How Can We Help?

Why I Don't Celebrate Christmas

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This was the sunset last week on my drive back from Yuma for dental. I just had to stop and take some shots!

This was the sunset last week on my drive back from Yuma for dental. I just had to stop and take some shots!

I’m posting this on Christmas Day so traditionally it should have something to do with Christmas and end with a big cheery “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year.” Or, at the minimum, I’m supposed to say “Happy Holidays to you all!” But I’m not a person who follows expectations and the purpose of this blog is to encourage each of you to NOT follow expectations either. Instead I hope you all march to the beat of a different drummer and choose the path less followed. So today I’m writing about why I do NOT celebrate Christmas. I’m not a Scrooge who hates Christmas; I just hate the harm it does. And I’m trying to choose a path of balance and moderation through the minefield of dangers it presents. Neither am I trying to discourage you from celebrating Christmas, but at the minimum I hope to give you some food for thought and maybe even influence some of your actions during it. The great majority of people who celebrate Christmas are not active Christians; they simply do it because that’s what they’ve always done and what everyone else is doing. If Christmas were a harmless tradition then I would say “So what? It makes people feel better so let’s do it!” But Christmas isn’t harmless! It’s horribly destructive in several ways. Let’s look at the terrible consequences of what Christmas has become.
1) It dilutes and destroys the message of Christianity.
You have to understand, I’m not a Christian, and I do not agree with or accept Christian theology. But neither am I anti-Christian, in fact I find the most basic message of Christianity very admirable and worthy of following: 1) Devotion to God 2) Love of God and Man 3) Self-Sacrifice. I’m sure at one time Christmas was truly all about that message, but what Christmas has become today is the exact opposite of that: it’s all about putting on an extravagant display of selfishness, worldliness, greed and self-centeredness. How can anybody miss the sickening irony of how we celebrate the birth and life of Christ? Think about his message: renunciation of the things of the world to follow a simple and minimal life of love and service to God and man. Now compare that with how we celebrate his birthday every year: an orgy of wasteful, excessive greed and worldliness greater than anything the world has ever seen! I think the association of Christmas to Christianity is part of why nearly all mainline denominations report an overall decline in attendance in the last 30 years. I think if churches came out and said Christmas has become something horrible and we should get back to its fundamental truths, they would be much better off.

2) It teaches our children Greed and Entitlement.

The one thing everybody says to justify Christmas is that it’s “For the children.” But what affect does modern Christmas have on children? In my opinion, a terrible one! It teaches them instant self-gratification and greed. Much worse, it creates a sense of Entitlement; that they deserve everything available and right now!! That sense of entitlement is destroying the fiber of our country. John F. Kennedy has a famous quote: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”  Christmas teaches our children to not only ask for things for themselves, it teaches them that they deserve it, and they have every right to demand it! No country can survive without self-sacrifice by its people and has no future with a population that believes it is entitled to have every good thing being given to them. Is it any surprise that nearly every vandweller struggles the most with getting rid of all the crap they own, and to keep from buying more? Our earliest and most treasured memories associate happiness with getting and owning things. Those early holidays lay a foundation of a lifetime of consumerism and looking for happiness in all the wrong places!

I took this photo earlier today at out dinner. There were 13 of us and we had a wonderful dinner. When Christmas is about connecting with people, then it's right!

I took this photo earlier today at our dinner. There were 13 of us and we had a great dinner. When Christmas is about connecting with people, then it’s right!

3) Christmas puts many people deeply into debt.

“…a recent poll reported by NBC News that claims a whopping 45 percent of all Americans would prefer to skip Christmas altogether, citing financial concerns as the primary reason. Not surprisingly, that same percentage anticipates that they won’t have the money to pay for Christmas without pulling out the plastic.”

Even a minimal amount of Googling will show you a great many people can’t stand up to the pressure to buy the newest and latest for their family and so they put it on their credit cards. Many of them will be struggling to pay for it right up till the following Christmas next year when they just start over again. That means that year-after-year they are slowly piling up more debt that strangles them. Money worries and debt are one of the main causes of family fights and divorce so Christmas ends up harming or destroying the very thing we are out to promote.

4) Christmas physically destroys the Planet.

One of the things I remember most clearly about Christmas is the huge mess that is always left over after tearing open all those presents. There was always a giant pile of wrapping paper and boxes afterwards. Many times I thought how much the garbage men must hate Christmas because of all the extra work it creates for them! But’s it not just the landfills that suffer at Christmas. All that junk we buy has to be produced and transported around the globe and an amazing amount of it will be in the landfill in a very short time. We’re sacrificing the planet we depend on for worthless trinkets that we don’t really want and can’t afford. Even worse, all that crap doesn’t really bring us satisfaction, just the opposite, as soon as we get it we forget all about it and start craving the next thing we can’t live without. But by then the damage to the earth is done. No matter how much we close our eyes and deny it, there will be a day of reckoning for our rape of the earth. But why should we care; it will fall on our children or grandchildren and not on us.

5) Christmas is a source of deep division.

I think one of the main reasons religion is in a decline in America is its attitude of “I’m right and you’re wrong and you better do things my way!” There is nothing wrong with thinking you’re right and wanting others to know it, we all do it. But it’s the intolerance and seeming hatred that goes along with it that people find repulsive. There was a day when non-Christians would tolerate Christmas being shoved down their throat but those days are over—as they should be. I don’t want to be told in song every time I go to the grocery store that “unto you a savior is born,” or “Long lay the world in sin and error pining.” I totally reject the fear and guilt that comes with them. I don’t believe for a second that if I don’t accept Christ as my savior I’m going to Hell.  In my experience, anything based on fear and guilt makes for a miserable life in the long-run so I don’t want to hear it celebrated constantly in song.


I think most people would agree with some of these ideas to some degree but say I’m carrying it too far. That’s a valid point. My goal isn’t to convince you, but to urge you to live deliberately, to give thought to what you’re doing and not just follow the herd. Moderation and balance is generally a safe course of action so that is what I encourage you to seek. Each of us must decide what our own conscience tells us is the right balance for us. I’ve decided I won’t give gifts or have any decorations but I do host a tribal meal at Christmas (if there are other people around). If someone says “Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays” to me, I say it back–and try to mean it. Sometimes people want to say a prayer before the meal, and I offer a moment of silence instead. I do that out of respect for those present who reject prayer and for those who believe in it. Neither are right or wrong, just different and both worthy of equal respect. So look into your heart and live your best possible life whatever path you choose.


  1. Richard

    Right on Bob!
    I couldn’t agree with you more.
    That’s one of the reasons why I live where I live.

    • Bob

      Richard, you mean there isn’t a lot of Christmas music in stores in Thailand!!? How can you live without it!? I don’t think I would move to Thailand to get away from Christmas but I would appreciate it as an unexpected consequence!
      Merry Christmas Richard!

  2. Rob

    I’m a “live and let live” kinda person …. All I can say is better luck next year Bob.

    • Bob

      Rob, I don’t understand what you mean, but I appreciate the well-wishes.

  3. Myddy

    So glad you posted this Bob, I was just discussing this topic today with my SO who is a christian even though I am not. It’s all about commercialism and consumerism now. As a society we are losing the ability to celebrate each others companionship. It’s sad-love is represented by what you can buy, as opposed to what you can show. My family didn’t buy presents for anyone but the 3 year old nephew I have, he got 2 presents from each person and they weren’t anything expensive. We all just spent time together and played board games. I think that’s how it should be- play games, sing songs, eat well and enjoy company. 🙂

    • Bob

      Myddy, I agree totally! It’s one thing to celebrate Jesus (if I were a Christian I would too) it’s another thing to do it by spitting on everything he stood for. And that’s just what Christmas in 2014 does.

      • Myddy

        It does seem like it’s getting a bit worse every year too, or is that just me? I felt like 2014 was definitely the worst so far, but I feel like it progresses.

        • Bob

          Myddy, I think most people would agree with you that it gets worse every year. What’s bad is it will probably just keep getting worse.

  4. Tom

    I’ve been accused of being a minimalist. I have never argued with that, it’s an accurate description of myself. But it does seem to cause problems for the people around me and in my life. They complain they don’t know what to get me for a gift.
    When I’ve been asked how my day is going, I reply “great, my bed was warm and the coffee was hot.”

    • Bob

      Tom, that sounds like a great day to me!

  5. openspaceman

    Retailers make like 60% of their yearly revenue after “Black Friday”. Christmas isn’t for kids…Christmas is for Corporations.
    *As far as religion goes…where I live there’s churches everywhere and they’re all selling a little different flavor and if you don’t buy what your neighbors buyin’…man what a mess. I think if they would melt the Vatican down and take it to the “Cash 4 Gold” store…that would take care of the poor and probably slow the crime rate a little.
    **Not sure who said this: Religion was invented by the rich so the poor wouldn’t murder them.
    ***I can’t write no more…I have to get some sleep. There’s a big after Christmas sale tomorrow…stores open at 6 am. Suckers.

    • Bob

      openspaceman, I totally believe that all religion is an invention of civilization to control the masses through fear and greed (“Send me money and God will reward you. If you don’t you’re going to Hell”).
      Christmas is just the logical conclusion and hucksterism refined to it’s best.

  6. Brian

    Great post Bob! Christmas is hands down thee most bizarre holiday/ tradition. I call it Crazymas 🙂

    • Bob

      I agree 100% Brian. How anybody can think Christmas is a celebration of Christ is totally beyond me.

  7. Old Fat Man

    I find myself very close to agreement with all your opinions on this subject.

    • Bob

      Thanks Old Fat Man!

  8. jonthebru

    The materialism is what got to me about 30 years ago. I was in the radio business and the merchants were very concerned that the dollars spent by consumers were being spent elsewhere, so to oblige we overloaded our hours with spots. The 60% figure is about right but frankly it is not our job to exist as consumers. I have been telling people all this season that I was immune to Christmas, I can handle some of the songs but most are abhorrent.
    At my home there are no decorations to be found. My 2 step kids in their 20’s do not celebrate this holiday but do extend greetings politely as do I. I did watch some old obscure Christmas movies from the 40’s this season, “It Happened On Fifth Avenue”, “Meet John Doe”, and “I’ll Be Seein’ You”. They are all politically Progressive, I heard about them all on the Stephanie Miller Show about 3 weeks ago. I recommend all of them. On my tablet I’m reading “The Nine-Tenths” by James Oppenheim. It has nothing at all to do with Christmas. Its free on Amazon because it was written in 1915 and yes it is progressive also, its about labor organizing in New Yorks Garment District.
    Place me among those who strive to dematerialize and get the right vehicle and move about the country. Some census figures have been mentioned but its only an estimate to say there are about a million RV fulltimers of every stripe imaginable.
    So here is your Hawaiian lesson for the day. “Hau’oli Makahiki Hou” is Happy New Year. (pronounced how-oh-lay ma-ka-hee-key ho)

    • Bob

      jonthebru, you and I think very much alike on this! Thanks for the Hawaiian lesson!

  9. Truth shall be free

    You are partly correct. The ideal about Christmas and the spirit of giving has been replaced by the mantra from organizations that actually run this country: major corporations.
    Since we allow these corporations to hold legal entity and sell public stock, they learned long ago that to keep their job and public buying their stock was to increase the bottom line. The three major influences that affect that are 1) labor costs 2) sales and 3) now healthcare costs. So, 1)find cheaper labor overseas 2) invent advertising that replaces rational and critical thinking by the masses 3) extend the holiday and thus the sales as far as the greater conscience will allow (we now start seeing Christmas displays around Halloween 4) Pass legislation that makes law that the public has to spend more money to make major corporations more money(specifically Health Insurance Carriers i.e. Affordable Healthcare Act).
    It isn’t the Grinch That Stole Christmas, it was the Corporations that PROFIT from it and lawmakers that are in bed with them. If anyone thinks for a second that Christmas in America is about Christian values they are highly delusional. I am proud to be a Christian, but I am appalled at what this country has become.
    Now back to this commercial…

    • Bob

      I agree totally Truth Shall be Free! Rejecting or accepting Christmas is not about being a Christian or not, it’s about being a thinking person. The more you think about everything Christmas is, the more you have to reject it whether you are a Christian or not.
      While I agree totally with your history review, I think you need to take it back even further. Nearly all Christian holidays have their roots in paganism. Using Holidays as a means to control the poor masses to get their money and get them to do whatever you want goes back much further than just the modern corporations. The churches were the original greedy corporations.

  10. Karen

    It’s good to know I’m not alone. Christmas behavior grows more bizarre to me each year. So insane.

    • Bob

      Karen, “Insane” really is the only word that can describe how we celebrate the birth of the founder of Christianity.

  11. Elizabeth

    Why I love Christmas: our son had a week off to visit us for the first time in a year, the day he told us he was coming I went in the woods and cut down a tree, every ornament i pull from the box has a memory that makes me smile, my neighbor gave us a lovely piece of venison loin for our Xmas dinner, i was given a scanner to put old photos on my computer to continue minimalising for our future class B life, singing to the music makes me happy and dancey (esp. my pandora Xmas blues station), i eat homemade pumpkin pie for breakfast everyday, I love playing Santa and putting toothbrushes, deodorants, yummy organic chocolate bars and socks in the stockings, i knit scarves for my family in fun colors, when I went to the Apple store for a class I was delighted because I didn’t have to buy anything at the mall……
    That being said, I completely agree with you Bob, LOL!!! You are a gift……..thank you.

    • Bob

      Elizabeth, what a lovely picture you paint!! I can totally understand how it could be a wonderful time for you!
      And then you tell say you completely agree with me!! You are a very wise woman Elizabeth!! It takes a special person to know that life is more than black-and white “ideas” and truths. In so many ways life can be a paradox and holding and living with opposing ideas is fine.
      Identical actions can be taken by two people, and for one it is wonderful and admirable and for the other it is just following the crowd and pathetic. Your life sounds wonderful, and I do admire you!

  12. Rick

    In my opinion this was the worst post ever written on this blog.

    • Sunday

      I agree.

      • Bob

        Thanks Sunday!

        • Bob

          Oops, I didn’t notice that you were saying this was the worst post ever, Sandy. I’d be very interested in knowing why you think that.

    • Bob

      Rick I very much appreciate your opinion and your honesty! I’d be very interested in hearing why you feel that way. I promise I won’t mock or belittle your views in any way!
      Your opinion matters to me and I’d like to better understand it.

  13. Linda Sand


    • Bob

      Thanks Linda!

  14. PamP

    Bob; you certainly have the right take on the commercialization of Christmas. It grieves me to see all the buy, buy, buy stuff.
    However, I do celebrate Christmas in my own way. Simply. Quietly. Alone. I don’t have to refuse Christmas – just delete all the extraneous things that hide its original meaning. I will have to say its easier now that I’m retired and living in my travel trailer with two little doggies for company. I am so grateful for the option of living in my own way.

    • Bob

      PamP, I understand totally! There is nothing wrong with a Christian (or anyone else for that matter) wanting to celebrate the birth and life of Christ. That’s very reasonable. And it sounds like you have found a very balanced way to do it.
      For that matter, there is nothing wrong with finding meaning in the Holiday tradition of gathering with family. I’d have to say that I do that myself by hosting meals on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. In a sense, I am celebrating them, but because I’m not a Christian I just leave out all the religious aspects.
      I over-think everything, I think you have found a better balance than I have!

  15. Offroad

    Heresy!! You must be a follower of Krampus the Christmas demon. (Look it up). Unfortunately completely true bob. Everything you posted. Too much affluenza. Do what you can to carry a torch of truthful life style living for us to consider.

    • Bob

      Ofroad, you could argue that I look a little bit like him! Some sites described him as a looking like a “hairy beast” and that kind of describes me!
      But I’m pretty sure I’ve never taken any children off to hell with me!
      Interesting, I had never heard of that before. Glad we got rid of that part of Christmas!

  16. Calvin R

    Hi, Bob! I share every word of each idea on this post, and you said it better than I could. I’m a skilled writer, but on this one your ideas flow beautifully from one to the other.
    The only way I can add to this is to comment on, “No matter how much we close our eyes and deny it, there will be a day of reckoning for our rape of the earth. But why should we care; it will fall on our children or grandchildren and not on us.” In my case, I have a lifelong belief in reincarnation. That day of reckoning will fall on me, in this lifetime or another. I think that belief changes my spirit for the better.
    My personal viewpoint of Christmas has evolved. I gave up celebrating the commercial holiday at about age 15, three or four years after I gave up Christianity as a potential path for me. Over time, I got over my resentments and began to see that others could follow a Christian path in their own healing. Now I still do not “celebrate” Christmas but I have gained some real sympathy for sincere Christians, and I see the damage to them exactly as you do.
    Incidentally, when all else fails, marketers use the economy as a reason I should buy what they’re selling. That’s where I support a free-market viewpoint. If any retailer from Big Lots to Neiman-Marcus can’t sell us that crap they stock, they should find something we would like to buy.

    • Bob

      Thanks Calvin! I too believe in reincarnation but hold a little different view of how it works. But that is a discussion for another day.
      We have followed a very similar path. I too was a Christian and had tremendous resentment against it after I rejected it. Every time I write anything about Christianity I have to rewrite it several times to be sure the resentments aren’t coming through. This one was no exception! I had to tone down the original a lot.

  17. gadgetMe

    Actions speak louder than words
    Why have a Christmas meal on CHRISTmas ?

    • Bob

      GadgetMe, that’s a fair question! It could seem contradictory and hypocritical–and maybe it is. And I guess the answer is that I have a strong tendency to black-and-white thinking and so I try to go with the feel of something rather than just the logical ideas of it. And having a gathering on Christmas “feels” right to me. And I do have some logic behind it:
      I’m not opposed to rituals or holidays. In fact as far as we know all humans have had rituals for as far back as anthropologists have been able to learn. It’s something humans need. I am naturally not a ritual-keeper but I wish I were. I believe in the value of rituals. So I am taking what I find good and wonderful about the ritual of Christmas (gathering with family) and turning into something that works for me, a simple meal on Dec 25. I would rather have it on Dec 21 because I would like to celebrate the Solstice as a religious act.
      It’s very over-simplified, but basically I see nature as a a whole to be “God” and pagans who worship nature have almost universally celebrated the Solstices and Equinoxes. Most modern holidays fall on them or (on them divided in quarters again) because that’s when the pagan holidays were and newer religions (especially Christianity) simply took existing pagan rituals and turned them into a Christian ritual.
      I have taken the pagan ritual of celebrating the winter solstice and I am celebrating it on Dec 25, returning it to it’s original true intent.

  18. Steve

    I am a Christian but I also agree with much of what you said about the commercialism of Christmas. My family has always tried to focus on the spiritual meaning (to us) of Christmas. My wife and I get the kids a few gifts but they are always purposeful and intended to educate or challenge the development of imagination and character. No mind-numbing video games at our house!
    I mainly wanted to reply to your post because I appreciated your respectful disagreement with Christianity. Everyone has the freedom to choose his own path. It seems that there is more and more intolerance for freedom of thought and speech (i.e. Duck Dynasty hoopla)in our country. America used to be a country where “I might disagree with you but I’ll fight for your right and freedom to believe what you want.” Now it seems to be “I disagree with you and I’ll do everything in my power to shut you up!” I see this as a very dangerous thing.
    Any way, I appreciated your thoughts and your right to have them. I wish you the best in the coming New Year.

    • Bob

      Thanks for your very thoughtful comment Steve!
      You are very wise to live deliberately and take the time to think about why you are doing the things you are doing and then to take actions to make them real for you. Taking the best of something, and leaving out what you don’t agree with is the hallmark of a well-lived life! That’s exactly what you are doing with Christmas!

  19. Roddy

    Bob I think your really Santa Claus and just tired of climbing down those smoke stacks!

    • Bob

      Roddy, I’ll never admit it!

  20. Red Meadora


    • Bob

      Thanks Red!

  21. Lynn

    This post is just sad for so many reasons! I wish you the best of the holiday season Bob.

    • Bob

      Lynn, thanks for writing, and I wish you the very best as well!
      I would be very interested in knowing what you thought was sad about it though, it you’re willing to tell me?

  22. Da ve

    Well, I am God fearing atheist, so no Christmas for me, but even the most RABID born again Christian who knew anything about their religion would have to acknowledge that:
    Christmas is a utter fabrication.
    The early Christians seemed uniquely unconcerned with the day of Christ’s birth. In the first five centuries after Christ’s death there was no Christmas. None. It wasn’t until Pagans, particularly the Northern Germanic tribes we call the Anglo Saxons (who had invaded and settled Britain after the fall of the Roman Empire)began to be converted on mass that we saw the invention of Christmas. According to the venerable Bede, a monk who wrote the early history of the Anglo-Saxons, they celebrated something called “Mutternacht” on December 24th. We don’t know exactly what went on, but a rough translation from Old English is “Mother’s Night”. In other northern Germanic and Scandanavian cultures they also celebrated a Mother’s Night in December where the Goddess Fria (where we get Friday from), wife of Wodin/Odin (from were we get Wednesday) was in labor throughout the night and gave birth to Baldur, the sun God, on the morning of the 25th. Hmmm, does this sound at all familiar?
    Pope Gregory I actively encouraged his preists “borrowing” Pagan holidays and their worship centers for the newly converted Christo-Pagans (many of whom did not really give up their old beliefs), as this made it far easier for the converts to accept a new religion. Easter was also “borrowed” as well, and in English it still bears the name of the North Germanic fertility goddess who celebration marked the end of winter and the rebirth of the world. In most Latin derived languages “Easter” is some derivation of Passover “Pascha”.
    If you don’t believe me, look it up. It’s all well documented and historical fact.

    • Bob

      Dave, I don’t think there is much room for debate about the history and origin of Christmas. Everything you said is true and MUCH, MUCH more. Virtually all the little aspects of Christmas traditions can be traced back to Pagan origins.
      Most people who keep Christmas aren’t active church goers (less than 20% of the population goes to church regularly although 75% call themselves Christian). So they don’t care if it’s a Pagan holiday at it’s root. “This is the way things have always been and it’s fun, so I’m going to do it too.” is their unspoken thoughts. “I grew up with Christmas so I’m going to keep doing it.”
      Greatly oversimplified, I “worship” nature, and Christmas is a devastating attack on my “god”. It’s attempted murder. So I hate it for that. That’s the honest reason I wrote the post. But so few people care about the planet that preaching to them that Christmas is bad for the planet would have no impact. Most people would just blow it off; a few would give it half-hearted agreement and then change nothing. So I couched it in a bigger argument. Hopefully the larger argument might change a few peoples mind.

  23. Gloria Brooks

    As a new vandweller, I am finding it very freeing to celebrate the holidays in my own way without societal pressures and expectations, especially the pressure on my wallet and time.
    Although I say that, I still had some pressure with folks I camped near to “conform”. I just kindly stood up for my independence and choice to do things differently. I did cave in a few times, but, I’m grateful I have friends to “cave in” to.
    At this time in my life, I really just want to be alone around the holidays and be in total control of how I celebrate. All my life until now, I’ve always been around a group of people or family that basically expected me to “show up” and “perform” which almost always included pulling money out of my wallet and helping to fill up the tree. The last four years, I put my foot down with my family and refused to join into the traditional Christmas gathering.
    As a vandweller, I typically am still around people (or relatively close proximiaty) and still have to stand up for my boundaries around the holiday issue. It seems like most people, even out here, can’t wrap their head around wanting to be alone. Well, I wasn’t exactly alone. I went to the hot springs and treated myself to a Golden Corall Christmas dinner….after doing the laundry. Ha ha! I’m enjoying the mostly me time during a tradition that says “you MUST” be with family and friends. It’s a season of selfishness for me, and I’ve not had it long enough quite yet. Happy, happy whatever you want, Bob and all!

  24. Phyllis Anne

    I enjoyed reading your blog. Well written and brought up a lot of things that needs to be said. I just don’t do many holidays anymore. I bowed out decades ago.
    I have a foot surgery planned for January, so I will be unable to attend the January GTG. Boo hoo as I was looking forward to meeting you and the others who visit. Another time. I am however planning on some dental work in Mexico after my foot heals. Thank you for posting in the previous blog the phone number to the dentist in Los Algodones. I appreciated being able to call them and get my Q’s answered.
    All in all, a year is just days and dates marked out on a calendar that begin Jan 1 and end Dec 31. I ignore the small print within the day blocks, and I still seem to feel pretty happy day to day. 2014 is next.
    Let’s all be as free as we can be during these times, and enjoy our lives the way we each choose, and do what makes ourselves happy.
    I enjoy being alone quite a bit too.
    Phyllis Anne

  25. Mario

    Bob , one of my “favorites” again…. good , honest observations and i agree 100%, it is true that “modern society” and Corporations have turned Christmas into an “economic circus” but i tend to blame society for “falling into this trap” , i appreciate your attempt to “wake people up” and i wish parents would do the same with their kids. . . . but i think in a way it is a loosing game , they are all so “well brainwashed” by “Corporate advertising” and those (never ending) Christmas songs are “stratigicaly managed” aimed to manipulate one’s mood and thoughts.
    Let’s not forget. . . most people in this blog are “well aware” as to what’s happening in this world today ,gross commercialization of all traditional holidays did not start yesterday it’s been going on for many many years and it is indeed an economic “death trap” that 99.9% of individuals are falling into.
    I am not a Christian myself, i never go to church and i actually have NO RELIGION. I consider a “HIGHER POWER” as the creator and ruler of All things and i call it “NATURE”. I have seen some teachings from the Bible, Buddhism , Quran etc. that i feel they fit “my few Golden rules” that i live my life by and i have accepted those that are good for All Humman Beings on this Earth.
    But i can’t see anything wrong by considering Christmas and New Year a( spiritually )special day,a period when one makes a promise to himself to try and be a better person in the coming year reflecting on his actions of the previous. Christmas could mean different things to different people,if for Christians is a celebration of the birth of Christ (who in turn was teaching “Love for All Mankind”) then my Christmas wishes to other people would indicate just that.
    As i have said in other posts… i believe that most followers of this blog belong to the “awakened” part of society,they are “seasoned thinkers” and possibly well clear of the “beaten path”.
    But …let me ask you this Bob, if someone from the tribe wishes you Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, would you be offended by it ? even though you know that he\she couldn’t mean it in any “pretentious” or “commercial” way (he is “awake” he knows )?

    • Bob

      Mario, thanks for your thoughtful comment!
      I think you and I agree on just about everything you said!!
      The reason I wrote the post is that the way we celebrate Christmas is terribly destructive!! It is EXTREMELY, TERRIBLY HARMFUL for the planet. The greed and sense of entitlement are terrible for our soul!! And the debt it creates is terrible for our finances.
      We MUST change the way we are doing things or we will suffer terribly for it. We don’t need to get rid of Christmas, we just have to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas in a way that truly honors it.
      If someone says Merry Christmas to me I say Merry Christmas to them back. Being loving and kind is a rule I try to live my life by and generally overrides my philosophical ideas.

  26. Chris

    Agree totally. Thank you for speaking out. As I am in my 6th year of full timing I find that one of the benefits of being on the road during the holidays is now I no longer feel societal pressures to celebrate and as an atheist I never felt honest in celebrating what is supposedly a Christian holiday. Now it is hardly a blip on my radar. Only….. on the 24th I went to a business establishment to purchase a boat ride and they were closed “for the holidays”…..I missed this adventure all because some guy died some two thousand years ago….that is messed up.

    • Bob

      I agree Chris, if you don’t celebrate Christmas it is an advantage to full-time so you can miss most of it.

  27. Al Christensen

    I stopped doing Christmas years ago.
    “What are you doing for Christmas, Al?”
    Strange look.
    This year I can say I had dinner with friends.

    • Bob

      Al, you can also tell them you brought GREAT mashed potatoes!!

  28. Walt

    I won’t go into the pagan origins of Christmas or of the Christmas tree, as I see it has already been covered. For me, though, Christmas was always about family coming together. My family was never very religious, and sometimes we couldn’t stand one another. Yet we all managed to come together and enjoy one another for at least that one day each year. I don’t see my family very often these days, and I am generally okay with that. But I will always remember fondly spending Christmas with aunts and uncles and cousins at my grandparents house, even when the gathering got so large tables stretched from the kitchen to the front door.

    • Bob

      Exactly Walt, Christmas should be about connections and love for others. If we would get back to that it would be a very good thing.

  29. michael wilkerson

    You are quite easily one of the most self absorbed delusional people I have ever known. You take advantage of people. You live for adulation. The world isn’t about you Bob and your manipulating of people needing help. Your sad chasing of women on your sites is just that sad. I know that many folks come to the RTR expecting some sort of revelation, then they meet you

    • openspaceman

      michael wilkerson says:
      November 30, 2012 at 12:36 am
      Guilt—I have met you and been in your camp since you got satellite. No need for guilt! I like to think of tv as a modern campfire to some extent. You can share if your a mind to or enjoy it alone. You have such a full life, You may be one of the most plesant people I have ever met. IMO tv will never harm or change you. So, tell us about the pilot you’re working on?

      • openspaceman

        Now I’m confused…Is he a super nice guy or a monster?
        From the majority of the comments…I’ll say more nice guy than monster.
        *Haters gonna hate.

        • Bob

          openspaceman, like everybody else, I am both: a nice guy and a monster. I just keep trying to be more nice guy than monster. Some days I succeed and some days I fail.

      • judy

        Thank you Openspaceman for giving us the flip side of Michael Wilkerson’s opinion of Bob!!!

        • Bob

          Judy, I’m very glad to have you defending me! But you may not be totally objective! I’ve worked really hard at fooling you!

      • Bob

        openspaceman, I wasn’t sure what this meant until I researched and saw that you are quoting a comment Michael made Nov, 30, 2012. It seems like he has changed his mind in the last year! That’s fine you live and learn and change.

    • Bob

      I think you may have overstated it but no doubt there is some truth in that Michael.I am a terribly flawed person! I do love adulation! I enjoy the notoriety and hearing that peoples lives have been changed by my work.
      The one thing I would agree with totally is that people have high expectations until they meet me and then I am a disappointment. I am not a social person or in any way charismatic. No great revelation to be found here!
      However, overall you seem to think my motives are very bad. And I don’t think that’s true. I certainly must say they are mixed and far from pure. But I honestly believe that most of my motivation really is from a place of wanting to help people. I’m really sorry my many, many mistakes have left you thinking otherwise.

      • openspaceman

        If someone puts you on a high enough pedestal ..they won’t see the cracks or chipped paint or even the bird poop on your shoulder.
        *Happy Winter Solstice…may your days be long and the sun shine high. Especially for those of us relying on solar.
        YES! I made it thru a week of no sun without plugging in. I should have no worries when I head west next winter.

        • Bob

          openspaeman, that is going to have to be a very tall pedestal!! Birds seem to love to poop on me!
          It’s very rare to go a week without the sun here in the Southwest so I think you are right, you should be in great shape with your solar. Of course the Northwest is just the opposite!

  30. william

    Talk about hey open up your eyes, Bob I love reading your posts, got your book and even with me being 7 years away from retirement I find myself reading your book daily. What we have is somewhat in common, I live in my truck, 2014 Freightliner,(small quarters)would love to have the room in your cargo trailer. I may be a greenhorn not yet getting ones feet wet vandwelling, but what I have learned from trucking I see myself fitting right in. Like I said I live in my truck.

    • Bob

      I have to disagree with you totally William, anybody who lives in a truck can hold his head high and call himself a vandweller!! Vandwelling is an attitude and not a choice of vehicles and by the power vested in my (by me) I hearby dub you a vandweller extraordinaire! I think you are more a vandweller than I am!
      I’m looking forward to meeting you one of these days!

  31. Walt

    Wow! Not very judgmental, are you? Personally, I have found Bob to be very upfront about his shortcomings when it comes to relationships and people. I have also found his posts to be entertaining, informative, and thought-provoking. I hope Bob is still holding his RTRs when I am able to hit the road just so I can shake his hand.

    • jonthebru

      Me too. I concur.

    • Bob

      Walt, thank you very much!

  32. Al Christensen

    Bob takes advantage of people? If so, then he has a very strange way of doing it. In the weeks I’ve spent around Bob I’ve seen him give equipment to van dwellers, buy food for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, share is knowledge when sought, be curious about other people’s rigs and the places they’ve been, and bring together people who can help each other. I’ve never seen him take anything for his efforts, except maybe satisfaction. If he seeks adulation, then spending much of his days in solitude is also a strange way to do it.

    • Bob

      Al, what can I say, I’m a failure at taking advantage of people!! I keep trying to get you people to send me all your money and obey my every command–but you guys all refuse!! It’s like herding cats!
      I guess I’m going to have to come up with a better scam!

  33. Sameer

    A True Manifesto!
    I am not a Christian so the holiday is irrelevant to me. However, I do think there is God in some form for everyone. May be the ‘seeking’ is more important than the finding. I especially liked “renunciation of the things of the world to follow a simple and minimal life of love and service to God and man.” I think this is the core of all faiths. I wanted to share a poem, because I think you will like the message.
    “When no one is looking,
    I swallow deserts and clouds
    and chew on mountains
    knowing they are sweet bones!
    When no one is looking
    and I want to kiss God,
    I just lift my own hand to my mouth.”
    ― Khwaja Shamsuddin Mohammad

    • Bob

      Sameer, I do like that poem, very insightful!
      I agree 100%! I think religions are like the spokes on a wheel. At the outside they are very far apart, but as you draw closer to the center they get closer and closer until at the center they merge into One!
      That Oness should be our true goal.

  34. margo miller

    and a great new year to you too! i LOVE this site!! most of all i love the comments and the fact that you, Bob come up with topics that truly make people think (some of us not to clearly, but any thinking is good)and most of us are pretty charitable and those of us who aren’t haven’t been on the road long enough to mellow out. ha. I truly get a feeling of community. thank you. Margo

    • Bob

      margo, thank you so much! I have to agree, any thinking is good, clear or muddy! If you get a sense of community, then I am delighted to have some success in my many failures!

  35. Bob

    Gloria, I understand completely! Since I’ve been on the road I spent quite a few holidays in true solitude, just me and Homer. And that worked very well for me. At this point I prefer to have people around. But like you I still have my boundaries and can only be with people so much.
    There’s nothing wrong with knowing your boundaries and enforcing them!! In fact I think it is the first step to a truly happy life.

  36. Graeme

    Hey Bob, love your site and I find it is a fascinating read on an alternative way of living.
    Firstly, a houmourous defense of the myth that Jesus is a myth created out of Pagan myths.
    Secondly, a more thoughtfull and serious defense of Christmas which I though was thought provoking.
    Thinking about Christmas myself, its not so much Christians celebrating the birthday of Jesus, its the celebration on the incarnation of God in human form here on earth. Christian doctrine is not hung up on the date of Christ’s birthday or even the season he was born in, but that he was born.
    I agree that Christmas has become overly commercialized, I personally have not brought presents this year but have really enjoyed sharing time over a meal and a wine with friends and family. I’m all for keeping it simple and real.

    • Bob

      Graeme, thanks for those links! When I was a Christian everyone knew the problems with the details of Christmas we just sluffed them off as irrelevant. So I don’t make those arguments. Instead of celebrating the incarnation (if you believe in that, I don’t, I believe in reincarnation) it makes a mockery and spits on it.
      While at it’s core the celebration may be fine, what it has become is truly horrible. In this post I really just wanted to bring attention to the tremendous harm that Christmas does to the earth, to our children, and to our finances.

  37. jim

    Mr bob seems as thought you have open a can of worms for some people, No matter how hard any of us try we will never get along with everyone one thing i have learn in life if you want to be let down just fool with enought people and someone will let you down they will not think the way you do or do what you think they should do when they should do it, why do you think there are so many marriage’s that end lol, we do not or never will live in a world of piece, a person just has to do the best they can and try to help each other out as best we can, my two cents worth is i think what you are doing is a good thing even if some of us never make it out to the point you are at least we can have a good time reading about what you are doing, people should realize that you don’t have to tell us anything about your life or what you are doing, and like you try to tell people it’s just your view like the old saying apinoins are like a–hole every body has one, People should try to do the best they can at what ever they are doing and try to help each other out this old world is bad enought as it is and as general robert e lee said it will all come right in the end.

    • Bob

      Thanks so much Jim! I agree totally!

  38. gadgetMe

    I was not trying to be an a$$..
    I agree with the religion aspect of the holidays being taken over by fascist major corporations, (selling slave goods “crap” in most cases) and religions taken over by control freaks that call themselves Churches,
    To boost part of your argument: the Jesus baby was most likely born in the spring of the year and possibility 3 to 4 years earlier than we are told, it seems there was a “mistake” on the timing, the mistake was discovered years later, But it was too late to make a change on the calendar. (“that sounds familiar” wow really?)
    I guess my point is, a criticism of the holiday that most folks in the Americas grew up with a single story since birth, have only one story they rely on, for their faith, it assails their sensibilities of their perceived reality.. Any criticism it is not welcomed..and defended..without much open research..
    I wish as we all get older, we could act much more as children who know nothing, and ask WHY All of the time of everything, and actually spend a good amount of time doing research,( instead of consuming the propaganda from the powers that be) since the beginning of time there has never so much information available to most everyone to digest (good and bad) but at least you can decide what you like to believe.
    I am rambling now (need to stop)
    I do appreciate you “shaking the tree”, to encourage readers to think outside of the so called box.

    • Bob

      Kirk, as you know, I understand and appreciate your point of view and basically agree. I know from experience how hard it is to get people to wake up out of the sleep of “following the herd” because that is just what I’ve done all my life.
      As a Chrisitan I knew all the criticisms of the date of Christs birth and the pagan roots of most aspects of it, but I just didn’t care. I was even aware that it was filling the landfills and putting me deeper into debt, and I just didn’t care.
      The “HERD INSTINCT” in us is so powerful it is very, very hard to break out of it. I was too weak to do it, I had to be thrown out of it kicking and screaming!!
      Many times my writing is extreme just to try to break through the trance we find ourselves in.

  39. Desert Rat

    Bob, I think you might like this song:
    He’s an Aussie, thus the white wine in the sun. It’s not what you think from the start, so stick with it – it’s celebrating Christmas as a time of family and friends, not religion. That’s what I hope it continues to morph into. The consumerism is crass.
    Tim’s well-known for his ascerbic humor re. religion. Love the guy.

    • Bob

      Thanks Desert Rat!

  40. Canine

    I gave up Christmas about 8 years ago because it didn’t make sense to me after had I sat down and thought about it. I had let everyone close to me know I didn’t want to celebrate, but some didn’t want me to live my life differently than them, so I ended up with some gifts anyway. I sent them back with a note kindly saying that I couldn’t accept the gifts as I don’t participate anymore with Christmas. I tried to be as nice as I could, but I suspect they were offended. No matter what, though, I didn’t want to be forced to accept items that I neither wanted or needed. I wish people were more respectful of others lifestyles.
    I recently saw a video where a young girl opened up a gift and tearfully said, “Oh, it is exactly what I wanted. I love you all so much.” Now that I can step back and look at Christmas with different eyes, I couldn’t understand why she would say that. I remember feeling similar at that age, but now it doesn’t make sense to me. Why I would become so emotional over a perfunctory gift? I’m sure developing a different mindset in my old age (I think this is a euphemism for “I’m becoming a bitter, old man.” Ha ha!).
    I’m trying to remember what gifts I got for Christmas as a youngster and remember only two off the top of my head- a four-wheel drive, battery powered “Stomper” toy and a .22 rifle. I played with those a ton. I got lots of stuff over the years, but apparently, most of it made little impression on me.
    What I do celebrate is Dr. Seuss’ Birthday on March 2nd. It isn’t about figuring out how much money I should spend and what I should spend it on to honor the birth of Christ. It isn’t about any kind of corporate profit. It is about reading and reading awareness. I buy any kind of book I feel like. Then when I’m done, I donate it, when possible, to the library. This is something I’ve really gotten behind and while it isn’t a religious thing, it sure is life-affirming.

    • Bob

      Canine, I’m amazed that you have the guts to reject Christmas to that degree!! That’s very admirable! You’re a better man than I am! When I spend Christmas with my mom I cave and do the gift thing with them. It’s my mom, I don’t want to spoil her Christmas!! But I do work to tone it done as much as possible and she goes along with it as much as possible (right mom!!).
      That’s interesting about Dr. Seuss! That sounds like the perfect way to celebrate a birthday! I don’t know much about him, why do you celebrate his birthday.

      • Canine

        I’ve enjoyed his work since I was a kid like Cat in the Hat and Fox in Socks, etc. Celebrating his birthday is something the kids like to do in school, so I adopted it as well. By learning something from reading or just engaging my mind, I find that much more fulfilling than the perfunctory, materialistic holidays like Christmas, July 4th, etc.
        Then when I’m done reading, I share my books. That means a lot to me. All of us are in this together. Instead of trying to get the most stuff, I like to reduce my impact. Then what I do acquire, I like to share. Few gifts are as sharable and rewarding as books.
        I’m not into holidays except for when it means I get a paid day off. Lol. Seuss’ B-day suits me well. 🙂

        • Bob

          Canine that sounds pretty reasonable. Dr. Suess brought a lot of happiness into the world.
          I also rarely keep books, passing them along instead. Although with my Kindle I’m doing that less and less.

  41. Oldnavy

    What an interesting thread (yep, a herd of cats!). Though not particularly about “vandwelling”, it certainly spoke to the vandwelling spirit of individualism, minimalism, voluntary community and free-thinking.
    I haven’t read one post of yours that did not either instruct, inspire or challenge me, so I thank you for what you do and your willingness to share it with us.
    Hope your knee is better and your New Year great!

    • Bob

      Oldnavy, I think I choose the wrong group to deceive and fleece, you people are impossible!! Just kidding of course! The one thing I want to accomplish with this blog is to get people to think for themselves and the only way I know to do that is challenge their ingrained truths.
      It means a lot to me that you are enjoying my work and maybe even getting something out of it!

  42. Patrick

    99% of the people are not independent thinkers. Selling the idea of the God is big money business. It ‘s trillion dollar industry and tax free, therefore; Christianity will not go away anytime soon.

    • Bob

      You are right about that Patrick. For a million years we have been social animals living in herds we called bands and tribes. Today we live in countries in cites, but we still want the connection. A shared spiritual understanding has equally been part of human history, but today it is all about control and manipulation. No doubt the vast majority of religious people and their leaders don’t have that as a motive, they really are trying to do good, but the fact is it is all about controlling the herds. I’m not talking about a grand conspiracy, the leaders of most religions are just as brainwashed as their followers.
      For example, I am a big fan of the Toa Te Ching, and would consider myself a Toaist except that over the centuries it’s been twisted and warped into a religion and I want nothing to do with it. I believe that is true of all religions. At their root they are wonderful, but over the centuries they have been manipulated and twisted by a few bad leaders to be a tool of manipulation and control of the population.
      Just like the Christians can love the sinner but hate the sin, I can love Christ but hate the churches.

  43. anna

    I am a pagan who peeks out of the closet periodically! since i started celebrating the pagan holidays in honor of the earth/nature I no longer feel the emptiness of the Christmas season-the romans “adopted” the pagan symbols and rituals to assist in assimilating reluctant celts, trying desperately to retain their culture. interesting, bob, to hear that you feel pagan also-I had you pegged as something else with your merry band of meat-eatin, critter killin, mountain men!

    • Bob

      Anna, I have no idea what to call myself!! So I’ve just given up on labels. I’ve taken my spiritual ideas from many places but I’ve adopted the details from none. Once people move away from concepts and ideas into details of who, what and how god is, they loose me. How can they know all this stuff about god/goddess/nature they claim to know? It has to be some kind of divine revelation directly from god/goddess and why should I trust their revelation instead of someone elses? Every body has had one and generally they oppose each other.
      No, I think the way god/goddess/universe will reveal itself is through nature. It’s the same everywhere, at all times, throughout the existence of earth. That’s why I love the Toa Te Ching, it takes all of it’s lessons from nature and doesn’t say follow my revelation it says follow the truth that flows everywhere through everything at all times and points to nature to learn the way.
      Since pagansim is the one religion based nearly entirely on nature, it appeals to me. But then they start adding all the other stuff, and I want nothing to do with that. Conceptually, Native American Spirituality is probably the one I would follow, but again I need to leave out the details as much as they appeal to me.
      I’m curious what you mean by “merry band of meat-eatin, critter killin, mountain men!” Do you think of Pagans as vegetarians? I think of them as meat-eaters. The word “pagan” comes from “field” meaning country people as opposed to the sophisticated city people. Most field people are omnivores, eating whatever they can find. Nearly all hunter-gatherers are omnivores and yet they are what I think of as pagans. They were deeply connected to nature and saw everything as alive and infused with spirit. That’s what I think of as pagan and for myself.

  44. Andrew

    Your not a Christian, why would you ever celebrate Christmas to begin with? Is you next blog going to be about you don’t celebrate Ramadan?

    • Bob

      Andrew, I guess it is just force of habit. I’ve celebrated Christmas every year of my life and I don’t know any other way. My parents did it so I had to do it. And I liked it!! All my friends did it and they liked it! When I got older all my co-workers did it and they all liked it. I guess I don’t koiw many Jews because I can’t remember anybody in my whole life who didn’t celebrate Christmas.
      I think Christmas is pretty unavoidable in our culture. I really had no choice but celebrate it because it surrounds and infiltrates my life. Now that I have decided to not celebrate it , it’s very difficult to stop. It’s a struggle to keep from exchanging gifts which is totally an act of celebrating Christmas. People are constantly saying “Merry Christmas” to me and what do I say in return? I’m either a scrooge or I say it back. That is part of celebrating Christmas. Christmas songs are everywhere and they often lay out very clearly the theological meaning of Christmas. If I sing along or tap my feet, I’m celebrating Christmas. And then there is the tree, lights and decorations that I’m supposed to do myself and are everywhere around me. Of course none of it has anything to do with Jesus but it is all an integral part of celebrating christmas.
      Christmas is inflicted on all of us and not taking part of it is a conscious decision we all must make. And it won’t be easy! Everything in our society is designed to suck us back in. But it is so important I really hope we all reject it. Christmas is so destructive I hope everyone makes that decision and refuses to take part in all the trappings of Christmas and gets back to the true meaning of Christmas which is love and sacrifice. Then those who are doing it to celebrate Christ can actually do it in a legitimate way and not with all this destructive, ridiculous crap.

  45. Chuck

    I can’t agree or disagree with anyone here. Some of us are higher and some are lower spirits. The human is still too close to the animal origin. Life is a learning procedure we must take, to get to a higher plain. This is my believes, I except all.
    I was raised a catholic back in the 50s and 60s and never could understand it. In the last 15 years. I’ve read the Urantia Book and Journey of the Souls and Destiny of the Soul, by Dr. Michael Newton . These book answered all my questions. These book might help some here….

    • Bob

      I have to agree totally Chuck. None of us have a lock on the truth and life is just a journey to search it out. Acceptance of others is a vital part of the journey.
      I’ve studied many religions and ideas and those are some I’ve missed, thanks for pointing them out!

  46. Rich Chandler

    Bob, I am a Christian and embrace all the theological aspects of what the day should stand for without the commercialism, debt, fallacy and waste you mention. I am so impressed/inspired by your post in kindness and honesty, as you state your views. The string of well written posts people sent in response is also inspiring, that so many folks could state their opinions in civility and courtesy. While I do give to those who need and serve where/when I am able, I fully realize that Christians do not have a corner on the caring market and you do not have to be a Christian to do good. I do wish though, that the season were more inclusive, with Atheist, Agnostic, Muslim…….. I certainly understand how my faith in something I have never seen and a person I have never met, baffles the sense of logic many folks have. I feel that open sharing without emotion and drama such as this string go a long way towards understanding. I’ll close with this………….. I am NOT the judge of others, nor is it my duty to call attention to the “failings/sins” of others, as I have plenty of my own and it’s God’s role (in my opinion) to sort it out. We all have about 99% of our views on life in common and so often waste 99% of our energy ranting about the 1% we differ on, what a wonderful departure from that norm this string is. Please accept my appreciation for the environment this blog nurtures and your honest and kind sharing on all subjects.

    • Bob

      Rich, what a nice comment! Thank you for your reasoned and kind attitude toward others. If we could all follow your example the world would be a better place! I think you’re right the blog does attract a more thoughtful group of people than average and I try to make it a goal to nurture that in myself and in the blog. Sometimes I get carried away and go over the edge, and so do the readers, but for the most part kindness and consideration are the rule of the day.
      If we all just concentrated on our agreements and accepted our differences, I think we would all be happier.

  47. michael wilkerson

    Notice the two posts are a year apart. A year talking to some of the folks not so enamoured and hearing some of the things that have gone on. Christmas too commercial? Pot calling the kettle black?

    • Openspaceman

      Well when I used to bartend…I always said “No Politics, No Religion and No Social Crisis’s” at the bar and it kept things civil.
      – Those things always seem to ruffle some feathers. Peace.

      • Openspaceman

        Not sure how I would classify the holiday season…in the religion or in the social crisis category.

    • Bob

      Michael, we haven’t spent a lot of time together in the last year, and when we did we really haven’t been close. So my guess is that the majority of what you are basing your opinions on are second-hand gossip. And because I am such a private person, I doubt most of those peoples opinions are based on first-hand experience with me. So I think there is a good chance most of it is gossip, guessing and speculation.
      Of course some of it might be valid and something i need to hear and change. I’d love to clear the air and address all the concerns you have. You’re welcome to ask me anything you’d like and I’ll try to clear it up and if I’m in the wrong I’ll admit it and try to change. I won’t attack you in any way or take any retaliation. Instead I will be grateful for finding areas I’m messing up and work on fixing them.
      I think everyone wins, we’ve cleared the air and you get to point out to everyone the things I’m doing wrong, which they all need to know about. They shouldn’t follow someone who is just using them for his own gain. I get to find and correct more faults.
      The choice is yours.

      • michael wilkerson

        Bob, my concerns come from folks I have been in contact with over the past year. People who have felt used. I think it is up to them to contact you with their concerns and I have told them as much. I really believe it is irresponsible of you to encourage people who are scared, broken, desperate to buy a van and come to the desert with the idea that you will make things ok for them. Last year at the RTR I spoke with people that needed serious professional care. I see some of them are back this year. I don’t know what is right for everyone but I do know you don’t either. You have a tremendous responsibility for the people you encourage to assume this lifestyle. There are some very fragile people who are very easily led and consumed. The fact that you responded in the manner you have makes me hope you will try to understand what I’m trying to say. I don’t know how you seperate the ones who need help from the ones who don’t, but I do know if you assume the role of leader you need to care enough to find out.

        • Bob

          Michael. you’ve raised two areas of concern. I’ll address the second first:
          2) People are coming out here who shouldn’t. I think that is a very valid point and one I hadn’t given enough thought to. I will definitely give some serious thought as to how I can improve that. I had an experience with someone who came directly out and joined me but was instantly overwhelmed with everything about camping. Even being with me and my assurances I would keep her safe she couldn’t handle it. She is a perfect example of what you are talking about so it is something I have to work on fixing. I’m very glad you pointed that out. Thank you.
          1) You know people who say I have used them. There is no way I can respond to unknown accusations from unknown people. I can only say that one thing I try very, very hard to do is never take anything from or ask anything of anybody. I did once have donate buttons on the websites when I needed help supporting the sites, but they are gone now. And I honestly did get requests from people for a way to donate and support the sites. So you could argue that is using people but I never thought it was. I would love to talk to those people and address their concerns and apologize if necessary, but like you said that is up to them.
          Thanks for your concern!

  48. michael wilkerson

    That being said, the country on the whole isn’t doing much better. We should strive for more.

  49. anna

    Hi Bob! your answer to my pagan poke at you(12-27) was awesome! I think you and I think more alike than not. I’m not a follower of man-made dogma in any religion, including wicca-I’m a solitary human at heart. I was a vegetarian long before I thought of myself as pagan. I don’t really even care for the pagan term, other than it’s use as a label, because you’re right about its definition. To quote Iaasac Singer, “my vegetarianism is my religion and my protest against the conduct of mankind” I also feel that there is spirit in all things and I have no problem with death for animals as long as its fast and humane. Unfortunately not the case here on earth. I can’t say I BELIEVE! in anything other than the possibility of anything. I also think that when you profess to BELIEVE! in anything, the critical thinking process stops. My apologies to the Christian Christmas Corporation! My ancestors were a tribe of northern Irish gypsies so I’m drawn to the celtic pagan traditions-really, I just like pretty candles and lots of food! Each to his own and let me have the wisdom(and patience) to listen to others ideas. Anna

    • Bob

      I agree wholeheartedly! Your description of yourself applies equally to me very well (except the vegetarian part!).

  50. lonfu

    For me xmas has never been about gifts, it’s always been about family. This year was really special because we all were able to be together for xams day again. Mike, out of the hospital from brain damage in vegas, Helen limping preparing for surgery in riverside, Rocky back from deployment in the midwst with the americor, Melonie back from caring for the outlaws in riverside and me with my shiny new stent here in Kingman. All of us together, gathered around the 12 inch tree with battery lights, and our dollar store and home made little gifts. Hand fans for Melonie, used vegan reciept books for me, hand drawn pictures for Mike and Helen, new socks and underwear for Rocky. All back at the same place in the same state at the same time. What a more wonderful gift could one ask for. Family, together…..
    The meaning of Christmas??? Gifts, meaningless. Family, priceless….
    I hope this finds everyone with friends or family.

    • Bob

      Ionfu, you paint a wonderful picture!! Thanks you!

  51. Extreme Gomer

    Gosh, where to start. Bob, I believe you understand Jesus better than the vast majority of people who call themselves “Christians.” I believe that everything Jesus said was true and that everything he did actually happened, but I try not to call myself a Christian because that word has been hijacked. It is so unfortunate that our culture is so infused with what I call the “Christian religion” because people just do what everyone else does without being intentional, without caring about the purpose of it all, without any regards to what is true or real. This has created a Christmas without any true understanding or actual celebration of Christ, and a destruction of Creation without any thought of it’s Creator. I have a much easier time relating to people like you, Bob, who know Jesus’ message and choose not to love him back. Thank you for getting this dialogue going, and I hope that one of these days I’ll make it to an RTR and meet all of you!

    • Bob

      Thanks for you very kind words Extreme Gomer! We are just starting the RTR and having a great time so hopefully you will get to join us one of these days!

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