The Art of Giving at Christmas Time
It’s that time of year again as we are on the countdown to Christmas. How do you approach this time of year? Is it with excitement and anticipation or with a sense of obligation or doom and gloom? Is it a pleasurable time with family and friends or a time of excess?
What does Christmas mean to you?
For me there are two really important aspects to Christmas; firstly the giving of gifts and secondly Christmas is a time for renewal and change preparing for the New Year ahead
One of our fundamental instincts as human beings is to give. In the days when we lived in tribes, reciprocal giving and taking was an important part of our existence. As well as looking after our families, it was important for the survival of the larger group that we were able to work collaboratively, to give and receive in order to meet the needs of the tribe. There is something satisfying at a basic level in the giving of gifts to loved ones, charities, whatever it is so long as it is given unconditionally, no strings attached.
When you are looking for gifts at Christmas, put yourself in the shoes of the person receiving the gift. What would they like to receive? People notice when you have made the effort to choose something especially for them. This can be more important than the value of the gift itself.
Receive gracefully. Most people have the best of intentions when buying gifts but sometimes it can result in the wrong type of gift. My mum bought my husband some years ago a soft toy dog that sat on the arm of a chair to put the TV remote control in! It was the strangest thing but her heart was absolutely in the right place and we had a lot of fun showing it to friends! My mum had an uncanny knack of buying presents that were off the wall. I’ve got a cupboard full of them but they remind me of what a character my mum is.
Decide how you want your Christmas to be. Make the best of the days off work or time with loved ones, get the balance right for you. If you anticipate any ‘have to’s or ‘should’s or ‘musts’, decide whether you want to do any of these things and then do them because you want to not because you ‘have to’. Christmas can be a time of obligation. If you make a choice to do or not to something, it can be a very different experience.
Finally, find some time for you at Christmas if you can. Take a look around you and be grateful for what you have. Gratitude can be a very satisfying feeling if we allow ourselves to experience it and it can be a great mood enhancer.
Remember generosity to self and others is a gift for life not just Christmas!
Season’s greetings to you all and here’s to 2012!