Holiday Gifting

Holiday gifting. Does it bring you delight to see all the gifts under the tree or dread? Or would you love to see all the gifts if there wasn’t all the work and expense that had to be done to produce such a scene?

I was at a comedy show recently and the comedian was talking about her Mother announcing that they were cutting back on gifts and that everyone should do the same. How would you feel if someone said this in your family? Gifting is over! Of course, the comedian went on to say her Mother had ordered her a bunch of stuff and so actually the gifting was on — it just sounded good to say at the start of the season.

I get it — holiday gifting is a fundamental part of most Christmas traditions. People grew up with gifts and want to give and receive gifts as adults. To not have a pile feels — well — just wrong. However, I had the opportunity this particular holiday season to doe exactly that and not buy any gifts.

Well, I bought a few presents for people who I knew could use some holiday cheer. However, my annual list of “have to buy for these people no matter what” stopped. As I have been walking through the season it feels tremendously freeing to not have any gifts to have to buy as well as strange. How can I possibly walk through a department store and not buy bunches of stuff to give to people? It’s so much a part and parcel of who I am and how I celebrate the holidays. Well, it all feels odd.

Such an experiment is not for the faint of heart. I almost feel like I will be dreading Christmas morning with nothing to give or receive — and yet there are different things that I want this year that really can’t come wrapped in a box with a bow. Gifts of love, presence, kindness, opportunity, persistence, striving, and more that I want in my life more than any goods.

And that is what I am giving myself this year — as well as to my family and friends. It’s less expensive in some ways and more expensive in others. It’s me and my life that I am crafting that I seek to shape not in the direction of commercial goods, but into a direction of crafting a life I am happy to lead.

Maybe it’s too radical to ask you to join me this year, but perhaps something to hold in mind for next season. If the thought of not buying gifts for your loved ones gets you upset, defensive or afraid, it’s probably right where you need to be.

Here’s to gifting — gifts that can be seen and unseen. I’m in the latter category this year.

Creativity Burst: Wrapping

Meditative Wrapping

I will admit to you that I am terrible at wrapping presents. I never tie off the ends with just the right amount of paper. My cutting of the paper always always leads tojagged edge lines. I use so much tape to get all of the bulky paper to seal together. I have no idea how to tie a pretty bow. It’s a mess! I can be holed up in a room for hours and it makes no difference. It looks like — well, it’s a mess, but the thought and effort are there and that seems to take me far when I give a gift that looks like Snuffalufagus wrapped it.

However, for those of you who are crafty and creative and enjoy working with paper and tape and ribbons and bows, I have heard that wrapping presents can be an activity where not only creativity is expressed, but a way to find calm in the stormy seas of life.

I suppose it is akin to something like coloring. It does not take too much brain power to wrap a present and yet we all know – even me – the basic tenets of wrapping. As such our minds can go on hiatus from whatever has been occupying her and we can just give way to wrapping.

I would not call it meditative, but I do think it can be restorative to give up thinking and simply enjoy an act of doing that will cause a smile on another’s face and can lead to a calm demeanor as we partake in the great wrapping tradition.

If you want to add a meditation to your wrapping extravaganza, while you wrap a present for someone, call that person to mind and reflect on them and your relationship to them. Honor it in your thoughts and bring forth peace and calm for them, for you, for what is yours together. This can slow down the whole experience and add in an element of intention to your wrapping that is meaningful — along with being beautiful.

Even if you are like me and it looks like — well, let me go gentle with myself and call it — well-intentioned.