Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Silly Traditions: Conventional Christmas Gifting

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

Christmas Gifting the Conventional Way

I’ll make a list with financially-valued items I want for Christmas. You’ll make a list of your own, as will any others with whom we do a gift exchange. We’ll then share our lists with each other, hoping, assuming, expecting, “knowing,” that those we gave our lists to will gift to us what we’d wanted.

Then during the Christmas gift exchange, we and any others with whom we’d shared our lists will trade decorative paper-wrapped packages with the listed items inside. We’ll unwrap them and act excited that we gotten exactly what we’d asked for. (And why not—we’d hyperlinked the damn things.)

Interestingly, assuming the items any person wants aren’t whimsical fancies to quell uncomfortable emotions and/or “needs” as defined by repetitive and highly deceptive marketing—of which many are either or both—the items are generally things that the people requesting them could and would probably get themselves, but, well, it’s Christmas time.

So, pretending there are six of us in a gift exchange, I’ll take the $250 that I’d otherwise spend on myself and instead spend $50 on each of you other folks; you will each spend $50 per person on me and one another. We’ll also spend the extra time, money, and energy on wrapping supplies and activities.

In the end, it’s no more than a wash. Everyone is $250 shorter but with a heap of new possessions valued by current economic rates at $250—all items of which we could have just purchased for ourselves, may well have done so otherwise, and more or less knew in advance we were getting. Not to mention, after a few seconds, hours, or days, our happiness wanes, and we set our mind on the next thing we “need” that will, most certainly, bring us the lasting happiness we’d sought through the attainment of many of those items.

The only one who wins is Big Business… Especially considering that many gifters go into debt (likely further than they already are); buy more so in order to avoid facing the discomfort of failed responsibility, the guilt of not giving, and so forth; or decide to go Christmas shopping on Black Friday only to be trampled, stabbed, cursed, maimed, and maybe dead.

…The latter of which, as you’ll soon see, is actually quite historically-appropriate behavior for the Christmas season…

What Is Christmas Gift-Giving Really About, Anyway?

“Christmas is about Jesus’ birth, of course. And the gift-giving is in remembrance of the 3 kings giving Jesus gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Everyone knows that.”

Well… No. It’d be more accurate to say, “Everyone believes that,” because neither of those two answers is correct. It’s false mythology perpetuated, somewhat deliberately and somewhat blindly, mainly by the Christian and Big Business worlds—both being anchored solidly by a huge chunk of the population too reticent to question the validity of tradition.

Just like nearly every other holiday known to man, Christmas is but one more that is founded in Paganism and celebrates humanity’s darkest and below-animalistic nature.

According to, gift-giving was originally a Roman, pre-Christian tradition of emperors pushing their most detested citizens to give offerings during the Pagan festival of “Saturnalia.”

What exactly was Saturnalia, and what kind of practices were performed during the Saturnalia festival, the festival that the Christian Christmas is founded on?

Saturnalia was an official Roman Pagan holiday, running from December 17-25, meant to worship the deity “Saturn.” During its course, courts were closed and lawlessness was, literally, the law.

To kick it off on the 17th, authorities selected a so-called “enemy of the Roman people,” or “Lord of Misrule” (an otherwise innocent person, mind you), and forced countless abuses upon him or her. From the 17th onward, behaviors ran rampant such as vandalism, intoxication, singing naked while going door to door (caroling, anyone?), rape, and gluttony. On the 25th, the authorities concluded the festival by sacrificing the initially chosen “enemy/Lord” under the belief that they were simultaneously destroying the forces of darkness.

And thus the reason why activities such as Black Friday insanity, gluttonous eating, and heavy drinking are so commonplace at Christmas time—festivalizing sin is simply par for course!

Further Research

I highly recommend you research further into the truth of our traditions, holidays, and any other such events. Christmas, certainly, because it’s impact is as great as our misconceptions about it are severe. You might start by searching with the keywords: “Pagan Origins of Christmas.” Here are two examples of what you will find:

Simple To Remember: The History of Christmas

The Real Truth: The True Origins of Christmas

Similarly, I recommend looking up the Pagan origins of every other Christian holiday as well—particularly if you are a Christian—plus those such as Columbus Day. These days of observance are absolutely not what we’ve been taught. Rather, like the origins of Christmas, they’re hidden-in-plain-sight ways of celebrating humanity’s most horrific moments.

A Wiser Approach To Gifting

I’ll guess that by now you’ve noticed the absurdity and fallacious nature of the beliefs underlying the typical way of gifting at Christmas. If you therefore choose to stop, it’s all well and good.

But I do understand if you still see significance in the practice—getting together with family, having fun, etc. This seems reasonable to me assuming that the what’s, how’s, and why’s are addressed and changed… Though it does beg the question why anyone requires a culturally-endorsed holiday to do so… It is for this reason that I offer some ideas about making the experience of gifting a more conscious activity. I’ll use my own experience to illustrate:

Over the last several years, I’ve felt inclined to be more conscious and creative about gifts. What this means is that shortly after Christmas I say to myself something like: Self, I open myself to creative ideas as to what I can give to others this coming Christmas. Thank you. And I forget about it.

Then within a few days, a few months, or only days before Christmas, creative ideas strike me out of the blue. Sometimes this means that I do buy a material item for someone, but I do so with qualities in mind such as functionality, humor, and aesthetics.

For example, this past November, my sister and her boyfriend got me two adult coloring books—with cats—lots of cats. It wasn’t until about two weeks or less before Christmas that the idea came to me to color some of the images and give them to anyone who likes cats. I ended up putting seven of the pictures into simple frames, with each picture being selected based on an intuitive feeling as to which picture would be most appreciated by whom. As it turns out, they were well-accepted by everyone, except the two kids (a 1-year and a 3-year-old… what’s wrong with them!?).

Side pictures from A Million Cats: Fabulous Felines To Color
 by Lulu Mayo; center picture (cut out) from Magical Cats:
Pads of Color by Barron's; all colored by me!

To note in regard to timeframe, while this catty idea came to me right before Christmas and was something I couldn’t have imagined earlier than November, the gift idea I got for a different gift exchange (a purchased yet functional, humorous, and aesthetically-pleasing item …at least I thought so!) came to me back in July.

Which reminds me of another gift idea I’d been struck with in late summer but a few years earlier. For this particular exchange, I’d needed only one gift with a cost of about $15. Well, I got the idea for the item below, and it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. It’s hand-made by Your Truly, and unquestionably more costly and time- and energy-consuming than I could have imagined at the start. No matter, I’m thrilled with the outcome, and I’m grateful for having had the opportunity to both make it and give it away.

Super Mario, anyone?

So, you see, conscious gifting takes the deadness and falsity out of the tradition and replaces it with what is exciting and alive. It’s far more self- and other-serving because the activity is driven by creativity, spontaneity, and intuition rather than beliefs such as, “This is the way it’s supposed to be because this is the way it’s always been,” “This item is where I’ll find happiness,” or, “If I get my son the 57” TV, I’ll finally earn his approval and he’ll respect me.”

Confronting the Discomfort of Breaking Norms and Moving On

To note, there were more than seven people I could have given gifts to in the main exchange, but I did not. They are people I have always given gifts to in prior years and whom have always given me gifts, this past year included. The only idea to come to me that felt right was the cat pictures. I noticed guilt and shame knocking at the door, but I was able to let it go quite easily this year.

It’s this area of feeling and false belief where things probably get rough for a lot of people: But if I don’t get him/her something, especially if he/she gets me something, what is he/she going to think? How will he/she treat me? How am I going to feel? How is he/she going to feel? How am I going to feel about how he/she feels?

Gift-giving can easily become a forced experience. The expectation can get heavy and leave non-givers feeling guilt and shame, while the non-receivers may feel anger or “less than” and get judgmental.

If anyone feels these things, you will find it worth your while to inquire about them so that you can move on with life. Truthfully, it’s all made up, it’s all conditioning. Conventional gift-giving is a cultural (“cult-you-are-all”) business. There is little to no freedom in its design.

We would all be far better off learning the truth, getting over our inner junk, and then allowing our creativity and uniqueness to shine through effortlessly.

We would all be far better off reaching a point where we can feel and intuit our way through giving rather than thinking our way through it as we blindly follow the lead of a tradition both silly and disturbing.

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