Hundred Dollar Holiday by Bill McKibben

Hundred Dollar Holiday

Too many people have come to dread the approach of the holidays, a season that should--and can--be the most relaxed, intimate, joyful, and spiritual time of the year. In this book, Bill McKibben offers some suggestions on how to rethink Christmastime, so that our current obsession with present buying becomes less important than the dozens of other possible traditions and celebrations. Working through their local churches, McKibben and his colleag...

Details Hundred Dollar Holiday

TitleHundred Dollar Holiday
Release DateDec 2nd, 1998
PublisherSimon & Schuster
GenreNonfiction, Holiday, Christmas, Self Help, Adult

Reviews Hundred Dollar Holiday

  • Ken
    Should I file this under philosophy-religion? Well, maybe more philosophy (5 stars) and less religion (3). There's kind of a "homer" slant to Bill McKibben's assumption that churches and church folk are rank and file behind his move to simplify Christmas, but that's a mighty big assumption. The worst offenders, when it comes to wretched, tinsel-covered excess, come from both secular and holy camps, even if he himself is a Sabbath keeper railing a...
  • Michael
    I love Bill McKibben. He is one of my favorite authors, and--so far as I can tell--a truly decent human being. In this short book, McKibben suggests that the way Americans celebrate Christmas is not, perhaps, the best way to do it. It's bad for our pocketbooks, bad for our planet, and bad for our spirits. I wholeheartedly agree! I used to hate Christmas. Just. Hated. It. I don't mean I minded getting presents; who doesn't like that? I mean the wh...
  • Molly
    Short read about the history of how we celebrate the holidays, and how our celebrations need to change with the times. Since we generally live in abundance these days, we don’t feel much joy from holiday excess. We should instead concentrate on what really matters to us. The book is not about following strict budgets and how that would fix everything, which I was afraid it would be. :)
  • Christina
    Excellent! The biblical & commercial roots of Christmas are reviewed. The reader is encouraged to make the Christmas holiday about time w/family & friends and NOT the mass-commercialization of Christmas that retailers want us to think it is.
  • John Dobbs
    I do not give many books 5 stars. Most books when they are really good are only four stars. Occasionally a book stands out for one reason or another, and this one does. I think it deserves the fifth star because it is so needed. It doesn’t take long to read, and it is so full of common sense and wisdom about observing the holidays that I wish every family would not only read it, but practice it. Hundred Dollar Holiday explains in great detail h...
  • Andrea Mallett
    I liked the concept of not focusing so much on materialism and focusing more on the reason why we celebrate Christmas: Jesus' birth. I liked the first chapter the most because it explained a lot of traditions found during Christmas time and where they came from. The third chapter was kind of nice to hear what the author does to simplify Christmas time. As a wife mother, i didn't feel like I related as much to this male author from his perspective...
  • Linda
    The most fascinating portion of this book is the first half, which relates the history of Christmas celebrations in the most detail I've ever read, and gets us to where we are now.There weren't a lot of detailed ideas about toning down the amount of money we spend at Christmas, but in general is an encouragement to focus on the simpler, more important, parts of the holiday, and concentrate on doing simple things for others, as well as spending ti...
  • Jim
    This is the third time I have read this book. About every five years I drag it down off the shelf to help me get Christmas right in my head once again. This book is beautifully written, simple, life affirming and full of small simple steps to counteract the barrage of consumerism and gaudy excess that has become the American Christmas. Reading it rekindles my hope for a more real and meaningful holiday and lets me know I am not alone in turning ...
  • Amanda
    A very quick read (even for a slow reader like me). It nicely summarizes the reasoning behind simplifying the celebrations of this gigantic holiday. My favorite quote was "Market capitalism, if it is as rational as its proponents always insist, cannot actually depend for its strength on the absurdly lavish celebration of the birth of a man who told us to give away everything that we have." There is a lot of history, a lot of truth, and a variety ...
  • Caitlin
    It’s hard to believe this tiny book was written 20 years ago. I wonder what the author would say about our commercial celebrations now? Its a good reminder to celebrate what the season is all about. The bulk of the book tells of the commercial history of Christmas, some of which was unfamiliar.
  • Sarah Boonstra
    Great concept and the history behind the holiday was fascinating. I felt like McKibben gave up after the second chapter and just threw the last chapter together. This topic deserved more detail, ideas and depth.
  • Michelle
    Good thoughts on how to keep Christmas meaningful and joyful.
  • Lisa Petro
    A quick , easy read. It was ok. I appreciate the sentiment to try and bring meaning back to Christmas. It is a good reminder.Give of your time, not things.
  • Carolyn Munroe
    This is an easy read. The book doesn't reveal anything too remarkable about spending less at Christmas. What it does do is emphasize why it is good to do.
  • Emily
    At just under one hundred pages – little more than an overgrown pamphlet, really – Hundred Dollar Holiday makes excellent points about common modern methods of celebrating Christmas and suggests a shift toward “less is more.” As Mr. McKibben and a few friends started putting on “Hundred Dollar Holiday” workshops at rural Methodist churches, they kept hearing the same desires being expressed by attendees: “The people we were talking ...
  • Kim
    For many years now, my experience of the Christmas season has felt rushed, with too many obligations and too much gift giving. I always thought there was an original and pure way to celebrate Christmas and that it just got out of hand and became overly focused on commercialism in recent years. Each year I find myself longing for a simpler celebration but unsure how to achieve it. So I did what I usually do when I'm looking for answers...I turned ...
  • Dree
    OK. I fully believe in setting limits on Christmas, in giving handmade gifts, and living a simpler life. I fully agree with much of what he says.Honestly, not being religious in any way, shape, or form (other than half-hearted upbringing) I would much rather celebrate the solstice than Christmas, but that doesn't work with our families and the school/job calendars. But our "Christmas" is focused on visiting family, many of whom we rarely see. And...
  • Elise
    Reading "Hundred Dollar Holiday" didn't feel like much of a new experience, largely because I already agreed with much of McKibben's ideas. In this tiny book (I finished it in a day, mostly over my morning and afternoon commutes), McKibben proposes a new kind of Christmas, in which people spend more time and less money, focusing more on tending to relationships than accumulating stuff. I try my best to live as close to this philosophy as I can, a...
  • Mary Lou
    Some interesting history, insights, and conclusions.
  • Brittany
    The book is really short and makes some good points about the holiday, but overall I didn't think it was that useful of a read. I don't like when secularized christmas is used synonymously with this idea of a horrible greedy commercialized christmas. Not everyone that celebrates christmas is Christian and we celebrate it through meaningful ways like spending time with family, having traditions together, and of course gift-giving. The book can giv...
  • Allison
    I found this book after "discovering" Bill McKibben. I really enjoy his perspective . I find his writing style to be thoughtful and informative. Naturally, I wanted to read this book of his."Hundred Dollar Holiday" is a great read leading into the holiday season. It is a rather slim book, so I'd recommend having a copy on hand and re-reading it every year. Starting with a brief history of Christmas as it was celebrated in the past, and comparing ...
  • Hannah R
    If you love Christmastime as you now celebrate it, I recommend skipping over the first half of the book which is an abysmal description of where current beloved Christmas traditions originated from. Reading the second half, the "how-to" portion, about making your family's holiday happier by making it simpler is enlightening. You can envision your family implementing many of his practical suggestions and then breathing a sigh of relief as the stre...
  • Mark
    This work of McKibben’s details his campaign to restore sanity to the Christmas season. A devout Methodist, McKibben lays out in fine but abbreviated detail the history of Christmas and how it morphed from a time of general debauchery to a time of general greed and gluttony. The best point of the book: it is not the secular, godless liberals that have spoiled Christmas, it is the overwhelming cultural message of consumerism, which reads "You ar...
  • Sarahklatta
    Very quick read, but worth the time. Provides a brief, but helpful history of how Christmas has developed, specifically the commercialization of it. Makes the point that we entertain, eat and shop so lavishly now on a routine basis that it is very difficult to create a Christmas celebration that feels special. Instead of trying to accomplish a Christmas beyond our already glutted past experiences, the author encourages us to count what is really ...
  • Carmine
    Didn't break much new ground for me since our family's gift giving is 'thrifted, regifted or make by hand' (or charitable donation.) I did enjoy the background of the invention of modern christmas or how we went from marauding bands of peasants demanding our due from the lord to an inside, domesticated, child-centered holiday. This is not a 'how to' book about keeping your holidays under $100- it is an argument for the decommercializaition of chr...
  • Jen
    I read this book several years ago, but decided to re-read it in light of the coming holidays. While I'm not sure that most of us would even want to attempt a "hundred dollar holiday" (I would find it more stressful than joyful, I think), the premise of the book is sound: focus more on what's important and less on feeding the corporate monster. McKibben gives an interesting overview of how Christmas became the holiday it is today and some ideas o...
  • Laura
    There was a surprising amount of scholarship/research in this very slim little book. I was not expecting to learn as much as I did about the origins of the Christmas celebration, about the differences between medieval cultures and now, and why simplicity actually meets the needs of 21st century people better than the excesses of Christmas (which met the needs of the medieval peasants). All in all, a good motivator for me to stay the course in our...
  • Heather
    Author makes a case for chucking Christmas materialism and getting back to the reason for the season --- Chirst, family, and giving but not giving things but giving time and giving back to the community. Makes an interesting arguement and makes you reevaluate your own celebrations. WHile I do not think I could do all he suggests, this Christmas I will be rethinking why we do some of the things we do and what we need to do differently to give our ...
  • Lisa
    I've read other books on the history of Christmas, so there wasn't much new for me in the early part of McKibben's little (92 pages) book. However, Chapter 3 ("Making Merrier") is what made all the difference, painting a picture of how a holiday can look when the emphasis is on the meaning of gifts, not their quantity. Recommended reading now (as I write this in early November), for a kinder, gentler holiday season.
  • Laura
    I was a little disappointed in this book. I was expecting a little manual on homemade gifts, ways to cut down for the holidays, and how to have a simpler Christmas. The majority of this book was spent retelling the history of Christmas and talking about how materialistic the holidays have become. There was a little bit of "how to simplify" at the end, but it wasn't the focus.I was also disappointed in the author's reasoning for simplify Christmas...