Enjoying the Holidays by Candlelight (When the Candlelight Is Not by Choice)

The holidays are upon us.

This is my favorite time of year.  Twinkling lights, music, good food, time with family, Christmas readings, gifts…so many traditions…and often so little time.  I enjoy this season tremendously.


Have you ever considered what would the holidays be like if the lights went out?

What if you couldn’t buy gifts at the store…or food for that matter?

What if the life you knew and were comfortable with suddenly changed? It could be because a job loss, a health crisis, an EMP, or even war.  As uncomfortable as that sounds, it’s all very possible …and very real.

What would the holidays be like then?

True, survival at this point takes center stage, and it’s very likely that the holidays would fall dramatically on your priority list.  However, that may not be the case for everyone in your family…especially children.  Times of trial often need activities for an emotional boost, and the observance of traditional holidays could be the very distraction you may need. The emotional well-being of yourself and your family does, after all, play a vital role in your survival.

As strange as it may sound, it could be very beneficial to continue to celebrate the holidays even if the world around you may not seem worth celebrating.


Find ways to celebrate that do not depend on everything to function normally.

First, begin now to include holiday traditions that do not need to be purchased, that do not depend on WiFi or cable, or even activities that do not depend on electricity at all. Here are some examples:

  • family, church, or community gatherings
  • music (sing carols, play instruments, ring bells, etc.)
  • food (simple cookies, candies, desserts, nuts, fruits, etc. – I know food could be an extreme luxury in difficult times, but there are simple holiday recipes [such as shortbread] that need few ingredients that could be considered a special treat.)
  • homemade, reused, or recycled decorations
  • perform service for others
  • reading out loud together (scriptures, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, A Christmas Carol, religious readings, etc.)
  • homemade gifts (cards, homemade wrapping, soaps, food, toys, household goods, clothing, etc.)

Second, find meaning in the holidays that transcends dependence upon worldly things.  Find reasons to celebrate that’s above the need for any tangible stuff.  Doing so would give this time of year significance that would remain even if the lights went out.

This discussion approaches the holidays as if the world stopped functioning under some extreme circumstances, but smaller emergencies such as a job loss could call for these suggestions as well.  In fact, you may find that the inclusion of one or more of these ideas may increase your enjoyment in how you celebrate the holidays now.  You don’t need to wait for an emergency to make the holidays more meaningful for you and your family.

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,

stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?

It came without ribbons. It came without tags.

It came without packages, boxes or bags.

And he puzzled and puzzled

’till his puzzler was sore.

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.

What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.

What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!




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