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Gift Giving When Living Off the Grid

Have yourself a minimalist Christmas. It's not how much we give. Spending time with those we love is how we live.

For Christmas, either my friends and family are cheapskates — or they finally realize I don’t want material things as gifts. I was very happy to see that the majority of the holiday posts from my friends on my social media were about spending time with family and all the great food instead of all the material presents people received.

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Handmade potholder “from” granddaughter to grandmother

Because most of my immediate family has worked in the medical field, we've never celebrated Christmas on the day of, due to having to work that day and, becauese we are multicultural, we celebrate all the holidays. Why be limited to one day and one holiday? Celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas, the 8 days of Hanukkah, but most importantly, Happy Solstice as the sun comes out and the days get longer.

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Solar nerd alert: Axial tilt, the reason for the season

I had the luck of having parents from different religious backgrounds and who worked very hard to instill in me the value of experiences over things. We celebrated and learned about all the religions and holidays.

I love receiving and giving cards, letters, handmade things (even “useless” trinkets), and volunteering with the needy, but don’t understand why we tend to limit our giving nature to a few weeks in winter. Have you ever experienced the joy of giving and volunteering? Very fulfilling, no matter the time of year!

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I am concerned about the lack of civility in some social media posts I see. We say "Peace on Earth", so let's start right at home and lead by example in the true (pick your religion) way. I am a Rotarian. If we all truly followed the 4-Way Test of Rotary and kept things non-political and non-sectarian as intended, we would truly be better off. This is especially true on social media, where I would suggest we consider beforehand whether our post accomplishes the 4-Way Test of Rotary:

• Is it the truth?
• Is it fair to all concerned?
• Will it build good will and better friendships?
• Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Poem By Bob Iltis

Just nuts parking at the shopping mall
Jacked up debt the bankers know.
Plastic trinkets piled up on the floor,
And oil displacing eskimos.
Everybody knows the turkeys are all GMO,
And the hams are not cage-free.
Seems the folks all around me proclaim:
"Merry Christmas to me".

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I look forward everyday to the interactions I have on my Living Off Grid, Really!?!? Facebook page and hope you will join the discussion there. Stay energized.

Aur Beck has lived completely off-grid for over 35 years. He has traveled with his family through 24 states and 14,000 recorded miles by horse-drawn wagon. Aur is a presenter at The Climate Reality Project, a fellow addict at Oil Addicts Anonymous International  and a talk show co-host at WDBX Community Radio for Southern Illinois 91.1 FM. Find him on the Living Off Grid, Really!?!?Facebook page, and read all of Aur's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


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