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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 18-Dec-16


Sunday 18-December-16

A little Christmas cheer can go a long way

Another year and Christmas is upon us. It's been a roller-coaster of a year for me, as it may have been for you too, but at least at Christmas we can pause and remind ourselves of the good things. No matter the weather or the past, Christmas is a time of rebuilding relationships, of thinking of others and of enjoying the cheer and general bonhomie. It does not matter if you are not religious, not Christian or whatever. Just having a time of year when everyone tries to be kind to one another seems like a really good idea.

Christmas is also a time of gift-giving, which is a ritual of deep significance in many diverse cultures. There are times when giving gifts is important and times it would be considered very strange. The style and value of gifts can be important. The obligation that giving gifts places upon the receiver is also very notable. An affluent and generous person, for example, may give a less-well-off friend a generous gift, resulting in that person having to spend more than they can afford on a similar return gift. In the desire to make others happy, it is easy to forget such embarrassments. Gifts that are of too little value may also cause unhappiness, for example at weddings where the couple are expecting high-value items and get given a set of cheap towels.

The best rule of gifts is first to appreciate all gifts that people give you with good spirit and gratitude. Even if they are too expensive or cheap by your social rules, accept them as being right for this person and for your relationship. Thank them with genuine pleasure. Another rule is not to be embarrassed when you mis-match gifts. When giving gifts, try to match what you can afford to what they might like and any social rules about the content and cost, but do not worry too much if you cannot achieve these. If you give gifts that seem to end up too expensive or cheap, do not be embarrassed by this. Be happy just to give and do not accept any guilt-trip comments from anyone. Just reply to such unkindness with a positive comment such as 'That's ok. I saw that an thought it was ideal.'

In the end, the greatest gift you can give is to accept and like people, no matter what they say or do. We are all imperfect and are just doing what we can with what we have. Kindness is spiritual, and not a material thing, which means everyone can give this gift.

So Happy Christmas to you and yours, you wonderful, awesome person!

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