The best Christmas gift
Christmas is a whirlwind. All the planning, preparing, shopping, wrapping, decorating – adding financial and family pressure. There is so much to do; it just doesn’t happen by magic. You have to do it all. Focusing on materialistic traditions, finding the best Christmas gifts, sorting the food, and organising the family. It’s a lot – and it’s stressful. Didn’t someone mention a holiday?? An alternative to the ‘keeping up with the Jones’ frenzy is to consider presence not presents.
A different perspective
So what does presence not presents really mean?
It’s truly wanting to be with the people you are with. Paying full attention to what’s happening around you, listening with intent, and contributing – really giving yourself to the situation. Whether its washing up, having a chat or joining in with games – you are all in and completely present. This means you aren’t clock watching and wanting to get away. You aren’t on your phone scrolling social media, and you aren’t ignoring the people you are with. Its not about what you have, its about being able to give all of yourself to the moment.
How to gift presence
Most people (of all ages) would love the latest iphone or PS5 – its hard not to love a gift, and well why not? But these things are well, ‘things.’ When the next version is released, they are easily forgotten. Nevertheless, being present in the moment allows memories to be created. So how can you be more present?
1. Giving quality time
Squeezing things in, doing too much, over planning, having lots of people over at one time – all distract from quality time. Instead doing too much reduces meaningful connections.
2. Digital Detox
Be together rather than together alone. Separate devices divide us – while a family Christmas film brings you all together. Talk about it and agree when to put the phones away.
3. Active listening
You may spend time with people, albeit family, whom you might not find that interesting or you don’t see often. Furthermore, you might not know them at all. However, by putting in the effort, giving your full attention, asking follow-up questions, and wanting to get to know more about them, you will consequently get to know them better.
4. Create new traditions
Establish meaningful holiday traditions that prioritize quality time with loved ones. Whether it’s game nights, storytelling, or a simple walk, these activities create lasting memories and deepen connections.
5. Share gratitude
Make a point to express gratitude directly to those around you. Showing heartfelt appreciation for the people in your life builds stronger relationships.
The benefits of presence
Being more connected, emotionally available and fully engaged reduces stress. It allows you to work together as a team (instead of against each other), come up with new solutions to issues or laugh when things don’t go to plan. Undoubtedly being present means others feel heard and appreciated, bringing a deeper quality to relationships. By focusing on presence not presents it takes the pressure and tension out of the holiday season, making it the most wonderful time of the year.
If you would like to be more present in your relationships and reduce stress and anxiety please click on the contact page to arrange a no obligation chat.
About the author: Chris Boobier is the owner of CRB Counselling specialising in anxiety, trauma, Bereavement & loss. Supporting adults and adolescents, she is passionate about helping people be their authentic self through counselling.