There seem to be some established ingredients for having a good Christmas- snow, Santa, food and family with religion being an
increasingly optional extra. But I’m not sure listing these ingredients adds up to the perfect combination and what about those of
us who don’t have access to all the right stuff?
In British style, let’s start with weather. The traditional Christmas weather was really exciting for friends from abroad who hadn’t
seen snow before and for kids missing school. At first it’s card pretty but it quickly turns to brown slush and the ice on ice gets so
dangerous people are advised not to travel. At a time when many plan journeys, being on the move is slow and dangerous. So
perhaps it’s not the actual snow we need at this time? Perhaps it’s the way snow transforms all in an instant, covering everything
in pure beauty or the way it gets us to stop and think about what we’re doing, to re-evaluate our priorities and slow down? To
me these are our real Christmas ingredients.
The way Santa’s portrayed is someone who gives you all you want, a kind of Christmas genie. Whilst you could be using this as a
metaphor for the law of attraction (LOA), Christmas origins focus more on giving. But that still leaves us with commercialism and
the pressure to spend even if it’s with money we haven’t got! Bringing Santa and the LOA together encourages us to focus on
what do have. This is a time for us to express our individuality in our presents, decorations and customs. For us to show how
grateful we are for our gifts by sharing them with the world.
For many, Christmas is about eating, all those traditional dishes that remind you of childhood. Even if you
don’t particularly like Turkey or pudding this is the time you convince yourself you can not let the day go by without eating
some. But what if you’re in a place where turkey isn’t on the menu, what if you’re on a diet? Maybe you remember, this time last
year I was on Koh Samui fasting. It was one of the most nurturing things I’ve ever done. And I think that’s what we’re looking to
create with the Christmas treats, a sense of being nurtured. In the New Year, you can go out and conquer the world but,
perhaps in preparation, there’s a time for caring for yourself and your loved ones, recharging your batteries. This is possible even
if you’re on a diet but many miss out as they’re concentrating on all the tasks of Christmas and getting stressed about the
imperfections rather than drawing energy from cosy, comfortable surroundings.
For this nurturing and giving, Christmas puts the emphasis on families. A time to gather and share. But what if your family doesn’
t get on, is far apart or non-existent? Forgiveness could be an ingredient here. To sacrifice ‘being right’ for the sake of peace and
love. So too could being empowered to create your own family. Will you choose your closest friends or some strangers in need?
Perhaps you’ll pick your own company and give to yourself? Whomever you choose know these are representatives of a larger
human family, we are all connected.
So have I missed a vital ingredient? What about religion? The Christians may have invented Christmas but I believe there was a
ceremony for the winter solstice long before, perhaps fulfilling a need our spiritual selves have at this time? Whether it’s with food,
decorations, the way we open presents or our agenda for the day, Christmas is about rituals. Rituals are nurturing but also give
us a sense of continuity, and time puts all in perspective. Our rituals can be spiritual, affirming our beliefs, they could involve
singing and laughter, a celebration of who we are. We can create new ones at any time.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas whatever ingredients you have to hand. Enjoy getting recharged and ready for the year
The Ingredients of Christmas