A Christmas Gift Spread
“The Christmas presents once opened are Not So Much Fun as they were while we were in the process of examining, lifting, shaking, thinking about, and opening them. Three hundred sixty-five days later, we try again and find that the same thing has happened. Each time the goal is reached, it becomes Not So Much Fun, and we're off to reach the next one, then the next one, then the next.
That doesn't mean that the goals we have don't count. They do, mostly because they cause us to go through the process and it's the process that makes us wise, happy, or whatever. If we do things in the wrong sort of way, it makes us miserable, angry, confused, and things like that. The goal has to be right for us, and it has to be beneficial, in order to ensure a beneficial process. But aside from that, it's really the process that's important.”
― Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh
Each year I think about creating the romantic, rustic Christmas.
Homemade food, gifts that are well thought through and don’t crinkle with the sparkle of schmatter. The reality is a tad different as it is the usual mad dash to the shops and truly hoping that you will find the right gift for the right person.
My Mother always said that it is the thought that counts.
I really do try to give something that is lovely to receive. This little act is important to me as I have found 'receiving' is an issue in my life and I have seen it time and again in others. 'Giving' is another issue. People who are sensitive and have a natural healing ability sometimes have the trait of chronic giving. The Christmas season can provide a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the art of exchange; one act can’t be without the other. One hand doesn’t clap by itself. It is the fulfilment of some kind of karmic dynamic as to receive can often be more important than giving. Accepting something from another can play an important part in their process of a person’s deeper evolution. Who are we to refuse that?
Maybe we were destined all along to play that very part and as a result life itself can take on a new route on its journey to who knows where!
It has taken a very long time for me to understand that. Giving and receiving are powerful in equal measure, however it is acceptance that lies at the heart of it all and to be able to accept is the real gift to self. Through acceptance the ego with all its complex nuances is immediately rent asunder and we have only to go with the flow.
That in itself is a paradox. Going with the flow smacks of fatalism and that can be dangerous as life can bend you to its own will. Instead one could aspire to be a captain of one’s own ship. The flow bit is perhaps where we accept the consequence of thought connecting to action.
Anyway, back to Christmas.
Generally speaking, we learn Christmas from our mothers. I was fortunate enough to have had an idyllic childhood, certainly up until I was about 12 years old. I lived in rural Yorkshire in the 60s and 70s. My father was the local bobby on the bike. He would bring home seasonal gifts from the local people, a bottle of something strong, a brace of pheasants that hung behind the pantry door, cakes and bread and the like.
So, my Mum did her bit. The Christmas cake was made in October and the pudding had a sixpence in the middle. Bottles of pop came in glass bottles in wooden crates and were stashed away until the appropriate hour.
The gummed paper that I had made a chain with at school and was wonky and crinkled but it still went up on the wall along with the rest of the paper festoonery. I don’t see those pom poms anymore, not sure if it is a pity or not!
A magical time.
I remember it as a magical time. When I was very small, my brother and I would stare out of the window on Christmas Eve waiting for a glimpse of red which might herald Santa Claus flying across the sky. Oh how we willed that sleigh to zoom past the window! There is something about that Christmas magic that if one is lucky enough to experience it then it stays with you.
Perhaps it is that magic that makes giving and receiving all the more a realistic human process, an example of the interdependence of one person on another which reaches out like hands across the water and does in fact make us more than a species but a humanity, after all early societies were built on altruism and exchange.
This Christmas, let’s be human.
The dignified, glorious human. Let’s celebrate the art of giving and receiving and be thankful for who we are and the light that is our true gift to the world.
TRY THIS CHRISTMAS SPREAD
Christmas Candle. In what way do I shine my light? What do I do to bring positivity to my environment and how can I deepen that?
Pudding (with a sixpence!) My relationship to my personal abundance. Is there anything I could do to create a more harmonious flow with my abundance?
Christmas card. How do I express my magical self? Is there something I can do to confidently communicate my extraordinary self?
Gift under the tree. My relationships. What do I need to know? In what way can I build on the various relationships around me?
Tree fairy. My connection to the natural world. How can I get the best from being in nature?
Star. My spiritual path. What does my path look like? Am I on the right path?
Yule log. Possible intention for the New year. What can I be focussing on to set my intention for 2020?