Christmas is about giving. It is easy to forget that when you look at the advertising of some commercial companies that suggest you ‘treat yourself for Christmas’.
I’m sure that Christmas is not about treating yourself. If you want to really make a difference this Christmas, buy some thoughtful presents, send beautiful cards, and try some of these subtler and more selfless gifts too:
At Christmas, everything goes into overdrive. There just doesn’t seem enough time to get all that shopping done, the decorations up and the cards written. How many times have you thought, or said, ‘we must meet up’ to someone – a loved one, a friend, a parent, while thinking privately ‘it will be February before that can happen’.
Taking the trouble to book that date in the diary can really make someone feel loved, cared for and appreciated. Much more than a card or a bottle of wine can ever do.
Even better, take part in something. Help out at a Christmas Bazaar, sing Carols, get down on the streets and help feed the homeless. Make your Christmas matters to others.
Give your time first and your money second.
Christmas is a lonely time for many. You can just pick up the phone and give a relative a call, or you can go and visit them, even just for an hour or two. Have a chat with them. Tell them your news, but most importantly give them the chance to share with you. Ask them lots of questions, listen to their answers and make it about them, not you.
One of the reasons Christmas is special for so many of us is because we often have fond memories of the Christmases our families celebrated together. Now that you are doing Christmas yourself, with or without a family of your own, you can appreciate how much effort, expense and love went into your own Christmas as a child. Make your parents Christmas as amazing as they made yours was by finally thanking them properly for what they did. Maybe there were tough times too and not everything has been great in your life, but you can still appreciate the things that were, and that can be a stepping stone to forgiveness for the things that weren’t.
Whatever you do at Christmas, in your gifting, in your socialising, in your involvement at events or ceremonies, try to take the ‘I’ out of Christmas. It can be so easy to try to keep up appearances. Do you get offended if the gift you get isn’t your thing, or it is too cheap, or tacky or apparently thoughtless? Do you sometimes find yourself trying to ‘one-up’ people’s gifts or even just their stories or experiences?
Take a step back from yourself and make it about them, not you. Make a conscious effort to give others the chance to shine.
The greatest thing of all about these Christmas gifts is that they will not only make the biggest difference in the lived of others, but they will be great for you too. That may not be what it is about but giving yourself and your time generously, with gratitude, patience and love will make for a much more memorable Christmas for you too.