Making connections through gift-giving and receiving

christmas-gifts-1322621-mI don’t know about you, but every year as the winter holidays begin to creep closer, I start to have a moment of panic.

Well, maybe it is not so much panic but more dissociative in nature.

What I am preparing for is the list that is coming, the list of items that I know my children are going to be wishing for as they begin to write down all the material goods that they desire.

The panic is what creeps in first as I prepare myself to show willingness to accept these lists that they have worked so hard to create. The dissociation comes in when I want to go into denial about this time of year, how many gifts to purchase or what it all really means.

I am lucky to be in a position where I am usually able to purchase whatever my children need or to obtain exactly what is desired throughout the entire year. As a result, these lists that my children are creating seem like extra stuff that they do not really need but are developed out of the idea of the gift-receiving concept that comes with the winter holiday season.

What if things were different this year? What if gift-giving and receiving really came from the heart? Could this provide us with an opportunity to see and distinguish between what we need, want and desire?

Could we expand upon this concept to move away from the material side of the holidays and look more closely at the altruism and willingness to open to others in love?

Instead of leaving my children alone to make a gift wish list, I could spend time with them. We could look at what passions they have and then volunteer or make financial donations to organizations or charities that are aligned with their interests. We could make a decision to support only local businesses when we want to purchase items. We could spend time together making gifts or finding other ways to engage within our community.

All of this we could do without any expectation of return, which is one way of defining what it means to offer gifts.

Maybe this year will be about embracing a different side of the economy that does not involve me going to multiple stores to purchase every item on my children’s wish lists.

lisa feiertag 3Instead, we are opening doors of connection, providing opportunities for me to understand what my children enjoy doing and how we can share that love with others.

This could become very contagious.

As we step outside the norm to offer gifts from the heart that involve our time, energy and money, others may see how much joy we have. They may wonder where this comes from and may experience exactly what it means when we offer service or gifts to others without any expectation of return. This could be the encouragement needed for my girls to continue doing it and has the potential to get others involved.

What a great way to form connections with our loved ones and to embrace community instead of continuing within a pattern of panic and dissociation.

Author: Lisa Feiertag

Lisa Feiertag is the Leader Applicants Liaison for Attachment Parenting International. She is also an API Resource Leader in Frederick County, Maryland, USA.

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