Holiday Presence

Holiday Presents Presence

Written by Andy Vantrease

The holiday season usually means preparing for cultural traditions, cooking, gift giving, lighting candles, saying prayers, celebrating history, and spending time with family and friends. However, for many, it’s also a time of high stress due to end-of-year work deadlines, financial burdens, familial relations, and pressure to buy more and more material things that the ads swear will bring joy and happiness.

Consumerism has swept the Western world, and it’s easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest products this time of year.

I don’t know about you, but when it feels like much of the world is in disrepair, I can’t be convinced that a heated lotion dispenser is really what would make me happy. And at the end of the day, is it really important that you add a 25th scarf to your collection?

Make the holidays about appreciation, gratitude and presence.

*Teach your kids the importance of spending time with their relatives, listening to the wisdom of their grandparents and elders. There’s so much to learn from our ancestors; don’t wait until they’re gone to realize their power.

*Schedule meetings and work responsibilities in advance so you’re not cutting into plans with loved ones. Lead by example & act on your values, showing your friends and family how much they mean to you.

*Turn off the TV. Really! Stop watching commercials featuring families who look a certain way, act a certain way, and make you feel like what you have isn’t enough. It is enough, and it will always be enough. If you have love, you have the perfect family. If you have love, you have all the gifts you need.

*Take a trip together, have a potluck style dinner (and sit at the table without phones), bundle up and go for a trail walk, start a tradition that is based on quality time rather than making the holidays all about presents. Cling to memories, not materials.

*Most importantly, be present. Be present in mind and body during the holidays, with your intentions and your energy pouring into those that need it most. Open your heart to the here and now, because, baby, that’s a greater gift than any tangible toy out there.