How important is Christmas anyway?

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By KEN TRAINOR

Christmas is not that important. There's a jarring sentence. Try it on for size. Go to a mirror, look yourself in the eye, and say it out loud: "Christmas is not that important." Say it several times?#34;until the anxiety attack subsides.

Christmas is many things?#34;it's fascinating, it's colorful, it's festive, it's depressing, it's exhausting, it's frenetic, it's sometimes fun, sometimes relaxing, occasionally spiritual, but it's just not that important.

Which isn't to say it's not important at all. Let me put it another way: Christmas is not that important. In other words, however important Christmas is in your mind, reduce it by half?#34;and maybe by half again?#34;and you've probably got it about right.

Christmas is an overinflated tire. The healthiest thing you can do is let some air out. Some, not all. Christmas is one of those areas where less is most definitely more.

"I know, I know," some of you are thinking. "Simplify, simplify?#34;everyone says to simplify Christmas. I would if I could, but I've got kids and an insane extended family, and I just can't. Maybe when the nest is empty."

Yes you can. Wherever you set the pressure per square inch, your kids are going to have happy memories of Christmas. And if you throw a wrench in the gearshaft of your dysfunctional extended family, well, you're probably doing everyone a favor.

You can simplify. You can also oversimplify, so doing it in stages is probably wise. Christmas is not that important, but it is important in smaller ways.

Here's the rest of my formula for a healthier holiday:

Less materialism, more intangibles.

Fewer Christmas carols, more Christmas music (there is a difference).

Less sentimentality, more feeling.

Less television, more conversation by the fire.

Fewer crowds, more small gatherings.

Fewer cell phone calls, more correspondence.

More originality, less trendiness.

Less cliche, more individuality.

Fewer lights, more candles.

Less junk food, more nourishment.

Fewer gifts, more giving.

Less decor, more decorum.

Less hibernation, more oxygenation.

Less habitat, more humanity.

Less consumption, more consummation.

Less melodrama, more resolution.

Less savvy, more wisdom.

Less passion, more compassion.

Less charity, more kindness.

Less self-satisfaction, more celebration.

Less recreation, more renewal.

More romance, less romanticizing.

Less scorekeeping, more reconciliation.

Less nativity, more rebirth.

More mystery, less magic.

Fewer ho-ho-hos, more holiness.

Less snow, more stars.

Less heat, more light.

Less fire, more warmth.

Expect less, receive more.

Christmas is not that important.

Christmas is not that important.

Christmas is just important enough.

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