• Every year the big national retailers do their best to find out exactly what Christmas means to you, and then super-impose their product onto your vision.  Below, we feature Starbucks' 2013 effort to usurp the meaning of Christmas, "Create Wonder | Share Joy": We think Starbucks coffee tastes good, but it does not create wonder -- at least not the Christmas kind. And when you share their coffee you are not sharing joy, you are just sharing coffee. We do not mind the exhortation to create wonder and share joy;...

  • We often meet people who praise The Christmas Game, but lament that their kids are too young to play. We don't think kids are ever too young to play The Christmas Game -- you just choose your cards carefully. Choosing cards is part of the game, and if we need to do something involving strained carrots, there's a card for that! But there's a better answer: The age or even the presence of children does not matter to The Christmas Game because Christmas is not a children's holiday. Modern commercialism...

  • We often encounter church people who suggest that it might better to give $15 to the poor instead of buying The Christmas Game. There are three reasons why this argument is misguided and leaves everyone worse off. First, exhortation and shaming are not effective at changing people's behaviors. By contrast, The Christmas Game is a proven framework that encourages and institutionalizes acts of kindness far in excess of $15. In other words, if your family plays The Christmas Game, you will end up doing much more than donating $15 to a...

  • Many skeptics suggest that you can't fight commercialism by buying something. We hear this all the time. They say that if you want the benefits of playing The Christmas Game, you have to make your own set. It's okay to make your own game set. That's how we started, and there are plenty of instructions on our website that will allow you to do so. But regardless of whether you make or buy, you'll strike a blow against Christmas commercialism when you play the game, because gift-giving will no longer...

  • If your family is going to escape the commercialism and make THIS YEAR's Christmas more meaningful, more memorable, longer lasting, and more fun -- or if you would like to help your friends and family upgrade their celebration -- drop everything and buy The Christmas Game right now. Five Reasons: 1. The Christmas Game Works!  Buying and opening presents should not be the central focus of the holiday, but it's awfully hard to convince people that they want fewer presents. The Christmas Game gives your family an alternative approach that...

  • A lot of people play defense against Christmas -- they limit their gift-giving, and refuse to participate in rituals like black-friday shopping, or they try not to immerse themselves in Christmas carol Muzak. But resisting our culture's worst offerings is not what The Christmas Game is about.  Our goal isn't to protect ourselves from Christmas, but to create a whole new Christmas tradition that is always joyful, and perfectly tailored to the needs of our families, whether just-beginning or many-generations. We have always believed that our Christmas celebrations should be...

  • We're always sorry to hear the groans of "Too early!" when Christmas talk starts before Thanksgiving. We understand that there is a season for everything, but the intensity of the response suggests that somehow Christmas has become painful -- "If I have to hear one more Christmas carol, or see one more inflatable Santa Claus, or endure one more holiday demand on my attention, I'll scream!" they seem to say. Statements like that suggest an advanced case of Christmas Commercialism, in which the Christmas Spirit has been completely obscured by...

  • In the weeks before Black Friday, the Boycott Black Friday backlash against Christmas commercialism is sure to pick up steam. A Google search for "boycott black Friday" generates 66,000 results.  Without the quotes it's 40 million results. Here at The Christmas Game we boycott Black Friday every year. But we also boycott the day after Black Friday, and the days after that, too. The annual Boycott Black Friday kabuki may feel good, but it doesn't do much, because sending a message to commercial interests that are incapable of hearing or...

  • Retailers have turned on their Christmas engines and are getting ready to usher in a big buying season. Costco's Christmas displays went up in mid-August, and on October 1st Walmart's Christmas display was bigger than its Halloween display. While the big retailers are preparing their assault, we at The Christmas Game are preparing our counter-assault. Although it is too early to celebrate Christmas (we prefer the Advent Calendar), it is never too early to start preparing for a less-commercial Christmas. In fact, if you wait until Black Friday to think...

  • Our family designed The Christmas Game to solve a problem that we and many families we knew were having: Christmas Day was mostly about presents, and we wanted something more: family time, togetherness, Christmas spirit, or just for the warm feeling to last longer. If you want to know how we solved this problem, and how you can, too, check out this quick little cartoon (click to enlarge):

  • Yesterday we met someone bitter about how commercialized Christmas has become. We meet such people all the time. Although everyone's conception of a proper Christmas celebration is different - some would emphasize religious tradition, or family togetherness, or laughter and fun, or family traditions, or a chance to sing, or just a chance to rest - almost nobody welcomes the intense advertising blitz and the relentless demands to buy things. However, most people feel powerless to respond. We cannot, after all, close the stores, turn off their sound tracks, and...

  • We know that too much of a good thing is unhealthy, yet we still sometimes overindulge. We learn as kids to expect on Halloween a big pile of candy, on Thanksgiving a big pile of food, and on Christmas a big pile of presents. Sometimes it feels like we're culturally programmed in December to express our affection with gifts. As a result, people end up spending money they don't have, to give people things they don't need or even want. An obvious response is to do a better job of gift-giving...