Saturday, December 16, 2006

A holistic and holy Christmas

Saturday Cuppa: Eucalyptus, ginger and orange
When all around you people are sniffing, sneezing, whooping and wheezing…sip on this winter wonder elixir!
One to two drops ( I use ten!) of pure essential oil of eucalyptus [make sure it is pure essential oil and not a synthetic version]
An inch of fresh ginger root
A couple of slices of organic orange or lemon into a mug of hot water
spoonful of agave syrup (or honey if you prefer)

…ah, that’s better, isn’t it?

No matter where I go when I’m in town, people ask if I’m all sorted for Christmas. What does that mean? Have I loaded the credit card up? Sorry, I don’t have one! Once the money is gone, it’s gone! Really gone. Damn shame the car is always due for its MOT at this time of the year coz the little beasty always needs hundreds of pounds of work done to it leaving zilcho money for anything fun, entertaining or creative!

Have I bought five trolleys’ worth of food?
Why, it’s not the last supper!? I’m astonished by the greed and gluttony which seems to go hand in hand with the shops being shut for two days.

No, I just put in my usual organic fruit and vegetable order plus two boxes of clementines! They are our annual treat. I do a bulk wholefood order through Suma Cooperative minimising the need for going anywhere near shops. Smart, hey?

Have the kids had a trip to Lapland? They sorted the Santa thing out years ago when logic told them he was too fat to get down the chimney on the neighbour’s house. Who was I to argue with that? I still remember how painful it was as a five year old to discover Santa was actually my dad! I was truly horrified that my parents had lied to me.

Am I ready for Christmas? Yes, I am. It’ll be simple, peaceful, reflective...and, I hope, holistic. Wholism, to me, is about nurturing mind, body and soul. We are integrated beings and therefore to maintain well-being we need to acknowledge each aspect of our self.

Christmas isn’t a competition and if people were honest, they’d see that the collective vacuum suck into commercialism is all about who’s got the biggest, best and most. Our ego is constantly trying to impress. What on earth has all the hype that goes on got to do with some little chap born a couple of thousand years ago? Really? What is the connection? I’ve never been able to grasp it.

The metaphysical Christmas

Paul and I share with our girls what we perceive to be the metaphysical meaning of Christmas. Mary represents our femininity; our feelings. Joseph represents our masculinity; our thinking. In order to give birth to the Christ Consciousness we need to marry our feelings and thoughts.

The girls look forward to Christmas Eve as a special time to celebrate being together as a family; the candles are lit and songs sung, instruments played.


We share stories. There are some lovely ones in the Hawthorn Press collection. Look out for two of their books by Estelle Bryer and Janni Nicol ~ Celebrating Christmas together and Christmas Stories Together.

Paul will also read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol out loud to us by the fire during the twelve days of Christmas.

Bethany’s been rehearsing her piano and violin for Christmas eve and tomorrow she will have her first public performance on the violin at the village chapel nativity service. Both girls are involved in a Christmas cantata.

A little spice is nice!

The girls are I dabble in a little of my heritage by making sweet and spicy German Christmas cookies ~ Lebkucken. The house is alive with the aroma of spices ~ cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.

Gifts and Cards

Don’t look under the christmas tree for gifts, look in your heart!

Despite the media push (thankfully!) for going green at Christmas, it isn’t just about being ethical, buying green gifts or using recycled paper… It’s about being aware of our driving force. Who are we; what gifts do we give from our heart centre? Our heart chakra is green ~ surely acknowledging the gifts we present from here is the ultimate in being green?

Why go for gluttony and eat so much you can’t get off the sofa for a week; and have to resolve a week later to go on a diet? Why not fast or eat simply?

Why create financial headaches with debt…what is the purpose? It’s not going to make people like you any more!

The exchange of gifts has certainly gotten out of hand in Western society. Anyone who works in the retail industry will tell you that the large majority of Christmas gifts are returned within a week by the recipients.

A few years ago I decided to stop sending Christmas cards. It wasn’t an easy decision but it was difficult to keep up not only with our friends overseas, but all the lovely people I’d met via The Mother magazine. It felt natural to want to express my affection to them at this time of the year.

What started off as being a painful decision has become one of the most liberating ones I’ve made! I don’t regret it at all. And it is interesting because I think in a way it gives other people permission to not send cards. We still receive cards ~ which IS lovely ~ but it is amazing how many people have stopped sending them to us as a result our choice.

I saw mummy kissing Santa Claus!

I’m the mummy and Paul’s the Santa. Waheeeeeeeeeeee. And I do like kissing him! For a few weeks at the end of the year, he works as Santa at Centre Parcs holiday centre. His first hand experience of kids’ wish lists is, for me, very scary and a true picture of where society is headed in terms of materialism.

Last week a two year old was requesting a pink tv for her bedroom. “Do 2 year olds talk?” I asked, feeling a bit vague about toddlerhood. All the indications from the parents were that she’d be getting her wish.

Almost all the gifts requested are for Play Stations or similar. Not cheap presents and certainly not gifts which would enhance childhood!

Last year a child asked for a new brother. It turns out his other brother had died. It’s stories like that give me hope that some children see beyond the televisual culture and have really tapped into what is important.

I consider Christmas to be a spiritual, soulful and sacred time yet it can also be fun, jolly and warm! We can enhance the mood of the season so much more by stepping out of the cultural minefield and resisting the urge to spend, spend, spend.

Make something. People love hand-made gifts.

Re-use anything and everything ~ make a vow not to buy anything new. Search out charity shops or make a gift.

For wrapping paper, use brown paper with hand drawn stars. As I type, Bethany is on my bed making her own paper by drawing holly, stars and hearts.

My mum was rather wise when it came to Christmas...what with eight kids and all! On Christmas Eve after we’d eaten, all of us children would go to the kitchen to wash the dishes. Afterwards we’d come into the family room where she’d laid out all the gifts under the tree. Not one of them was wrapped! Just little piles of goodies in a room lit by candles, and while we were singing carols in German and English our little eyes would be scanning the gifts trying to work out which pile was ours. She never bought chocolates or sweets ~ but dried fruit and nuts. (It was the same for our Easter Hunts)

Bake yummy goodies ~ cookies, muffins, chutneys, pickles or make some divine raw chocolate balls. Simply mix raw cacao powder with ground almonds, agave syrup, cinnamon and roll into dessicated coconut. Tastes great, looks great! On a little tray, with a twig of holly, they make beautiful gifts.

Why not make gift certificates for babysitting, a massage, a meal, a kiss! Time is so underrated in our society, and it is the erosion of time with each other that lies at the core of our material greed. We’re desperately looking for something to fill the gap left by not enough meaningful human interaction.

Looking after yourself

If, despite the best of intentions, Christmas sees you caught up in a whirlwind of stress, visiting the Out Laws and shopping…here are some suggestions:

Take time for sitting and being. You have my permission!!
Try a herb tea like Dr Stuart’s Valerian or Tranquility tea and put your feet up. The world won’t stop.
Take a candle lit bath
Grab your kids and go for a wintry walk
Read a book by the fire or snuggle in bed with a hot water bottle
Christmas nibbles don’t have to be laden in fats or nutritionally dead! Try sundried bananas (Oxfam has lovely ones!), goji berries or make some simple chocolate nibbles.
Hopefully you already take care of your nutritional needs, but of particular help when going through stressful times are B complex (Green Life Direct do a liquid version); maca root powder and Flax seed oil.
Essential oils in your burner, like orange, jasmine, pine help to create a lovely atmosphere.
Findhorn Flower Essences have a lot of essences suitable for getting through the festive season

Eg. Sea Rocket
for dehydration
Globe Thistle
for letting go on non-essentials
Rowan for releasing resentment or pain connected with family
Scottish primrose
for inner peace and stillness in the heart, relationship conflicts
for financial worry
for aligning with the source of abundance
for Seasonal Affective Disorder
Heart support to open the heart to the healing power of love
And plenty of others

Why not give life this Christmas, rather than taking it. How about an ethical meal this season? There are so many amazing vegan and vegetarian choices that you wouldn’t even notice the fat bird was missing. Honest!

Christmas is for kids

People often say Christmas is for kids and use that to indulge them with a mountain of toys. We let them see by our example who we are capable of being through this season.

The two year old wanting the pink tv for her bedroom won’t be satisfied with anything less next year, or the year after. Does Christmas become one big let down ~ a time of disappointment because we’re expecting others to meet our emotional needs through material things? How can it be any other way if that is all we’ve taught them?

Celebrations like Christmas are a great way to make your 'conscious living' stamp known to family and friends. Don't be afraid of being considered different. You might just be giving someone else permission to escape the Commercial Christmas Prison. Many people don't like what's happening in our consumerist culture, but don't know how to change it. Show them it starts at home.

The magic of childhood, for young and old, is based on simplicity, love and kindness, not greed or anxiety. Have a peaceful lead up to the Holy Season. Love, Veronika


Clare said...

beautiful sentiments... and some great ideas for enjoying Christmas! Everyones getting homemade brownies and biscuits this year! I am heavily in debt and it has forced me to rethink what really matters in life. I actually think it is very liberating to reject the overblown commercial side of Christmas.

Hazel said...

Almost every adult we have come across in the last month has asked Romy what she wants for Christmas. They look at her blankly when she says "nothing" They are obviously expecting her to say an X-box or whatever the latest console is. I have been made to feel guilty about only being able to spend a certain amount on her and feel under pressure to spend lots on people I hardly even see. It's rediculous! I have just bought Romy a few little things that I know she'll absolutely love.

The other day in Woolworths I saw a pony thing that moves its head and blinks - a snip at £300!!!!!! I mean, who has that sort of money to spend at Christmas? And how would they feel a couple of days later when the damned thing was sitting in the corner of the bedroom ignored?

Have a lovely Christmas/Yule Veronika. xxx

Siobhan said...

Hi V,
Not sure what email address you're using at present...I have also stopped sending Christmas cards, but want to tell you I'm thinking of you Paul and the girls with love. It was great to see you all this year and we send love for the coming year to you all. Our babies are being angelic at the moment...I'm sure yours are too!
Siobhán, Alex, Joe and Rhiannon xxx

Andrea Markel said...

Maca root powder benefits are amazing!