Workshops will help make the most out of the holidays | ParkRecord.com

Workshops will help make the most out of the holidays

Slapstick holiday films have an easy time lampooning the stress people feel during the holidays.

"Jingle All the Way" and "National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation" are two that come to mind.

However, for some people, the stress and emotions they feel between Thanksgiving and after New Years are no laughing matter.

That’s the main reason Mountain Life Church has teamed with the community and presented "Making the Most Out of the Holidays" for the past five years.

The program, which will be held Saturday, Nov. 16, at the church, helps people "navigate and cope with these difficult times," said Tim Deer, director of care ministries at Mountain Life Church.

The morning will start with a continental breakfast where attendees will get to know each other.

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After breakfast, everyone will hear a keynote speech by Craig Primo, called ‘Turn Christmas Upside Down’ before breaking out into various workshops, Deer said.

"Craig and his wife, Susan, are members of Mountain Life and they are taking a lead on a holiday program and introduced it to the church," Deer explained. "The program is called ‘The Advent Conspiracy,’ and it’s about taking back Christmas to what it originally was, which means to recapture the meaning of Christmas and letting the churches and families to determine what that will be."

The questions posed during the talk are:

  1. What if we resisted entering the holiday tradition of debt and commercialism and spent less and gave more of ourselves?
  2. What if we gave relational gifts — presence instead of presents?

"Americans spend more than $450 billion each year during the holiday season," Deer said. "The was a commentary in The New York Times last August that stated that the world’s clean-water problems would be solved if the world were willing to spend $545 billion over the next four years, and we are comparatively spending that much each year at Christmastime for presents that, in some cases, are forgotten six months later."

The idea of the talk is to urge people to put that in perspective.

"If we did, maybe we could stop the running around, high stress levels and traffic jams and live, breathe, enjoy the season and celebrate for a change, rather than despise it," Deer said.

The breakout groups will begin after Primo’s talk.

"All of these sessions will deal with strategies for a positive holiday experience no matter your life circumstance, and we will concentrate on individual kinds of emotional stress," he said. "In the past, we had several sessions that dealt with emotional well-being and enriching relationships, so this year, the topics will include budgeting during the holidays and dealing with grief."

Three of the sessions will include programs Mountain Life does on a weekly basis — DivorceCare for adults, an introduction to DivorceCare for Kids and a segment called EnCOURAGEment through Cancer.

"We will look at all of the issues that come up within a family that has experienced divorce or has had a loved one that they’ve lost or has been diagnosed with cancer," he said. "It seems the emotions manifest stronger during the holidays."

A new session this year is one called Hopeful Hearts, which is an infertility support group.

"This is the first time we are going to address this particular issue and the couple who is facilitating this session, Jeremy and Evelyn Belnap, has experienced infertility and designed the session as a support group for couples who are in a similar situation," Deer said. "They will share stories with each other, and this will actually become an ongoing group at Mountain Life, as well."

"Making the Most Out of the Holidays" is a free event that is open to the entire community.

"The goal has always been about coping with the season," Deer said. "We will always address grief, because the holidays are a tough time for people who have lost loved ones. That empty chair at the table is hard to face.

"But there are so many needs out there and we try to open up new minds and new ideas and needs for people," he said.

One thing Deer wanted to make clear is that Mountain Life is a church.

"That means we will introduce Christ and God into these sessions, but we’re not in the business of converting," he said. "Everyone in the community is invited to participate and it doesn’t matter what religion they are. ‘Making the Most Out of the Holidays’ is open to all."

Mountain Life Church, 7375 N. Silver Creek Rd., will present "Making the Most of the Holidays" on Saturday, Nov. 16, from 8:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. Admission is free. RSVPs are not necessary, but suggested. To RSVP, call Gail at (435) 647-5855 or gail@mountainlife.org . Childcare can be arranged, but only with pre-registration,.

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