“Christmas gift suggestions: to your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” – Oren Arnold
Yes, yes indeed. That time of year it now upon us. November comes to a close, and soon the Christmas season will be undeniably in our consciousness. It is a time of year that celebrates joy, kindness and gratitude. Well, at least that is the intention, but with all the other obligations, distractions and excitements, these things can become a little lost. One phenomenon of the modern Christmas is the need for an abundance of gifts. Now, I am not saying we shouldn’t give each other gifts, of course not; I can’t wait for my socks and chutney this year! But what I would say, with the stress of ensuring that everyone has something to open on Christmas Day, we forget to gift in a conscious and mindful way. In the modern world it is very easy to prioritise the monetary value or visual pizazz of a gift above the connection to the recipient. Once you embrace and consider the true joy of giving and generosity, the act becomes a much more meaningful thing. Gift consciously this Christmas. Here’s how…
1. Thinking of Yourself is Not Selfish
The most significant and important element of the Christmas season is ‘togetherness’. It is a time to enjoy quality time with our loved ones. For you, your friends and your family to get the most out of this time, your presence and attention is required. The holiday season often demands a lot of time and energy; there are social commitments all over the place, as well as rushing around trying to get the perfect gift for everyone. This will tire you out and you will not be able to enjoy your face-to-face family time properly. Give the gift of your best self at Christmas by taking care of you. Take time to do nothing in December, to eat at home, to meditate, do practice presence and gratitude, so that everybody can enjoy the happiest, healthiest version of you.
2. Money is Not Synonymous wit Love
A trap that many of us fall in to is that we, consciously or subconsciously, relate the flashiest, prettiest, wittiest, shiniest presents with love or preferential treatment. This is a particularly rife expectation among children… this is no surprise considering the technicoloured advertising flitting around on our screens in 2018! Christmas has, undeniably, a hugely commercial event to it. Do not let this filter into your gift giving choices… always buy from your heart, not your wallet.
3. Start Now
Don’t get crushed by the stampede of stress caused by last minute present buying. Start now! Christmas shopping is always a bit stressful, so remove some of that by ordering before the postal system starts creaking with sacks of presents, and before the shops clog up with hordes of shoppers.
4. New Traditions
Traditions are always a wonderful way to connect with your family, and if you haven’t got any bespoke family traditions yet, then you should try some out! How about instilling a mindful gifting tradition? This could be anything, as long as it celebrates true generosity and consideration for the recipients. For example, it is our Christmas tradition each year for one person in the family to go to a charity book shop and pick out a book for each family member to read on Christmas Eve. This derives from a Nordic tradition that celebrates presence, warmth, charity, consciousness and gratitude. What will your new gifting tradition be?
5. A Personal Connection
What does this person really want? Is there something I can gift them that speaks of our personal relationship? What can I get them to show that I pay attention to them and their passions? These are the kinds of questions you should be asking yourself when considering gifts, as opposed to whether you have spent the same amount of cash on everyone!
6. Share A Skill
By making, building, painting, cooking, writing or designing something for someone, you are showing them commitment and love. Not only are you proving that you have spent real time on their gift (as opposed to clicking ‘add to basket’ on your Amazon account), you are also putting yourself out there. You are letting yourself be vulnerable, which leads to a deeper trust and connection between you and your recipient.
By Chris Thomson
For more festive mindfulness suggestions, why not peruse this little piece from last year: How to Have A Mindful Festive Season
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