A Different Kind of Christmas Ritual

91/365 - Will it EVER get here?!
Creative Commons License photo credit: BLW Photography

In recent months, through the death of my mother and the imminent death of another family member, my blessings, for health, life, for loved ones who matter, are more evident than ever. My priorities have shifted. I find myself uninterested in the usual, mad rush to shop, that I, like most, generally engage in at this time of year. Instead, I am recognizing a desire to celebrate Christmas in a radically new and different way than in years past.

So I decided to celebrate Christmas differently this year. Instead of spending money in malls and stores trying to guess what sort of thing each person might appreciate, I decided instead to share some of the things I already have that are meaningful to me.

In the Native American tradition, they call this sort of ritual, “A Give Away.” On their birthdays, many Native Americans give gifts to celebrate their special occasion, rather than accept gifts from others. Giving gifts is their way of acknowledging, and celebrating, the life they've been given.

I found that this idea of a “Give Away” matches my present state of mind, a mind-set stirred by the death of loved ones, and that prompts me to realize, with gratitude, the tremendous gift that life is.

Besides, what better time than now, in times of a down economy, to put a principle into practice of sharing with others what we already have?

I shared the concept with my family and they all seemed open to, and excited by, the idea. And so it has been decided, Christmas this year will be a “Give Away.”

For me, it's been wonderful so far. I have been going through my house, gathering gifts for specific loved ones in mind. I am giving things that are meaningful to me, not because I am ready to get rid of these possessions, but because I want to share them with people I love so they can enjoy them too! The anticipated pleasure of sharing my special possessions with people I love is giving me a whole new understanding of the spirit of Christmas – and it's not even here yet!

After all, the reason for the season of Christmas is to celebrate God's gift to us of his most meaningful possession, his precious son, born in the manger of our own hearts, when we accept his love for us. Why shouldn't I choose to share things with loved ones that I treasure as well?

In the study of prosperity consciousness, we learn that abundance is created through open flow. Like water in a stream that becomes stagnant when it is dammed up without an outlet, we too become glutted and stagnant in spirit when we hold on to things, or take in more than we give. To let things go signals that we trust there is more to come and creates a space in our lives for even greater gifts to come our way. Such an attitude is one that promotes abundance and plenty.

So this year, each family member has agreed to bring one thing they treasure and want to share in the Give Away. We will share a meal together and then take turns selecting something from the alter of Give Aways to take home with us, that through it, we might remember what the true meaning of life, love and Christmas is really all about.

Merry Christmas and Many Blessings,



3 Responses

  1. Hello Keke,
    I can only imagine what the journey of losing a beloved sibling might be like, I have not experienced that myself (yet). But I have experienced loss, and the grief, as well as the gifts, that come from that process.

    Our challenge in times of loss is to trust that there are indeed gifts, and it sounds like you are doing just that as you make your way through the ups and downs of your journey in dealing with the loss of your sister.

    In dealing with the loss of a loved one, it helps to remember that there are no mistakes, no coincidences in life. The people that come – and go – do so right on time, even though it may not be our idea of “right time.” We know this is a true statement simply because it is the way it is. To see it any other way only leaves us arguing with Reality.

    Reality dictates the way things need to be, simply by being the way things are. (“they are here … they are gone.”) Of course, that understanding doesn’t necessarily eliminate the pain of loss, but there is a surprising decrease in pain once we are able to move into any level of acceptance of Reality: once we can stop resisting the way things are.

    Instead, we begin to practice trusting that what is is the way things have to be, if for no other reason than because they are the way they are.

    There is no such thing as “things should have been different;” shoulds/shouldn’ts are a mind-made concept that have nothing to do with Reality. Shoulds are a judgment against Reality, and can only produce misery for us. Shoulds (and shouldn’ts) can do nothing to change Reality.

    As long as we’re focused on how things should not be the way they are, we are stuck in a rant against Reality that we cannot possibly win. I trust you can relate to what I am saying, having so recently experienced for yourself the desperate demand that often accompanies the loss of something precious to us; that internal DEMAND that things be different than the way they are!

    I trust that your sister is still very alive with you still. She has simply moved from the external world and taken up residence within your own mind where she can never leave you. (Can you close your eyes and see her now, very much alive, within your mind?)

    I trust that you, your mother, and other family members, are all being safe-guarded and loved along the way with the only requirement being that you allow that protection and guidance.

    And I trust that this powerful and painful experience of loss will greatly facilitate your own growth process. (Wouldn’t that be exactly what your sister would want for you? That you be refined and changed for the better?

    My guess is that is already happening! 🙂

    Many blessings to you, Keke.

  2. Hi Lynne,

    I stumbled on this blog while looking for Christmas images in the Google Image Search. I read the title of this post ” A Different Kind of Christmas Ritual” and immediately it struck a cord with me. That is EXACTLY what this past Christmas was like for me and my family. We called ours a different Christmas too. I proceeded to read the post and the very reason behind your “different Christmas” is the same as mine. This year I lost my big sister and best friend. She was just 24 years old. She was my mom’s firstborn. Lost her due to a most terrible illness, cancer. Thankfully, I still have my mom and other siblings and family but my sister’s passing left a hole in it’s wake. A hole in my family’s life and as a result nothing can or will ever be the same without her so inevitable Christmas could ONLY be “different.” We didn’t do what we usually do. The desire to go out and shop and be festive was scarcely there. It got me to thinking what Christmas is really about and what really matters, like you said. We did exchange gifts that we bought but we did not exchange them on Christmas. The whole thing was just…different but it wasn’t bad. We had a pretty good holiday even though we missed the presence of my sister and didn’t do our usual traditions. Anyway, I really like the idea you had for the “Give Away.” I doubt my family would ever go for it but it is def something to keep in mind, if for no other reason to to implement as a philosophy for life.

    And you paragraph about giving and making room to be blessed and receive abundance, and God giving his most precious thing is SPOT ON. Very well said! And the very principle behind tithing and offering and sowing a seed in the Bible. A principle my mom has taught her kids to live by.

  3. Lynne, that’s a wonderful idea. Giving gifts from a new perspective. When my daughter got married, rather than buying her something new, I gave her a Tiffany, silver-plated, warming tray that I cherished.

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