After a fun discussion over their favorite jello treats, my grandchildren and I just agreed to change our gift-giving Christmas tradition, for a new practice of gifts given by Nana to causes we each identify. It’s really about extending hope to others, from our appreciation and love for one another.
Single moms get my attention here, while children in need move my grandson and parents who lack the basics capture compassion from my granddaughter. Nana’s role is to gather dollars, as the search is on to ensure each of these groups finds encouragement in a gift given soon in my grandchildren’s name. Anticipation is high and hearts are full of hope that we can make a difference together this Christmas.
Holidays offer generous spaces to give to those we love, and yet love we value most is rarely defined by expensive gifts received. What if we placed smaller, more meaningful treasures under the tree, followed by a fun event together to celebrate the season? We discussed together how our most festive seasons also remind us of more and more people who feel locked outside gift giving or receiving, for many reasons. Down on their luck financially, broken family ties, or both leave the most vulnerable among us discouraged and without even the basics to celebrate.
That said, I love to give at Christmas, with the brain more in mind.
Deeply felt holiday traditions such as setting up twinkling lights, hanging brightly colored bobbles, playing age old carols, or baking so that apple-pie-aromas permeate your kitchen create wonder and Christmas joy for me. You?
Holidays increase serotonin (the brain’s wellbeing chemical) when we consider giving with a special person’s delight in mind, and a 2-footed question in toe. What would they laugh over most? How could a unique gift bring out their own distinctives? What would they enjoy and savor as a small symbol of their special place in my life? What one item would tap them on the back, with the encouragement they may need to journey to the next place in their life?
Just the thought of blessing people I care for at Christmas, with a gift they need or a treasure they’d enjoy, makes my day grand. That same wellbeing increases when we give to those who have less, when we encourage a person down on luck, or when we re-connect with a long-lost-friend or family member. Have you had the same magical experience at Christmas?
I’m learning to run from any pressure to buy costly stuff we neither need nor want, just as we run from the cortisol that fills our brains with toxins that shut us down.
That’s basically why I like to give at Christmas with the brain more in mind. What’s your best moment of Christmas giving, and how will others benefit this season?