+ Christmas. When is enough, enough?

Christmas. When is enough, enough?

Conscious-christmas

Words by psychotherapist Jane Faulkner

Christmas is approaching and I want to change the way that my children perceive Christmas. I don’t want it to be a gift-receiving extravaganza that is all forgotten about 3 days later. So I am pondering what to do!

There are so many expectations around Christmas, presents, and feasts, catching up with people. Currently I’m overwhelmed just at the thought of it all!!

My dilemma is that my kids already have all that they need- yet they could still create a huge list of wants, but they don’t need for anything. So I’m questioning how I make this Christmas special without spoiling them or wrecking havoc on the environment.

I want to raise my kids to look further than themselves and their wants, I want them to think of the impact their actions have on the world around them, the environment and other people’s lives. I want them to look beyond pretty packaging and question if they really need that pretty thing and if it is worth the price – financially, environmentally and health wise.

I’m not a strict parent and I don’t ram environmentalism or ethically sourced goods down their throat, however, I do want them to become aware and to be free of the consumerism driven nature that has engulfed our society. It is liberating to walk into a shop and realize that you don’t need anything and that you can walk out empty handed and still be happy. This is what I want for my kids.

I want them to find value in themselves, their world and in the people around them. I want them to be able to draw on this value whenever they need to, not because the ads on TV or other people tell them.

So many of us look outside ourselves for value and worth, we try to find value and happiness in things and we can lose sense of who we are and what we need, which can leave us feeling empty and lost.

I remember as a kid we had one particularly lean Christmas; we got toothbrushes, hairbrushes and practical things like that. I remember being disappointed, however, it also taught me a lot about what Christmas was all about. I realized it wasn’t the presents that I loved so much; it was the time I got to spend with my extended family. It was the only time of year that I got to see some of my cousins and I loved their company. I loved the feeling of being surrounded by family.

So this year I aim to keep it simple: about family and being around people you love.

 

Thanks Jane. I love this post and as a practical person, I hate giving for the sake of it. I way prefer to come across a meaningful gift, knowing that the person will love it and being excited to share it with them. My 7 year old just last week was pondering if he will be on the naughty or nice list? He said to me “I think I might be on the in between list like every other year.” I asked him what he meant and he said, well I get some good presents but I never get the ones I ask Santa for. I explained that Santa likes to bring useful presents and there has to be enough to go around for everyone. This year he has asked for an Apple watch so with expensive taste like that, I guess he’ll be on the “in-between list” again!

Jane and I would love to hear your thoughts on creating a conscious Christmas with your family. Post a comment below…

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Jane Faulkner is a Reg. Nurse with a Masters Degree in Gestalt Psychotherapy, a certificate in Initiatic Art Therapy and A Certificate in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy; she is also a yoga teacher. Jane works in private practice as well as in a local health retreat. She has worked in the Wellness industry for the past 20 years.

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  • Liz

    I absolutely love this post and it’s something I’ve been thinking about so much. I would love some practical tips for HOW to go about doing this… How can we change the culture of Christmas for our families?

    • Thanks Liz, for me it’s about talking to my kids about wants and needs. My 11yr old is definitely getting the message and like me, is choosing practical items as presents. Actually this year she is getting money to buy clothes. She is becoming more and more generous and is considering ‘giving back’ some of her money to a worthy cause. On a recent holiday, she gave a good amount of her holiday savings to the homeless and really delighted in it. My 7 yr old is a work in progress – he just ‘wants’, but we keep talking about how much he really ‘needs’ another box of lego etc; I’m hoping with age he will come around like his sister has. To be honest, as much as I love the mysticism of santa, I think now my daughter has realised that Santa isn’t real has actually helped minimise her wanting all the time. I’d love to hear others thoughts on this though G x

  • Samantha Ashley

    Each Christmas we decide to give each other something we have made. It may be a candle, a poem, a story, a picture the kids have drawn, a cake we have baked. It is a way to show that we havent just run out to the store to but something meaningless to fill the need to give a present. We have taken time to think about the people we love and to give them something from the heart. Christmas for us is definitely a time to spend with family and we emphasise that with our children. We have no complaints and each year while we are making things for those we love we are reflecting on the times we have spent with them and reinforcing how important they are in our lives.

    • Just perfect, thanks so much for contributing Samantha G x

  • Mahité

    I love this post and the comments! I, too, feel like the Santa myth is not necessarily helping us… My kids, 5 and 8, still believe he exists. In our family, besides talking a lot all year round about consumerism and the planet and what makes people truly happy and luminous (beyond stuff), we try to give them toys or things that may not be useful, but that focus on connection. A game that we’ll play all together (giving up great moments of laughter and connection), a new bike or cross-country ski (we love to go in nature) etc. What is difficult is that we have little control over the extended family – I hate to see our house invaded with stuff I wish would have never entered. Thanks for leading the conversation!

    • Yes so true regarding extended friends and family, We have family that spend a huge amount of money on ‘stuff’ – at risk of sounding ungrateful, I just wish they would agree to a small gift or something needed. We love games or family presents too and the fun they bring. Thanks for contributing G x

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