Christmas is a non-event for me. Partly because I live on my own in the middle of nowhere but also because it really has ‘lost the plot’ and become a season of extreme commercialisation and over-indulgence. I admit, I like to have lunch with family or friends if that’s logistically possible, which it was this year but if it’s just me and the animals, that’s fine. I carry on as normal and enjoy an extra-quiet interlude where everything around me stops – yes, this is noticeable even in the countryside which is not always as quiet as you would think.
I haven’t done the present ‘thing’ for years. But if I want to make a gift to someone, for instance, the people who invited me to lunch, my neighbours who took me out for dinner, or as a gesture of appreciation to the local organic grocery shop which is a relic from last century – a tiny premises which has everything fresh, dried, bottled and is largely plastic free, where they still add up by hand, pass on savings to their customers and is a mecca for the local community which we are lucky to have, then I bake something. Rocket Fuel always goes down well (the recipe is on my Food page).
There is so much pressure to spend at Christmas which many people can’t afford (not to mention the ritual of over-eating and over-drinking) – and for what? So, I was very pleased to read on www.positive.news of the increasing number of people donating a few hours of their time to good causes including local charities and grass roots projects in their areas as a hands-on, cost-free gift to those in need. On the flip-side, the national press was focused on poor sales figures in the run up to the big day and expected redemption in Boxing Day sales for retailers, which didn’t happen as it transpired. So, just how did it become the norm for retailers to expect such a large Christmas bonus? This is a trick question because Christmas is a commercial event created by retailers. But maybe the tide is starting to turn?
What is the true value of Christmas then? The best thing for many is the quality time spent with family and friends and the easing up of driven lives for just a moment to create a space for ‘good cheer’ and a bit of ‘good will’. This is the real luminescence of the festive season, far brighter than any Christmas lights and enduring too. You can always spot a person who is shining their light. They are balanced and compassionate and stand out in a crowd. They shine from the inside-out. It’s powerful and infectious and you want to be around them because they are uplifting.
Aside of any religious significance (something else I don’t subscribe to because in my spiritual way of thinking, the essence of all the main religions unites us and not divides us – another lost plot), then showing our light at an individual level is at the heart of Christmas. If only, when the lights are turned on in high streets up and down the country, we could turn on our own light instead of a buying frenzy. Even better if it could remain on all year. Then, in the true spirit of Christmas, we would have ‘peace on earth and goodwill to mankind’ in the blink of an eye.
A few months ago, I was asked to write a poem about shining your light. Here it is. Happy Christmas!
The Inner Smile
A state of being
Without any seeing,
Of tangible signs
Or rehearsed lines.
Achieved with intent
Result of life events
Which challenge and test
Show you at your best.
A state of grace
The feeling is ace,
Knowing all’s well
A sort of spell.
Felt by all around.
People, planet, fauna, flora
How? It’s in your aura.
Pics: Winter scenes in and around my property during the cold spell.
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