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Christmas Unplugged

Posted by haille on December 21, 2014

Reflection of a CandleChristmas has always given me the heebie-jeebies. I don’t think anyone even says that anymore but it’s the best way to describe the aversion that I have to ‘the silly season’ that takes over everything at this time of the year – and usually sends me into hiding.

So this year I’m reframing Christmas and getting clear about what it means to me. Here are some of the highlights:

Christmas, to me, is not about present buying and Christmas lists. To me, it needs to be a reminder of all we personally have to give – the unique contributions we have to make and the joy we feel in being able to give that way. Presents (in whatever form they take) are the most delightful when they come from a wish to share, from the heart, in a way that reminds us (the giver) that we are loving and shows the receiver that we can see who they really are. They do not need to bankrupt us.

Really good gift-giving requires our presence, much more than our money.

If you still believe in Father Christmas, you might want to skip the next couple of paragraphs...

Christmas is not about the myth of a supposedly benevolent man who sits in judgement over the innocence or otherwise of children and rewards the ones who conform, with toys or other material diversions.

Apart from all the erroneous messages that that idea sends, the Santa Claus tradition as we’ve inherited it also involves parents (along with other caretakers) having to blatantly lie to their children and set them up for future disillusionment and ‘worldliness’. It tears their tender faith muscles and teaches them that imagination is based on tall stories – yet faith and imagination are the building blocks of real creation.

Christmas should not be about having to act lovingly when you may actually feel more like doing harm to someone – even someone you love. I’m not for a moment recommending violent confrontation, but face it; Christmas as we celebrate it here can often involve feeling obligated to hang out with all the people who trigger us most, with all the past ‘stuff’ that has been held onto and is still unsaid, and trying to pretend that we feel nothing but love. That’s not an easy act.

It is ‘the festive season’, a time for celebration - not meaningful conflict resolution or relationship re-framing. And for many, it’s the one time in the year that whole families get together. Add financial pressures, over-catered, hormone-inducing Christmas feasts and copious amounts of celebratory alcohol to the mix, and abuse of all kinds inevitably happens. It’s well-documented that family violence traditionally increases over the Christmas season, on a national scale.

It appears to me that our Christmas priorities may need some tweaking. So I’m reinventing Christmas for myself this year:

This year I’m going to burn an everlasting candle to remind me of the reality of Love and the promise of Life.

I will place it in front of a mirror to remind me that everyone ‘out there’ is just a reflection of me, and that we are all one and the same, no matter what opinions I may have about anyone else.

And I will share a hug and a loving conversation with anyone who’s willing to see the Christ, or the go(o)d, in me. I will also do my very best to ‘see’ them in the same way.

That, for me, is Christmas unplugged. Any other trimmings are a bonus.

How about you? What do you think is the essence of Christmas?

* Thanks to Susanne Nilsson from StockPholio.com for the photo.


Posted by Paul Bruce on
How delightful to hear from you Haille and Xmas unplugged.

I think many of us have turned away from the confused messaging and partying that goes on, and instead seek our some quiet time with friends. This can mean yoga and meditation, or a friendly relaxed walk in the hills for a few days. It is amazing how that time away then becomes etched in your memory as a highlight of the year, especially when one has discovered that it is not the time that it takes to arrive, but how one goes about the journey that makes it special.
Posted by haille on
Hi Paul. Yes a lot of us are using Christmas as quiet time, while the rest of the show goes on.
Personally, I think heading for the hills or a retreat is a great idea. Enjoy!
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