Stillwater Speaks forum looks at holiday joy, holiday stress

Holiday Forum(STILLWATER, OK / Nov. 18, 2013) –  The National Retailers Federation estimates that Americans will spending over $600 billion dollars celebrating the holidays this December.  This spending results in the creation of seasonal jobs, an increase in collected sales tax for community services and fun and lively gift-giving and celebrations.  For some, it also results in crippling debt, weight gain, holiday stress and family arguments.  Are the holidays a gift or have they become a burden?  Community members will address these questions Wednesday, Dec. 11 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Stillwater Public Library during Stillwater Speaks’ World Cafe Forum, “Did Norman Rockwell Steal Christmas?”

“The World Café model is something new we are trying at Stillwater Speaks,” said Kimberly Williams, organizer.  “In our past forums we’ve used a deliberative model where up to thirty people take turns talking.  Our new model will allow for deeper, more intimate conversation with rotating groups.”

Participants at the Café will split into groups of six and will visit four different tables to discuss topics relating to the holidays.  The areas include Religion and Culture, Family and Friends, The Business of Christmas and Health and the Holidays.  Participants will address some of the benefits about the holidays, including the high level of charitable giving, spiritual rejuvenation and the creation of over 750,000 seasonal jobs.  They will also discuss the low points including the high rate of depression and suicides, family dysfunction and high credit card bills.

The end of the forum will include a wrap up session where common themes, concerns and values will be analyzed.

“The World Café is a great way to discover common interests and share knowledge and experiences,” said Williams.  “Allowing people to move from table to table enables us to cross-pollinate ideas, explore possibilities, and co-create together.  We’re excited to use this seasonal, more light-hearted topic to test out this model for when our community needs to have more urgent and difficult conversations.”

The Café is free and open to adults and young adults 14 years and older.  Drinks and snacks will be provided by the Friends of the Library.

To register, please email or call 405-372-3633 x106.  For more information, please visit the library web site at

Stillwater Speaks is a partnership between the Stillwater Public Library, Edmon Low Library, Stillwater Public Schools and OSU Extension.

The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. (the corner of Duck and 12th Ave.). Library hours are Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.