Making Christmas about more than socks

Think beyond socks this Christmas and make a list of all the things that you’re grateful for in...
Think beyond socks this Christmas and make a list of all the things that you’re grateful for in your life. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Let’s use the end of 2020 to hit the reset button and have a think about what’s really important to our whanau and friends, our communities, our country and our planet, writes Jan Aitken.

Jan Aitken
Jan Aitken
Usually, by now, I’d have written a column with tools and techniques for navigating the fast-approaching Christmas/New Year period. How to organise everything from juggling the myriad events that fill December, to planning a (relatively) stress-free Christmas and how to handle the obnoxious family and friends we might find ourselves sharing the festive season with.

Well, not a lot has been "usual" this year so maybe it’s time to look at doing things a little differently.

Yes, we may still get left with Great Uncle Ebenezer (apologies to all the Ebenezers who read this!) and his bigoted, bad humoured ranting or the Christmas weather might be vile and we all get stuck indoors, perhaps we’ll get tons of socks for gifts and nothing that we really hoped we’d receive.

With any luck we might get a new pair of glasses that give us a new lens to look through. A lens of perspective that helps us realise that some of the stuff we get our knickers in a knot about isn’t actually that important.

Let’s use the end of 2020 to hit the reset button and have a think about what’s really important to our whanau and friends, our communities, our country and our planet.

The past year has highlighted to me how fragile our existence really is. Between a pandemic and a climate emergency, we have a bit to think about if we want to leave a safe and habitable planet to those who follow us.

Like a large number of us who live in New Zealand, I have no experience of real hardship and live without too many deep concerns. I don’t need to worry about where my next meal comes from, I have safe shelter and a good steady job. I have a great circle of loving, supportive and fun family and friends. I don’t care if all I get for Christmas are socks — I don’t actually need "things" to make my life better.

For me this year, Christmas is a time for re-evaluating what’s really important. What are my core values? What beliefs are helpful and which no longer serve me? Where do my personal boundaries lie? What are my standards? How can I contribute to making my community, country, world a better and safer place for those who live with violence, for those who have no idea when they will eat again? What about those so weighed down by life that they can’t see a way forward? How can I help improve life for the Kiwis who don’t enjoy the standard of life I have? What can I do about those countries and communities at risk from climate change?

I know I can’t single-handedly cure any of society’s ills or major worldwide problems, but I can do something at a personal level. It might be small, but that’s OK - if we all do a little bit then, together, our achievements will be significant.

I can donate, volunteer some time, consciously think about what I buy, where it comes from and how it’s packaged. I can think about what attitudes and beliefs I hold that are potentially damaging to others or outright harmful. I can change who I am in this world and how I act.

So, this Christmas and New Year, I challenge you to set some time aside to re-evaluate what’s important to you. Ask yourself what sort of world do you want to live in and leave behind for your children and grandchildren? Are there things in your life you want to hit the "reset" button on? Be brave, start to live to your core values. Think beyond socks this Christmas and make a list of all the things in your life that you’re grateful for.

As Sonya Renee Taylor said: "We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-Corona existence was not normal other than we normalised greed, inequality, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature."

- Sonya Renee Taylor is an author, poet, activist, thought leader, fighter for justice and much more. She lives between California , the US and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Jan Aitken is a Dunedin-based life coach.

For more go to www.fitforlifecoaches.co.nz.

Twitter:@jan-aitken

 

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