In the US and in many other spots around the world, it seems that each year we have become more obsessed with the material trappings of the holiday season. There is a sense of pressure and urgency to buy, spend, and overdo it. The impact may be more intense for those of us who celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, but it reaches all of us regardless of whether we come from a tradition of exchanging gifts at this time of year or not.
How did we get to this place? We can’t simply blame the marketers, advertisers, and retailers. After all, we staff these organizations and they merely reflect the culture from which they originate. Perhaps we need to examine our motives for following and perpetuating this trend. Perhaps we need to face our personal insecurities telling us that we are not good enough if we don’t buy the latest toy for our children or grandchildren or the latest fashion or gadget for ourselves.
What would happen if we all paused for a moment to ask ourselves what really matters? What might we see if we spent some time contemplating the true nature of giving and receiving? If we did, would we still think we could find meaning and joy at a store or wrapped in a box?
Think about what authentic giving and receiving means to you. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- When interacting with someone you love and who makes you happy is this good feeling generated because you are both wearing the latest fashions while riding together in a brand new luxury car or is it the quality of the conversation?
- When you feel especially close to a friend or family member is this because you have had an expensive dinner at the trendiest restaurant or is it because you have shared something about yourself and encouraged the same intimacy in your companion?
- When thoroughly enjoying an activity with significant others is this because collectively you have an opportunity to impress each or is it because you are appreciating the collaboration that occurs when people feel comfortable being themselves with one another?
We would like to inspire you to throw off the cultural programming that tells you that giving material things is required if you want to be a good friend, parent, lover, spouse, etc. and see that honoring the spirit of the holiday season is more than purchasing things.
Self-Discovery Tool 5/45
Let’s start a revolution that puts gift-giving in the proper perspective: a lovely symbol of caring that neither replaces the caring itself, nor is a requirement to prove anything to yourself or loved ones. Let’s go back to basics and realize anew that love is the true currency of giving and receiving – what could be brighter than this?!