12.10.2013

Thankful Tuesday: A Mindful Holiday

Each of these tags contains a wish from someone who can't afford it for themselves.
Consider finding one in your local mall near you.

When I start hearing Christmas muzak played in local grocery store, I know we are deep in the Holiday season. The thing is, at least here in the U.S. holiday season = shopping season. Let's not deny that there is a place for gift giving and spending. Truly, this is the time of the year when everyone should feel free to do so.

Here at the Land of Lorp, we discern what would be an appropriate tradition to pass on to the littlest of Lorp. Since I become a parent, I think much about our lifestyle in general, and micro-lifestyle around celebrations in particular. This is why they say you grow up when you become a parent, because you've never done the growing up thus far, until you have to!!

Well, you don't have to be a parent to learn from my experience. In this installment of "Thankful Tuesday," I will share some ideas of how to spend the holiday season mindfully. Most of the ideas below requires little money, some requires spending money but I assure you that they worth the feeling you will have in return. The idea of giving is to affirm the goodness that are already abundance around us, a symbol of thanks and gratitude to people who we take for granted throughout the year. Even if we only do it once a year, let it be a mindful, meaningful one.
  1. Give thanks.
    How can we acknowledge the goodness and abundance around us if we are not aware of it? Giving thanks is one of the way that we become aware of how plentiful our lives already are.
    I know a family who keeps a "gratitude jar" whereby they write on a strip of paper what they are thankful for each day for the whole year. During Christmas time, they made a chain decoration out of it and hang it on the Christmas tree. ToddlerLorp is a bit too young this tradition, but I'm thinking of a gratitude Advent Calendar maybe next year when he's old enough to participate.
  2. Give experience.
    I'm sure you've read somewhere that given the same amount of money spent on a purchase or an experience, most people reported more satisfaction buying an experience. So why not give one? We gave the Toddler's nanny-share buddy a year's pass to Teddy Bear tea party, hosted by us. Not only I know she'll use it (after soliciting idea from her mom), but it ensures that our children develop friendship & her parents have break throughout the year. A gift that keeps on giving!
  3. Give time.
    My most needed "gifts" are quite simple: a time alone for myself so I can read for leisure, a time to go out and enjoy a leisurely lunch, an extra time to sleep in. Do I get nods? Giving time is the simplest thing you can do for your loved ones.
    Giving your time can also mean volunteering at a local place. Volunteering has always been part of our life and we have met wonderful people along the way. Most importantly, volunteering is a way to keep our lives in perspective. It is a real eye-opener to experience first-hand that it does not take much to make someone else's day. This year, I'll be volunteering at Toddler's preschool to make some Christmas decoration which we will deliver to a local nursing home.
  4. Give to the "Giving Tree"/"Adopt a Family."
    The giving trees are cropping up this time around, and you can just pick one tag that suits you. This year, we picked one tag for a little girl, the same age of the Toddler, who is in need of potty training stuffs (elastic pants, training diapers, portable potty, etc). Just to think that another parent cannot afford any of the basic necessities such as potty training equipments made me realize how fortunate we are to not even think about it.
  5. Give of yourself.
    One Christmas, my Oma and Opa told all of us, their grandkids, that we could ask them anything at all about their lives. So I asked how they met. What a wonderful story that was, one that I will forever remember -- I realized how far they came to provide for their families and where my personality traits came from!
    Sure, loved ones can make you anxious during holiday gathering, but with judicious question, try to reconnect with your choice of family member and see what they have to share in terms of their lives. Their gift may surprise you.
  6. Gift of nature.
    One of my most treasured gift is actually a potted orchid from my father. He inherited a greenhouse-full of orchids from his father that he propagates further. Every time I look at the orchid, it reminds me of my family, how so much care are put into this such humble plant. Consider giving a snip of your plants to your neighbor, perhaps a sprig of life herb in a small yoghurt pot. If you have friendly, outgoing pets, consider bringing them to preschools (whose residents will shower your pets with love), children hospital, or nursing homes. Getting in touch with nature, however small, is a gentle reminder that we are all connected and life can be found in so many different living beings.
Happy giving to everyone and I invite you to share other mindful holiday ideas.

3 comments:

  1. Beautiful post, Claire - I especially like the idea your grandparents had to give you stories. My grandpa used to tell different stories from his life every Christmas at the dinner table (well, my parents often joked they were the same old stories every single time) and I loved listening to them and imagining quite a different time from the one we live in. Now that he's gone I really do miss his storytelling!

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    2. LOL somehow I removed my own comment.. anyhow, thanks for stopping by! Yes, I really miss my Oma/Opa, too, and stories like these made us realize where we came from and how far we have gone.

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