First, I’m going to start calling ‘Christmas’ Giftmas instead – not out of any disrespect, and certainly I won’t be correcting people who wish me well for Christmas (that’s just rude), but having long shortened ‘Christmas’ to ‘Xmas’ in a somewhat unsatisfying display of ‘I’m not actually a christian but I enjoy this holiday, which isn’t really christian but much older, and can’t we all just get along??’ – I’m just calling it as I enjoy it most: Giftmas. It is the season of giving, after all. đŸ™‚

So excited! :-D

So excited! đŸ˜€

Wanting, needing, yearning, craving, lusting, desiring – all feelings that push and pull at my very human heart, piling up and shouting for my attention as a gifting holiday approaches…only… That’s been changing. It started changing when I re-discovered the ‘true meaning of Giftmas’ some years ago, in the arms and smile of my traveling partner, on a year when it seemed there ‘wouldn’t be any Christmas’ because we just didn’t have the resources to pull that off so soon after break ups, and moving somewhat unexpectedly, and into a place that was every bit of twice as expensive.

The magical Giftmas that almost wasn't.

The magical Giftmas that almost wasn’t.

The holiday magic my love delivered to me that year blew away the slow-building disengagement and cynicism that had begun to erode my holiday joy over the years. I’ve never forgotten. As I have continued to improve my relationship with the woman in the mirror, and to tread a more mindful and compassionate path, my relationship with ‘Giftmas’ has changed, too. Even the language I use to discuss the holiday, the foundation of my joy and enthusiasm, and the things I am most eager to see, experience, and do, have changed rather a lot over the last 4 years of holiday celebration. I mean…seriously. “Giftmas” is just one of many small changes.

The household I recently moved out of didn’t put the same value and appreciation on the winter holiday season that I do myself, one housemate even simply not finding life worthy of celebration, and last year I found myself almost secretively setting up the entire holiday experience up in the loft, out of view of ‘non participants’ in a peculiarly furtive, somewhat self-protective way. This year, there are no such concerns, and no need to hold anything back out of concern for overwhelming the uninvolved. lol It’s not that simple, though; I have also changed, myself.

Holiday lights welcome me home each evening.

Holiday lights welcome me home each evening.

I used to be able to assemble a lengthy Giftmas list with dozens of items in all possible price-points quite quickly – things I really really really (really?) wanted, yearned for, lusted after, or craved, without regard to how realistic or practical. My eagerness to receive gifts was a prominent part of my holiday well-past childhood. It’s not that big a deal now, and I struggle to list things that I want; I don’t want for much, and my place is small. Most of my most eager yearnings are for connection, for contact, for experiences out in the world, for moments, for emotions… that’s a tough list to shop from. I am eager to give, these days. For me, this is generally less about giving on a global scale; charity and compassion for the world can’t wait for one day a year. Giftmas is a lovely occasion to pause the routines of life and really think about those dear to me, and seek some small thing I could give them, and see their delight, their fondness, their joy reflected back to me in their smile, because they feel cared for, appreciated, valued, and visible. I am eager for the gift-giving part of Giftmas this year. It’s a lovely place to be with myself, and far easier to satisfy than the lustful cravings to receive more retail offerings, myself, like some petulant child-god pacified only by trinkets and cash.

Moments of encouragement or unexpected joy are some of life's most beautiful ornaments.

Moments of encouragement or unexpected joy are some of life’s most beautiful ornaments.

I love this holiday, and I’m excited to sit beneath the Giftmas tree awed by the wrappings, bows, and twinkle lights, pulling one package after another loose from the wee stack of them, handing one to my traveling partner, and watching his face, and taking time to enjoy his experience, and to really share these precious moments. Awake. Aware. Mindful. This is going to be a wonder-filled holiday…however many or few the gifts beneath the tree; the best gifts this year are intangible. The best gifts are moments.