Christmas comes, “but once a year”, as Australian entertainer Rolf Harris once said. Every year we engage in an internal seasonal tension. We spend huge amounts of energy trying to fathom what we should buy for each other, race from shop to shop looking for gifts, and spend our hard earned cash. In this season of darkness and dormancy we push our emotional and physical selves to the limit in an extreme of commercialized activity. Yes of course, the children are excited about presents at Christmas, but maybe, just maybe we could shift our perspective a bit and reduce the volume of STUFF, and focus on the people we care about. For years we’ve watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas and the message is, “There’s more to Christmas than just gifts.” Generally speaking, I don’t believe we’re getting the message.
What most of us want although we don’t say it very often is that we want to be loved and accepted by others. There seems to be an absurd notion that “the more we give the more we are loved and appreciated.”Here’s the crux of the matter. Don’t confuse love and caring with buying stuff for someone. If you took even half the time and energy you spend at the shops and spent that with the people who you care about in a related and meaningful way two things would happen.
Firstly, you might really connect with those you love, and have some fun. Secondly you might not be so stressed with parking lots, traffic, crowds and spending cash you haven’t got. Don’t have any ideas for taking this time let me offer you some suggestions. Bake cookies with your kids, take your family indoor rock climbing, go bike riding, walking, read a good story, watch a good movie together, sing together, have a family dance, do a puzzle, play a board game, go skiing, decorate the tree together. As you might have noticed, I did not mention watching TV at any point in this message. This was deliberate. When I speak of really having time with friends and family, let it be with a sense of connectedness. Communication, touch, laughter, interaction, these are all part of giving of ourselves, directly without any distraction. Now, as a recipe for better relationships across the board, take time for the people you care about All Year, Every Year, and Always. There’s one more piece of the puzzle for better relationships, take time for you, slow down. If you don’t take care of yourself, and give yourself time to recharge YOUR batteries, you won’t relate well to others no matter how much you would wish to. And it goes without saying that no matter how much you buy, you will not have a better relationship without the personal relatedness.
Now, if you really, really like the Christmas crowds, traffic, lineups, and the buy, buy, buy idealism, don’t let me stop you, but on the off chance that you don’t, take more time to be with your family and friends.