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December 18, 2008 - Jennifer Brookens
Sadly, around the holiday season I sometimes find myself more Charlie Brown-like than Snoopy, and more Grinchy than the cheery Whos in Whoville.

I now understand why my mom was always stressed on Christmas Day, trying to cook the big holiday meal, having dozens of Christmas goodies out or when I didn't play with that "really neat toy" that Santa got me and I pouted because I didn't get what I REALLY wanted. Especially in these tough economic times, I just can't afford to spend $160 on the personalized Vikings jersey my husband has been crying for ever since I met him.

Luckily, as part of the Early Childhood Family Education (through which my daughter attends preschool classes) we parents are also required to have some schooling as well. December's lesson focused on "Unplugging the Christmas Machine." Not only does it take aim at us media and advertisers, but the "Christmas magicians," like my mother and I trying to put on the perfect Christmas.

For anyone who is feeling stressed or depressed thanks in part to the Christmas Machine, I highly suggest the "Unplug the Christmas Machine" book. There will also be an article featured on the presentation given by Patti Mathews at ECFE in Saturday's (12-20) Lifestyle section.

In the meantime, try to remember Christmas is not about receiving or the giving. It's the loving.


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