What comes to mind when you think about Christmas? Is it a wholesome scene of a family cozied up next to a fire, reading stories of the altruistic Saint Nick while sipping softly on hot chocolate made with biodynamic fair-trade cocoa nibs?
Or is it of people climbing over each other like lobsters in a pot of boiling water, desperately pushing and prodding to get their hands on the last Keurig coffee maker that’s 20% off?
The Reality of Christmas Today
Even though the Christmas spirit is one of kindness, giving, and peace on earth, the Christmas reality has become more of buying, getting, and thoughtless consumerism.
What was once a pagan festival to celebrate midwinter, then a Christian holiday to commemorate the birth of Christ, has now morphed into commercial frenzy. While giving and receiving presents isn’t fundamentally bad, the modern excessive approach to this exercise is corrupting.
Religious practices and beliefs aside, there is still a humane ethos surrounding the season—yet the highlight should be more about community rather than individual greed. Otherwise, the holiday season will be completely hijacked by mega corporations melding our minds into a robotic mush of materialism.
We don’t have to obliterate Christmas, or solely donate to charities in each other’s names. A generation of children will likely need years of therapy if on the morning of the 25th they exclusively opened cards with pictures of goats that explained how many families would now have fresh milk thanks to them.
I remember being a kid and feeling that unparalleled anticipation of Christmas Eve. That is a magical time, and should be honored, albeit in a way that fosters gratitude and not greed. Finding a balance is crucial.
A Yogic Approach to Christmas
That is why taking a yogi approach to Christmas can be transformative. Applying the yogic philosophy can drastically improve the experience because the metamessages are aligned with the original meaning of Christmas.
So this year, why not brush up on the yamas, niyamas, and the five sutras of the Aquarian age? It is the perfect time to travel down an esoteric path of understanding, and figure out how best to apply your understanding of these ancient teachings to your current lifestyle.
After spending some time in my personal mind-cave contemplating, pondering, and musing… here are five suggestions I came up with on how to apply yogic ideals to your Christmas gift exchange.
1. Gift in quality, not in quantity.
Rather than buying your kid 20 presents that were probably made by children in the developing world, get them one or two presents they really want and will bring actual value to their lives.
2. Gift thoughtfully.
Instead of purchasing crappy crap for the adults in your life just so you get them something, think of experiences that you can give, like concert tickets to enjoy together, or an event they would appreciate.
Even offer to baby sit for a night so a couple can do “grown up” things like go out to dinner, eat too much, and fall asleep in front of The Daily Show. There are many creative ways to provide memories for someone you love.
3. Support small stores, brands, and labels.
If you do want to buy people things, support small vendors, artists, and local crafts people rather than big businesses that exploit their employees, the environment, and the global economy.
4. Be compassionate.
If when around your family you feel the sensation that you want to scream into your Aunt Edna’s face for her racist remark, or snap at your mom for they way she always micromanages how you slice fruit cake—practice pranayama and approach all with compassion.
5. Be love and know that we are all one.
When someone gives you a gift that really sucks and makes you wonder if they even know you at all—vibrate with the cosmos and remember we are all one.
Is there anything you want to add to this gift-giving guide for yogis? Share your comments and suggestions below!
Image credit: Dr.Mommy Online