Group has different view of Christmas

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The people at Alternatives for Simple Living have a solution if you want to simplify your Christmas, but have friends and relatives who might not understand.

Get the message? Try one of their letter-size flyers or postcards that allow you to tell your friends, in the form of a coupon: “Buy me nothing. I’ll still love you.”

In a bit smaller-size type, the wording continues: “This coupon entitles the bearer to give love instead of mass-produced gifts. Clip it, copy it, give it to your loved ones.”

If those instructions don’t do it, continue reading the smaller print: “Contrary to peer pressure and advertising, happiness and meaning in life come through relationships – within ourselves, with others, with creation and with God – not through stuff.”

Fighting consumerism. Since 1973, Alternatives has been “equipping people of faith to challenge consumerism, live justly and celebrate responsibly.”

The organization stresses simplicity throughout the year and for all holidays, but the commercialization of Christmas is its major target.

“Our Christmas campaign resources are easy ways to urge others to focus at Christmas on traditions and relationships instead of stuff,” said Gerald Iversen, national coordinator for Alternatives.

“It can be hard sharing feelings and ideas about simplifying Christmas when friends and family don’t get it.”

The campaign kit. In addition to Alternatives’ widely read annual booklet for families, “Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?,” the 2001 campaign kit includes new cards, stationery for holiday letters and even a bumper sticker.

The greeting card and matching stationery, “Bearing Gifts Does Not Make Us Wise,” include brief information on alternative giving. The post card and matching stationery, “Buy Me Nothing. I’ll Still Love You,” can also be used for mailings or bulletin boards.

A sampler of all 10 items is $10, postpaid. It includes a booklet of “Carols with Justice,” “Let’s Talk About Christmas family discussion worksheet,” “The Christmas Game,” “Ten Tips for a Simpler, More Meaningful Christmas” and an alternative giving card used to honor people through gifts to charity.

All of the items in the kit are available individually and at discounted quantity prices.

Free information. For a free Alternatives catalog call 712-274-8875 or 800-821-6153. More information is available at www.SimpleLiving.org.

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