Posts Tagged ‘Presents’

Holiday theft is on the rise, as Christmas nears–

Dec, 11, 2009

Thieves prey on Bellingham homes, cars and stores for the holidays


BELLINGHAM – ‘Tis the season has become ’tis the season to steal.

From late November and throughout December, police typically see an increase in thefts, ranging from vehicle prowls to burglaries, and this year is proving no different, said Mark Young, Bellingham Police Department spokesman.

During Thanksgiving weekend, the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season, Bellingham Police responded to 21 burglaries, 14 vehicle prowls and nine reports of shoplifting, numbers that almost doubled from the same time period one week earlier, according to police records….Read more

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A point I’ve made over and over again in this blog is that in order to simplify your Christmas, you have to do something. You have to make a concerted, positive effort to change those things that are making you miserable with each passing Christmas. In line with this is the “Christmas Pledge, set forth in Unplug the Christmas Machine , by Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli. For your edification, I now reproduce the pledge in its original form, save for adding a sixth element of my own devising to the pledge.


Believing in the beauty and simplicity of Christmas, I commit myself to the following:

  1. To remember those people who truly need my gifts.
  2. To express my love for family and friends in more direct ways than presents.
  3. To rededicate myself to the spiritual growth of my family.
  4. To examine my holiday activities in light of the true spirit of Christmas.
  5. To initiate one act of peacemaking within my circle of family and friends.
  6. To endeavor, after each Christmas season, to carry something of the values of Christmas with me throughout the rest of the year.

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Well, no kid has everything, but let me pose the following scenario to you. I have no doubt that many readers will be familiar with it–

Dick and Jane get lots of presents at Christmas.  Their parents go all out, as do both sets of grandparents along with assorted aunts and uncles. There’s not room for everything under the tree; presents have to be piled on the kitchen table as well. Christmas Eve, or Christmas morning, the unwrapping gets underway, and two or three hours after starting, Dick and Jane are still at it. Paper and ribbon and bows everywhere; the place looks like it’s been hit by a hurricane.

It’s hard to buy for kids like this. First of all, there’s the risk of duplication, especially if you go after this year’s “trendy” toys.  But on a deeper plane, suppose that you feel like you want to get them something that’s special, amongst all those other “special” things (read: special junk)….

Answer: Books. When the toys have lost their novelty a few months down the road, and joined the vast array of rarely-played-with toys that populate Dick and Jane’s rooms, the books will still be there, beckoning. Well, maybe. This strategy probably works better with younger kids who are just learning to read, than it will with older kids who have discovered the allure of the video game. But even if the books go neglected, you will know that you gave it your best shot, bestowing upon them a time-honored, non-passive form of entertainment that enriches both mind and spirit. As opposed to glitzy crap made in Chinese sweatshops.

There’s the added advantage here that you can, with some judicious shopping around in used bookstores, pick up like-new kids books at a substantial savings over the big retailers. Unless you think that spending more money on brand new books means you love Dick and Jane more, that God abhors Christmas thrift, or some other crazy idea along those general lines.

Another idea is art supplies. Most kids like to draw and color, so getting them crayons, colored pens and pencils, art paper, etc., is never a waste.

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Is this the true meaning of Christmas?

Whether one observes a secular or religious Christmas, we are all bombarded each year with messages – both subtle and gross – to buy, buy, buy. It’s no different this year, except that the vast Christmas machine seems to have shifted into overdrive. Watching the evening news over the last week, I note a recurring emphasis on the fact that most major American retailers had the worst October, saleswise, since 1969. While this is certainly newsworthy, the extent of the coverage betrays an array of underlying “details”– (more…)

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If you look to the “Pages” category in the sidebar, you will note a link entitled, “Whatcom County Holiday Bazaars and Gift Shows, 2008.” Even if these normally aren’t your thing, you might consider checking some of them out this holiday season, for three good reasons. First, they tend to be homey, intimate affairs, fostering a sense of community – and that can do a lot towards kindling the holiday spirit. Second – as we all know the nation is in big financial trouble, and I just saw on the news last night that one of the best things that average citizens can do to help shore up their local economies is the simple act of putting money into those economies. During the holiday season, this translates into doing less shopping at those big box stores, and more shopping in local venues, where the money passes directly into the hands of your friends and neighbors. And there’s no better place to start than at the upcoming local church bazaars and community gift shows.

Third, but no less significant than the first two: considering that virtually all of these bazaars and gift shows take place in November and early December, it’s a way to take care of at least part – if not all – of your Christmas shopping early – and then you can spend more time enjoying the holidays later in the season, and less time braving the crush at the mall.

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Over the next couple of months visitors to Simplify Christmas (yes, visits have remained consistently high, even through the spring and summer months of 2008) will notice some fairly dramatic changes in the organization and appearance of the site as I prepare for the official start-up date of November 1st. The first big change is this new theme – which will be modified as needed before the official start-up. Update: 09/27/2208: I’ve decided to stick with last year’s theme – better features, overall.

Do not be alarmed by the changes – Christmas 2007 is past, and Simplify Xmas 2008 is going to be even bigger and better than last year!

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Christmas Eve!

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