We all have things. Most of us have a lot of things, way more than we need. Do we really need more? Coming into the festive season, we encourage you to reconsider what giving means. Presents have a price tag, but your time and attention are priceless. Instead of giving presents, we recommend being generous with your presence these holidays.
For some, the holiday period is a time of loneliness and isolation, sometimes even a reminder of lost loved ones. Human connection is for most an invaluable source of belonging, comfort and meaning. Knowing someone cared enough to drop in, pick up the phone or even send a heart-felt card can have a significant impact.
We are all guilty of taking things for granted. The word need in our culture is used excessively, and rarely genuinely; “I need a new outfit”, “I need that coffee table”, “I need a drink”. If we stopped and thought for a moment about all of the people in the world who have less than us, some next to nothing, would we still think we need these things? Does it add value to your life? What are our true needs? Other than shelter and sustenance what we need is company. Connections. Love.
How often do children open a present and immediately put it aside to open the next, or have already lost toy parts by dinnertime on Boxing Day. Don’t even get us started on the landfill we could prevent as a society if we all offered presence not presents!
We’re not suggesting you don’t enjoy yourself and spoil your loved ones with gifts if that’s what you want to do. Just that sparing a little time for someone who could use it would make you both feel good. As they say, time is precious.
If you have loved ones in another part of the world, give them or call, or if you feel a bit lonely yourself, how about volunteering to make friends and give something back? If you know someone else whose family is overseas, you could celebrate together. This is a great way to get to know people beyond the surface level that we often struggle to get passed.
Although the holidays are about giving, there’s room for some taking too. Take some time for yourself and be present in the moment. Treat each like it’s precious. Do something for yourself, reach out to an old friend, tick that persistent item off your to-do list. Appreciate what you have, and make it known that you are grateful for those who positively impact your life.
These holidays give the most precious gift of all, your time and company, (although, maybe a box of chocolates to share isn’t a bad idea).
If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulty, you can call Lifeline at any time on 13 11 14.