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Presence not Presents

When you meet someone at this time of year, what is usually the first question they ask you?

“So, are you all ready for Christmas?”

When you hear this, how do you feel?

It is incredible how much thought, energy and financial investment goes into one day of the year.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmasstressed christmas but this year in particular I have been even more aware of the “Christmas effect” and its impact on me and people around me.

I’ve noticed 3 things:

  1. we are not really here a lot of the time
  2. the curse of the perfectionist is rife
  3. the looming deadline sends us into panic mode.


Firstly, this time of the year seems to force us into the future.  We are planning, preparing for and visualising the 25th December and often forget what day of the week we are actually in.  As we project ourselves into the future, many of us are plagued by the perfectionist within us or are simply influenced by the TV adverts, magazine articles or our friends descibing what the “perfect” Christmas should look like.  We want the presents to be right, the food to be right, the decorations and music to be right, even the “Christmassy” atmosphere to be right.  Which leads to my 3rd observation, because of the immovable deadline we are all stressed out and acting as though if we don’t buy it/do it/organise it NOW we will miss out on creating the perfect 25th December.

Now, maybe this is just me but I’m pretty sure it is not.  Having really tuned into what people are saying and how people are behaving (starting with myself!) I have noticed how much additional pressure we put on ourselves at this time of year and am left wondering if we could ease off a bit whether we might in fact have an even better Christmas.

Pause for a moment and consider what do you REALLY want for Christmas?  What do the people who will be around you REALLY want for Christmas?

In the words of the song……“all I want for Christmas is YOU!”.  Whilst I’m not sure Mariah Carey was talking about mindfulness and being present, I believe that she had a point.  For many of us, Christmas is the chance for us to get together with people we don’t see very often or only pass periodically throughout the year as we go about our busy daily lives.

all I want for Christmas


I wonder how different your Christmas would feel, for you and the people around you, if you were truly present for this one day?  Instead of worrying whether you have bought enough gifts, how you are going to fit everyone around the table for Christmas dinner, how long the turkey needs to be in the oven or how to keep everyone entertained after the meal…..what if you decided that this year the way to create the “perfect” Christmas for everyone would be for you to be 100% with them.

Have you found yourself wakening up on Boxing Day and feeling that the previous day went by in a bit a of a blur (and not just because of the festive spirit!) or a bit deflated that after all of the effort in planning and preparing it all happened in a flash?

Perhaps this year you could find a way to check in with yourself, notice when your mind is somewhere else and bring it back to the sights, smells, sounds of Christmas as it unfolds.  Listen, watch and savour the fun, excitment, anticipation, merriment at each stage of the day and the build up to the day, and notice how it makes you feel.  Warm, content, happy, grateful….whatever it is…..just being fully present could be the best present you give and recieve this year.



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