I put down the holidays this year, or at least the madness around them.
Let us first of all acknowledge that Christmas is a solstice celebration. Within natural energetic cycles, the solstice is the day of the death of the old year and the birth of the new. You think it's an accident that we celebrate the birth of that specific baby around the darkest evening of the year? Ever hear the phrase, "The light of the world?"
The solstice is a time for quiet. But we practice this celebration as an orgy of consumerism. You better get something for every important person in your life! You better be thoughtful!
I don't mean to disparage the value and beauty of gifts well given. Giving and receiving gifts, when done in the right spirit, is undeniably nice. But when I go out into the world when people are Christmas shopping, I generally don't see expressions of love and joy. Mostly I see the grim slog of obligation.
The problem for me starts with my relationship to stuff. At this point, I have a limited imagination for things that I want. I kind of already have most everything I need, and sometimes I want things I really don't need, and when it happens that I do need them I just go ahead and get them. In the bigger picture, I am trying to figure out ways to have less stuff, not more. So I'm not really spending energy wanting stuff.
Which means that I'm also not doing a whole lot of wandering through the world, trying to find stuff that I might want. So when exactly am I putting the energy into trying to find something for you, whoever you might be? I'm not in the energetic market for stuff, so I'm not coming across stuff, so buying stuff for anyone actually takes a pretty substantial amount of energy, because it is so far out of my day-to-day activities, and requires a way of thinking I have intentionally tried to excise, as of a tumor, a growth, something I do not want interfering with my health any longer.
So it's exhausting, is my point.
Thus I approached the process differently this year. "What if there was a way to make it fun?" I asked. And it hit me: There's a store in Frisco, not far from the ski condo, where they sell all sorts of fun socks. Wearing fun socks is secret agent/ninja stuff, because oftentimes people don't see them, but you know that you're wearing them. So I found everyone some awesome socks. ("Awesome Socks" would be a sweet name for a band.)
And then there's a store in Boulder that's kind of a toy store, or maybe a whimsy store might be a better way of putting it. They make stuff that adults might want, but as you know, "adult toy store" has another meaning entirely. They sell fancy yo-yos for yo-yo obsessives, and frisbee golf disks and those fancy kites that you can steer. That kind of stuff. And also they have bins full of inexpensive toys like super bouncy balls and plastic lizards and things like that. Inexpensive fun little knick-knacks that are small enough that owning them isn't an energy cost in themselves. And they make you smile. So I went in there and I bought a few things for people. And you know what? For me, gift buying was fun this year. And for the recipients? Hopefully awesome socks and plastic dinosaurs made them smile.