I love Christmas and yet sometimes I struggle with what it has become. We are all aware that it has lost the true meaning of giving. I remember watching my much older sisters disappointment over their gifts and the fighting trading and unhappiness that occurred around the tree. The hangover of over-stimulation that happened Christmas morning that no one admitted to was an ugly account of what the holiday was not about. When my own girls pulling out a mere orange or some silly earrings out of their stockings had a dull and ungrateful look on their face it made me sad. It made me feel like I had not infused them with a sense of gratitude. They were young then and influenced by their friends. So I chalk it up to that and societal pressure.
I realize that society influences us and makes us feel less when we don’t buy the “right” things or when we don’t buy something for everyone. I decided a few years ago to have a different attitude about Christmas. No guilt over gift giving, no pressure, just tuning into your heart and the spirit of Christmas. For me that is taking time to help those who are in need directly around me and instead of hours of shopping I make cookies, pies, and write poems that I frame (with poorly decorated mats that I paint myself :0). With all of my holiday activities there is an energy of service and a quiet celebration of love.
We are obliged as a society to look at Christmas from a different perspective these days the economy the way it is. I think that how we live and show up in the world right now is critical. What we do during this time for people, with our time and perhaps with our creativity is an opportunity for authenticity. For me it is a way to reconnect to family and self.
Bobby and I picked out a live tree this year that we will plant in our back yard after the New Year. We hope to start a tradition of tree after tree of Christmas memories and replanting into the energy of the earth. Also we are bringing our friends over throughout the month and will share our cooking, our love, and our energy with them.
I no longer have small children, so assembling a dollhouse or creating the sounds and smells of Santa on the roof top on Christmas eve is no longer a necessity (though I miss that). We light fires everyday, make hot apple Cider and tasty, “healthy” treats for our friends or just us. We watch old classic films or an academy movie (lucky us) and snuggle up. We play charades, cards or take a swing at writing a haiku.
Whatever we do… the holidays are about connection or at least they should be. Giving is about selfless action that helps those less fortunate or sometimes someone who just doesn’t have family in town and you know they are lonely.
Recently, CNN heroes did a piece on an incredible man in India who feeds lepers and the poor. He makes delicious food with his own hands and delivers it daily throughout the year. I see things like this and think “wow, am I not a generous person?”. I can’t imagine doing something so generous and so time consuming. Trust me I know there are many out there in our own neighborhoods serving others tirelessly and I applaud you. But for some of us that feels like an overwhelming task and for those people I say… open your heart and your attitude so that when someone who needs love or connection is in your presence, you recognize them and send them love. Even if you can only manage to visualize it (close your eyes and literally send them love in your mind’s eye as a gift), the intention makes a difference.
Give with your heart, your intention, and some of your time… it will fill you with the “spirit” and shift those around you.
All that said… HAPPY HOLIDAYS.