted by the novelty of this hushed, primitive, stripped-down holiday experience. I recall the conversations that day as particularly warm and intimate, and remember how we all sighed rather sadly as the power came back on, and the various electronic paraphernalia throughout the house buzzed and beeped back to life.

It’s nothing new, of course, to decry the creeping busy-ness of the holiday season, but this experience taught me to take a slightly different approach. Rather than “fighting” the frenetic, hyper-commercial aspects of the season, Diana and I simply emphasize simple acts such as reading aloud to each other as holiday traditions. There is no better way to create the kind of Christmas - and the kind of life - that you want for yourself and your family than to create positive traditions that emphasize the values that you hold dear. If enough people do that, the excesses of Christmas that plague the planet will simply melt away like snow in springtime.

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Reader Comments (6)

That's good stuff Dr. Weil. I wholeheartedly agree & try to encourage such things constantly. God bless you & your family.

December 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTerri

We had an experience of losing electricity at the end of October one year as we had an early ice storm. I'm glad our wood stove in the basement was cleaned and in working order at that time. We actually found time to visit with each other. It took awhile, but we were able to boil water for coffee and tea and even managed to cook a steak. We had no electricity for three days.

December 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn

After all, it's suppose to be a Silent Night. I'm sure I have favorite Christmases. I'd have to think too long to figure out which one would be up since it's taking me so long to figure out which one it was...I guess I'll have to work toward a picture perfect one in the very near Christmas future so I can write about while it's fresh in my head, ha ha.

December 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSandra

that's what the doctor ordered!

December 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKelli

Isn't it interesting to think about how distancing "modern technology" is but at the same time how it also able to connect us together. Perhaps it only introduces us but the real intimacy of knowing and loving each other can truly only come from quiet moments together? I've found when I turn it all off that I feel less pressured and end up having so much more time.

I'd have to say my favorite Christmas ever was one where I went out of town and stayed in a little Inn along the Mendocino Coast. It was relaxing and just what I needed during the hectic season.

December 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulia Janzen

What a wonderful experience. I think we should all reflect on it and maybe it is time to shut all the power off and try sitting by the fire and cooking with a minimum of appliance and have a simple dinner. I bet we would all be happier and healthier in mind and body.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl Lynch
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