As we get towards Christmas, no doubt many people will be thinking of what to ask for, and what to give to others. You may even have seen in the news that some schools have been giving their teachers a day off 'to go Christmas shopping'.
Giving gifts has been part of Christmas since the first Christmas, when the wise men brought their exotic gifts to Bethlehem, but the commercialisation of Christmas seems to increase year on year, and getting, rather than giving, can too easily come to the top of the agenda in this climate.
With the recent UN conference on climate change, it would appear that the last thing we need is more 'stuff', and it would actually do us quite a lot of good to rethink the value of presents entirely. Why not do something for someone else, take time to help someone else, and if you have too much stuff, left over from last year, why not 'regift' it to someone who would really appreciate it?
I appreciate that this sounds a bit 'holier than thou', and no doubt I will be in the shops (although probably not until December 24th) looking for the right presents for the right people, so I am not really expecting everyone to turn their backs on presents at Christmas. After all, giving gifts is a really important way to show that you care about someone. But, just giving more stuff does not show that you care more, and if everyone could do one more kind thing for one more person, that would have a great impact collectively. Perhaps it would be checking on an elderly neighbour, a kind word to someone who might be struggling, or offering a couple of hours of your time to support a good cause. After all, Christmas isn't kind to everyone.
Of course, you could also give a book at Christmas, rather than a gadget. As well as the positives that reading brings, books are also great to share with others, once you have finished with them.
Have a great Christmas when it comes.