imageIt is hard to miss that the Christmas season has begun! Of course if you have spent anytime in the big box stores, it has been front and center since the beginning of October. However, Black Friday signals the official rush of the shopping season.

Christmas is upon us. So even those of us who do not celebrate this particular holiday are submerged in it energetically. It is hard to escape.

Yesterday I went to the ‘Unique and Unusual Gift Show’ hosted by Sandy Rogers and Jody Loren. It was held at the Embassy Suites on Camelback. I wasn’t looking for Christmas gifts, but I am always looking for ways to support local artists and small business. It was a nice event with a number of folks I knew already and a few more I got to meet for the first time.

I got to have a number of nice conversations. Several people asked if I “needed to finish my gift shopping”? When I relayed that I didn’t really observe Christmas as a holiday, so there were no gifts to buy; several people looked envious! I even had a couple of exchanges where people were buying cool things for themselves… But they were actually feeling guilty about it. As if, they should not buy anything for themselves until they had bought for all the others that were on their list!

It was a reminder that for all the festivities that are taking place, there is a lot of pressure that is also associated with the season. But where does that actually come from?

I completely get why someone who identifies as Christian would want to acknowledge the day that is used to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I get that from the stories told in the bible that when the wise men visited the new born baby, they brought gifts. So I understand the religious holiday and even where the idea of gift giving originates.

But when and where did it become a commercial extravaganza where people often go into debt and stress themselves out about buying gifts? Stress that affects a LOT of people. Mind you I have a retail store that sells unique and fabulous gifts. But the idea of feeling pressure or stress to buy a gift for someone, feels kind of yuckie!

If you love it… And it is easy, fun and from the heart, I say GO FOR IT!! That is how gift giving should always be. Something given without the slightest expectation of anything in return. Giving because it gives YOU joy! If that is how the season is for you, then have a blast!

But if it isn’t. If it is causing you stress or emotional or mental anguish… Then I say, stop the madness! Buying presents is not the reason for the season. There are so many other aspects of this season that can be celebrated. Not one of them has to require stress, guilt, shame or pressure to spend money.

If nothing else, slow down and evaluate what makes sense for you and the circumstances of your life. Who are you buying for and why? Does it feel good or does it feel like a duty or obligation? Remember, any gift that is shared has emotional energies attached to it.

Be intentional!

With Light, Love, and Laughter
Charles

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