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TWU professor offers ways to make holidays less commercial

2006


DENTON — With Christmas decorations showing up in stores before Labor Day, and children's cartoons serving as year-round marketing tools, how can families keep the meaning of the holidays alive?

“It's a challenge,” said Dr. Glen Jennings, professor of family sciences and family therapy at Texas Woman's University. “It all tends to get overly commercialized.”

Dr. Jennings said it's important to involve the whole family in talking about the real meaning of the holidays, whether it be Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. Families also need to establish their own way of celebrating the holidays and develop their own traditions.

“Traditions anchor us; they root us,” he said.

Dr. Jennings said families could choose a theme for the holidays, then make decorations and perhaps even choose gifts based on that theme. The holidays also could be an opportunity for families to celebrate their ethnic heritage or learn more about other cultures, he said. Preparing foods and decorations connected to those cultures could become a fun family tradition as well as a learning experience, he said.

Dr. Jennings said holidays should be a time of celebration and fun, with less emphasis on the commercial aspects and more focus on spending time together.
It's often the simple things that bring meaning to the holidays, he said. Playing games together, having a movie night or singing around the piano can make lasting memories. Choosing a Christmas tree is a family activity that can bring the joy of doing things together.

Families also could connect the holiday seasons to nature by camping, hiking or even having snowball fights. Rather than go to the after-Christmas sales,

Dr. Jennings said, families could plan a picnic or some other activity that would bring them together.

“It's togetherness that matters during the holidays,” he said. “Commercialism tends to erode the meaning.”

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For Further Information Contact:

Karen Garcia
Senior Copywriter
Tel: (940) 898-3456
e-mail: kgarcia@twu.edu
 

Page last updated January 22, 2009

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