Okay, let’s make our list.
Look around, what do we need?
What do our loved ones need?
The most valuable currency I have is my time and my attention. So when Amazon, Facebook ads, malls (does anyone do that anymore?) attempt to convince me that my loved one needs a new gadget or some thing that will require me to work more, earn more money to pay for it, and spend less time with them because I’ve got to pay off their “gifts”—well, I’ll pause for a moment and consider what would most nourish them.
Marketers know just how to manipulate the commodity of time and attention. Let’s be honest, it’s easier to click a BUY button than to put in the time of uninterrupted attention. But before clicking anything this holiday season I ask myself: Do they need that extra thing? Does it really say how much I love them?
Yep, I have two kids, and these kids have grown up with the message that holidays equal presents under the tree and new things to delight their senses. They have also spent Christmas in India and Indonesia and seen how other kids live. They have a little understanding that we are exceptionally privileged. And yet, when the holidays roll around, we all still fall for the big wrapped box with a bow thing. Those messages are so alluring and tap directly into my emotions and primitive brain that is based on fear of not having enough.
Enoughness: this is the name of the game. At this time of year I practice paying attention to all that we DO have and not all of the things we DON’T have. We are here on average 25,550 days (70 year). While we’re here, we expend much of those days attempting to make money, and some of us get more and others of us get less. So, with the marker points all around me at this time of year, how do I go about making holiday season special, showing my children and those I love that, well, I love them?
My complete and utter presence.
This is the gift I want from others and the one that is most valuable to me in this wild time of excess and division. So, I’ll turn down the volume on the well-designed marketing strategies and turn toward you, look you in the eye, and listen to your deeper longing.