We clutch armfuls of plastic shopping bags, snail forward in heaving Post Office depots for missed deliveries, lick closed our body weight in Christmas cards, while on a rollercoaster of enforced office end-of-the-world jollity, laced with cheap wine and heavy canapés. We lurch white-faced towards Christmas until finally, we collapse groaning, moaning. Winter chesty coughs and colds chase so many of us to the Big Day. Two huge food binge days later, we surface from the excess with recrimination, resolutions, rigid diets and draconian exercise regimes viciously scheduled for early in the New Year. As if excess or elimination are the the only two options.
Is there a happier one, you wonder? First of all, I’m not suggesting we turn parsimoniously into Scrooge. But, as always, there is the third way between Westfield and Dickensian scrapping. For Christian believers, the message is obvious. But for the rest, perhaps it is often obscure.
It is an annual celebration – even many Vietnamese Buddhists in London decorate and buy Christmas presents. It’s marker of time, a moment to press the pause button. It’s also an emotive excuse to contact forgotten friends, feed family and friends, and show non-financial generosity in what we give – beautifully wrapped gesture gifts that show thought, care, awareness and consideration.
We feel loved and special and cared for when we are feed nourishing, delicious quality food, not when we are faced with bulk food mountain, fit for a national emergency. We feel recognised when we get a small gift that we love, something that really suits our personality, taste and interests rather than a sackful of disposable tat, beyond the excess of what we already have and can appreciate or need. We feel joy when we get a lovely Christmas card suggesting we get back in touch with an old friend.
Celebrating life, joy and friendship surely is the message of Christmas.
The big fringe benefit is what Mindfulness calls the “Bliss of Blamelessness.” There is no recriminating resolutions needed for the New Year.