Why am I not doing gifts? There are a few reasons…
– Our beloved rescued service/therapy dog, Bertie has been diagnosed with cancer and so we are prioritising his treatment in our budget.
– I get sad watching people struggle to find something to buy for someone who has nearly everything they could want, apart from the time to enjoy it all. I’d rather gift them the nothingness and space of time, than another item.
– I love gifts so much, I run an ethical gift box company called Healing Boxes. But we advocate year-round gift giving. To give a gift when it’s needed, when someone’s heart is hurting you can send them a box of joyful healing goodies. We don’t need to save that love until a calendar prompts us.
– I’ve spent the last year decluttering. I became acutely aware that for every possession, I have to find a place to store it, have to clean it, maintain it, earn money to pay for its space by paying for the house I live in, the house that houses my possessions.
One day, if I no longer have a use for it, I have to find it a new home, a good home, that’s my responsibility as a citizen of our planet. I can’t just throw it away, or dump it on a charity shop that’s increasingly over-run with discarded and devalued items. That’s a lot of work and responsibility.
Every time I think of buying something for myself or anyone else, I think of the life cycle of that product. Do I want to give someone that responsibility for anything less than exactly what they want or need?
I thought about non-physical gifts, it’s my nature to go towards educational things, books, audios, classes, online courses and so on. But everyone of those comes with its own list of implied actions.
For example, if I get a new book, I need to:
– Find a space for it in my bag, or on my arranged-by-colour bookshelves.
– Read it.
– Do the exercises or practices suggested, if any.
– Process and digest the information.
– Act on the information that is relevant to me and requires action.
– Decide if any of the actions will become part of my wellness practices and implement them, build new habits around them.
– File the information, quotes, data I gleaned from the book for referring back to it in my work, writing, speaking etc.
– Send the book on to its new home.
– Follow up on any references in the book that need further elucidation. Did this book reference a topic I want to know more on? The cycle begins again.
– If the book was very influential to me, I write to the author to thank them and let them know. They aren’t mind readers and royalties don’t always amount to that much. They poured their heart into this book and to my mind, deserve at least a thank you.
Now, you may be saying I’m making work for myself. Why can’t I just pick up a book and read it?
But the question is, why am I reading this book?
If it’s just for fun, if it’s a lovely novel then I can relax and enjoy (barring triggers).
But if its an educational book, I’m reading it to learn something, it’s like a course in a book and to learn what I’d like to learn I’ve found I need to do more than just gulp down the words and wonder why my life hasn’t changed yet.
The fact is, even if I were to get lots of things this season, I can only play with one thing at one time. I can only read one book, listen to one piece of music, enjoy one space at a time. So maybe there’s no need for lots of things. If you want something, maybe you can have the thing you want and enjoy it now.
The thing is, there’s a part of me, a young, joyous, magpie part of me that LOVES presents. I love shiny, pretty, glittering, exciting, surprising new things. And I want to honour that part. So if you’ve bought me a gift, thank you, and I’m sure I’ll love it.
If gift giving works for you – go for it. I utterly love gifts, after all, I do own a bespoke gift box company.
So how are we opting out of the festive pressure? What are we focussing in instead this festive season? Well, experiences. Enjoying what we have.
– We will spend time curled up by the fire, enjoying time with the books and audios we already have but haven’t had a chance to use yet.
– We plan to play board games (we already have quite a stack) and listen to carols on the radio.
– I want to continue working on my paintings-in-progress and playing my instruments.
– We can go and get a Yule branch, bring it home, decorate it and enjoy the twinkling lights and all our favourite ornaments
– We’ll go for a walk with the dogs, all wrapped up and go and see the horses, give them festive hugs and attention and then come home to a warm house and light a big fire.
– We can make a special lunch, have fun planning it, making it and eating food that feels good in our bodies.
– We can celebrate the season, the shortest day, by hibernating and resting, by being gentle with our beautiful bodies and resting in the restorative darkness.
– We can end the day by candle light, computer free, and peaceful. We can think of the light returning and give thanks.
If you aren’t feeling festive, if your tree isn’t up (mine isn’t), if you haven’t got all your gifts sorted and cards sent (not me), if the pressure to ‘Have Fun’ and make it, manifest it, master it into the ‘Best Christmas Ever’™ is making you feel sick (oh yes) then feel free to join me over here in the land of ‘That’s Ok’.
We are human. The idea that we need to squeeze all of our joy, community, togetherness, family time, gifting, receiving, generosity, visiting, volunteering, and new year planning and manifesting into one month feels to me like a form of violence. No thank you.
I often look to animals for wisdom, to my dogs and horses, to my own animal body. What do they do?
In the winter, they curl up more, sleep more, enjoy being warm. They don’t try to walk or trek further than they ever have before. They don’t set meridia. They follow the seasons with their bodies. I am following that example.
In the spring, when the world starts to wake up, the greening and the quickening time comes, they’ll be excited to try new adventures, but for now, we all need to store our energy and nurture ourselves to get through the winter. Without the fallow period, new plans won’t grow.
What’s pressuring you this festive season? And what could your antidote be?