Thursday, November 13, 2008

No Holiday Parties

News item: Thursday, November 13, 2008 CNN

Large companies canceling their Christmas parties. Reason: the tanked economy.

I heard this and thought this: Why have Christmas parties anyway? Many of the employees interviewed were not disappointed at all. Most would prefer a gift of money in place of a lavish party.

Made me think about weddings. Average cost in the U.S. around $60,000. That's a pretty substantial party. But what benefit is it to the young couple starting out? Weddings have morphed from a fairly simply religious ceremony to expensive displays. There has been little evolution in thought or consideration of what a marrying couple needs most.

We think there are a few fundamentals missing. One is the idea of community. A wedding could be the occasion for inviting the various 'sub' communities of a couple (church/synagogue/town/extended family/work friends, etc) to give their gifts of wisdom, advice, stories - enabling the couple to begin with a sense of the deep respect and love of those around them. A wedding could express the generational wisdom, customs and stories of each partner's ancestors.

Weddings could also be an occasion for giving - not only gifts of money to the couple as they launch their life together - but giving to disadvantaged families. It could be an opportunity to express community by sharing the generosity of the celebration with one or two families who struggle.

We think weddings can be an individual and community turning point in which the celebration of new partnership draws the community into deeper commitment to one another, raises awareness of the needs of others and helps communities focus on its own possibilities for service, sharing and growth.

The lavish company Christmas parties being canceled right now might do well to re-evaluate their purpose and to use the opportunity to ask 'what is the most useful way to spend this energy, time and money for the good of all involved?'

For more on how to create a wedding that celebrates the heart, contact Stephen W. Frueh M.Div, PhD at 805 338 4286 or Stephen@WithTheseRings.com

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