I have a question for you: how does Christmas shopping make you feel? Do you truly enjoy it as a time of giving to those you care about, or is it just another task to complete? We endure traffic and parking problems, as well as spending hundreds of dollars on gifts, decorations, food and packaging, so for a genuinely merry Christmas, it has to come from the heart. But why isn’t this the case for many of us?
Where Did Authentic Giving Go?
We often give out of obligation at this time of year – whether it is to keep up appearances with more distant relatives or to random co-workers during Secret Santas. Giving from a place of obligation can wear us down, as it may ignore our personal values. Authentic giving from a place of joy and gratitude is fun and worth any trouble, but when consumerism leaves us calculating and justifying our choices, the opposite is true.
“Let’s be grateful that we can afford to spoil those around us, and that we can spend some of our Christmas budget on gifts that give back to empower others”
What is authentic giving? Unlike consumerist ideals of spending as much money as possible, it’s about spreading joy and love, even beyond ourselves and the recipient of our gift. Of course, many social enterprises such as Moeloco make this possible, by donating a portion of sales to a cause; by directly addressing an issue, such as by providing economic opportunities to those without many; or both. The act of empowering others can have far-reaching ripple effects on their lives, those of people they love and so on. You can up-cycle or make your own gifts, which provides a very personal touch and reduces impact on the natural environment.
How Gratitude Matters
The best way to approach Christmas shopping, alongside authentic giving, is from a place of gratitude. So many around the world would struggle to afford even one gift, let alone shopping for a long list of family, friends and a few acquaintances. Let’s be grateful that we can afford to spoil those around us, and that we can spend some of our Christmas budget on gifts that give back to empower others. We have so many choices, and what better way to express our gratitude for these choices than to make ones that lift others out of poverty and lack of agency?
As Christmas ends off the year for those of us who celebrate it, let’s also be grateful for the year that we’ve had. In numerology, 2017 was a number 1 year, meaning it may be the perfect time for new beginnings. Many of us, myself included, have embarked on new beginnings, whether it be to expand something currently in our lives or to start something totally new. 2018 will be a number 2 year, and the essence of 2 is that of relationships, coexistence and teamwork, including romance! If you have started something new this year, prepare to grow through relationships with other people.
If Christmas has been a stressful time of unwanted consumerism to you for years now, perhaps trying out the ideas above could help you return to joyful, authentic giving. And never forget the importance of gratitude.
Until next time,