WRITTEN BY: MICHELLE GALLAGHER
The innocence of Christmas Spirit has a dark, and haunted other – The Christmas Monster. The Christmas Monster is a shapeshifter of epic proportions, green with envy to be exact. Each year, it feeds off of keeping up with Joneses and washes that down with buckets of juicy guilt. Not being able to afford a brand new x,y & z for presents guilt. This is it’s favorite flavor to be exact.
The Christmas Monster is a hideous beast and lurks in the most unseen places. It grows more insidious every passing year, robbing our hearts of the very origin of Christmas itself; helping sick children and the poor (See Wikipedia -St. Nicholas). Our modern day version of this holiday was an idea born of American economic need and colonist cohesion in the 1820’s with corporate shopping marketing events incarnated in New York and Philadelphia. These ports were a hot spot for European immigrants who had St. Nick embedded in their own culture.
At first, the social-cultural intentions were good, but they were not pure. And out of the tradition of Christmas spirit something,went terribly wrong.Instead of singing and celebrating there became more of an emphasis of shopping, more wanting with million dollar marketing to feed each seasonal craving. The season strikes when the clock ticks ‘turkey is done’ on Thanksgiving to be exact. That’s when the beast rears its head and becomes fully rebirthed complete with its ever insatiable appetite on, you guessed it; Black Friday. Consumer laden mayhem, a mass Christmas Monster possession ensues well into the days following December 25th and with that the monster, thrives.
We’ve all felt this creature’s invisible yet constrictive tentacles and most often in the form of CP3 – Christmas present performance pressure. The side effects usually brings on a mountain of credit card debt, a considerable amount of unnecessary landfill waste and a hollow feeling of ‘how will I top that again?’ when January first hits.
So how do we slow down or slay this hungry miscreation? How do we appropriate it to restore and curate the true meaning of Christmas spirit? I have a few ideas that may be just elixir in restoring some of the magic we could all use and very much need in these strange times.
Singing. Yes. Actually SINGING. Now I know what you are thinking, you only partake in the shower or car or not at all because your mother told you that you were tone deaf. I have to tell you that it’s complete nonsense. Believing that idea alone feeds the C-monster.
The power and muse of music alone is an anecdote and Christmas music when shared, out loud preferably in groups makes the light of Christmas shine brighter. Now, the idea of Christmas music may make you roll your eyes. I agree it seems a little less Fa La La La La and a lot more bah humbug because the same old songs are on repeat sometimes as early as November first. We must however fix this at once! We must write new songs. Remix them even! Can you plan a neighborhood outing with Christmas songs as the epicenter of the entertainment? #Falalalala
The most precious gift we can give is the presence of our time – not Chinese made merchandise. Being present to family, friends and loved ones illuminates the darkness with laughter and kindness. Teaching our children to volunteer at homeless soup kitchens, or clean out old toys to be donated to appropriate charities will shrink The Christmas Monsters reach. #SpendMoreTimeWithFamily
This brings me to my next ingredient in the loveliest potion that just save Christmas as we know it.
Craft From Your Heart.
Pinterest is chalked filled with ideas to upcycle gifts or create unique ones of your own bringing a crafty advantage over ‘you know who’. And crafting calls for your time, your creativity and the opportunity to bring you family together and create momentos to be gifted from your heart space.
Giving your family a taste of your Grandmother’s infamous Christmas cookies or the experience of holiday dinner is a great way to work with and expand the light of the Spirit of Christmas. Spending #Time in the kitchen baking or making a ham taste just the way it was when you were young inflates good memories and good feelz in present day.
And you know, the sweet cookies you make can also be used as hand crafted gifts to give! #ChristmasTradition
Adopting a family or child anonymously in your community by way of your church, or perhaps an organization you belong to (MOCC) is an amazing way to tithe which is hard core kryptonite to the Christmas Monster. Perhaps your children’s school has set up a program to give money or presents to deployed troops or you know of a neighbor that could really use a Giant gift card. Make this a family affair will inflate the good memories and have everyone feeling good about being #SecretSanta
Hosting a celebration where any of the above aforementioned ideas are incorporated along with inviting everyone to bring a dish of their own expands joyous connection within your community aka as holiday cheer. A really good potluck can strengthen interpersonal connections and create even more positive opportunities and memories that can wipe out the Christmas monster in our lifetime.#YouCanPotluckToo
Now I know what you are thinking, these ideas may be good in theory, but I’m really busy and/or the Christmas monster is a little bigger than just me. OK. I get it. And your family and friends may be looking forward to your yearly generosity with a bow on top.
But if you absolutely must give a material gift please consider the following:
Will this gift be used in the next two to five years?
If the answer is hell yes. Then go for it. It’s a good investment. If not, rethink your strategy and don’t tempt the beast! (See more conscious gift ideas below).
Is this gift about making me feel/look better?
If the answer is yes, then you’re not giving to give, your giving to get – which is a slippery slope and something that ‘he who will not be named’ loves to chew on because it gets entangled in …your guilt. The Christmas Monster loves guilt!
Check your feelings at the door by asking this question – how will _____ benefit from this gift?
How will it impact my financial, social and economic footprint?
If the answer is minimally, go ahead and get the thing. The moment it goes unused or out of fashion, be sure and find a proper home by repurposing, or donating it. You know, not just giving it a random home in the corner of the dump.
There are ways to get around the old haphazard buy-a-bunch-of-cheap-stuff-to-be-the-stocking stuffer-hero. Here are a few more mindful ideas:
Give an experience.
Tickets to a movie, a tour at a zoo or wildlife preserve, a few hours with a hair dresser, masseuse or cleaning lady are on the top of any mom’s secret gift receiving list. Perhaps offering to babysit someone’s kids so they can have a night out is a great way to give. And don’t be afraid to ask for these things! It sure beats another pajama set that’s not your size or a piece of jewelry you don’t necessarily love.
Gift certificates and gift cards:
Gas and groceries are both something that everyone could use a break on. No? Giving someone money to eat out at a restaurant also has minimal eco damage involved and still give everyone, yes even the economy a boost.
Sponsor an animal.
My daughter and her friend came up with this idea because they are obsessed with wolves. Research local animal shelters, rescues or zoo’s have these opportunities to spread the love to our furry friends too.
There are so many amazing people within our own community that have created space, products or opportunities for you and your family that supersede any large chain retail outlets, cookie cutter gift ideas. Meaning, take the time to gift give that gives back to your neighbor as well. #BuyLocal #SupportSmallBusiness
Finally, don’t ask your loved ones what they want for Christmas. Instead, ask them what they need.
If you take the time to listen, you can hear in the response itself that need is so much different from ‘want’. Need opens up an opportunity for deepened connection, which is magic all on it’s own. This question alone is so powerful that the more you ask it, of yourself and others – it has the alchemical power and ability to stop the C-monster dead in its tracks because our wants will never outweigh the gratitude emboldened by being a gift that is needed.
So if and when you are feeling constricted under #TheChristmasWishList or you find yourself up late at night, tossing and turning wondering how you are going to be the best version of santa your parents couldn’t be, stop the beast dead in its tracks.
Take a deep breath, take pause to sing it even.
Then ask yourself or your loved ones: What do you really need for Christmas?
And let the answer create a new story of the holiday season one that boasts of less mass consumerism and more mindfulness, kindness and light which is inherently the true spirit Christmas.
Michelle Gallagher is an internationally renowned intuitive living in our backyard. Her passions include writing, public speaking and teaching Kundalini Yoga as well as how to use your natural intuition as your superpower. Find out why some call her Fairy Godmother at VenusRisingInc.com