Sometimes it is good to get back to the “heart” of a tradition…
Remembering the simplicity of where Christmas celebrations began can help us gain perspective when we face all the glitz and glamour of our shopping malls!
The first Christmas gifts were brought by the Kings to the stable in Bethlehem to acknowledge the birth of Christ – they were the first to recognise the Messiah as we know from The Bible -Matthew 2: 10-11.
Then the original Santa Clause whom today we see represented in red, unfashionable clothing with a white beard and wig shouting “HO, HO, HO” but few of us know the real story of Saint Nicholas;
The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus’ words to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.
St Nicholas Day is celebrated in Europe on December 6th or in the Netherlands and Belgium on the eve (December 5th) by parents leaving small gifts at their door such as chocolates.
Both of these historical stories allow us to step back just a moment and ponder the roots of Christmas and give a sense of generosity of heart-gifting, not necessarily big budget gifting.
What would a meaningful gift be for the members of your family and friends?
A personal favourite book which I have recently re-visited is “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. Gary invites us to consider gifts in a different way:
Words of affirmation, Quality time, Receiving gifts, Acts of service and Physical Touch.
If we think of each person in our family that we wish to give a gift of “LOVE” to, which of the above list would be meaningful them?
Words of affirmation can be spoken and can be shared in a card, either made or bought – there is nothing more special for a grandparent to receive a gift made by a grandchild such as a card or calendar with a drawing, or photos and a few special words from the heart.
Here are some great ideas: http://tinkerlab.com/40-homemade-cards-for-kids-to-make/
Quality time is something we can ensure we share with our children over the holiday period. Rather than spending a lot of money on gifts that will thrill for a moment and be forgotten about by the New Year, focus on being together and sharing moments together, reading, playing cricket in the back garden, swimming together, baking cookies for Christmas gifts for extended family, making meals together, sharing stories, building sandcastles on the beach together! Put your phone away and show your child how much you love them by giving them 100% attention!
Receiving Gifts may be your love language, or that of one of your family, but you are now seeing that a gift does not necessarily cost money, what gifts can you make which express your passion. If you knit or sew, do pottery, or bake or do woodwork, perhaps you massage, make music, or paint or draw. Give a gift of your creativity and see the response of appreciation.
Acts of service may seem a challenge to wrap up and put under the tree! However, when I was a single Mom (which I was for eight years when my children were in primary and newly into high school) I will never forget my twins putting together a pack of hand written “vouchers” which I was invited to redeem at anytime during the holidays for 1) a massage 2) making a meal, 3) an undisturbed sunbathe in the garden for an hour 4) a video of my choice (on my account at the video store!!) 5) a candle lit supper on the stoep (made by the children) and so on! This was the most wonderful gift which let Christmas carry on for many days in our family!!! I just had to tear off a voucher and book my “gift”!
Physical Touch, again, perhaps a challenge to wrap it up, but hugs and shoulder rubs can come for free, and if you know there is a family member who would appreciate this, maybe you can just focus on giving more hugs, hand holding, cuddles and snuggles throughout the holiday period.
As parents, we are teaching our value system to our children through our behaviour and attitudes every day! If we want to show them how to live in debt, lets run up the credit card, and spend every moment in the shopping malls being seduced by every “special” and message of “buy me, buy me”.
If we want to teach our children the value of loving and giving from the heart; to receive one gift of a much sought after item, which you know they will enjoy for some time to come, along with much shared time and activities together will have a long lasting message of love and acceptance; which are the real messages of Christmas.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS – Part 3 will be out on December 15th:
“How to de-stress family relations”