It’s the thought that counts

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By YVETTE AUBUSSON-FO­LEY

LET’S talk about stress.

The big C is just around the cor­ner.

No, not cancer... Christ­mas.

If there’s one time of the year when things can get reeeeaaal ugly, it’s now.

While the Big Brother Brands sell us the frenzy of fairy lights and ex­trav-elec­tronic-aganza; at home, Christ­mas can ac­tu­ally be a hot poker to a fam­ily’s pain, turn­ing up the heat on a bat­tle field, per­haps within our­selves, or be­tween the peo­ple who know (and love?) us the best, usu­ally for the worst. Joy to the world.

Ever since Aus­tralia started na­tiv­ity scene-sham­ing in case the Mid­dle East and North African fig­ures de­picted in the ge­o­graph­i­cally ac­cu­rate star-lit barn were seen as po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect (be­cause...?), the void left by the ab­sence of key Chris­tian fes­ti­val sym­bols had to be filled with a dif­fer­ent story. All I want for Christ­mas...

Ahem, some­thing else, as mean­ing­ful. Giv­ing.

And, re­ceiv­ing gifts at Christ­mas is noth­ing new. Some fam­i­lies give out ipads, oth­ers, al­co­hol-in­duced black eyes. Told you it can get ugly.

We need to ask our­selves, why is that?

Who is plac­ing such high ex­pec­ta­tions and pres­sures on our homes and fam­ily bonds that Christ­mas can cause melt­downs, re­gret and vi­o­lence? Vi­o­lence?

O Holy Night.

But, giv­ing is a good thing, right? Yeah, fist bump, that’s a great thing!

Giv­ing is one of the most re­ward­ing ges­tures two hu­mans can share be­tween each other. When I was about 10, my grand­mother gave me for Christ­mas a loaf of bread (it was an in joke) and it’s the one gift I hold dear­est of all be­cause it came from her to me, not Mat­tel. It was about us, not the price tag.

It was a gift of ‘not too lit­tle, not too much, just right’. Sound fa­mil­iar? Yep, it’s Christ­mas in the Goldilocks Zone, and a lived con­cept in Swe­den called Lagom.

Lagom cre­ates the kind of con­tent­ment the Swedes are fa­mous for, which doesn’t come from hav­ing things. It’s an in­ter­nal state and sim­ple things make you feel it.

Lagom also means, just the right amount, ad­e­quate, in bal­ance, per­fect-sim­ple, suit­able.

Per­fect-sim­ple. That sounds like a fairer, less com­pli­cated and more con­tented way to nav­i­gate the fes­tive sea­son.

Big Brother Brands have their place, but if court­ing them cre­ates anx­i­ety, self-doubt or de­pres­sion, then, that’s a re­la­tion­ship bet­ter kept at arm’s length.

Open some doors to real mem­o­ries this Christ­mas with mean­ing­ful (plas­tic free!) giv­ing. Cre­ate rather than con­sume. Teach the next gen­er­a­tion the most im­por­tant things in life are the sim­ple things, and as ev­ery­one knows, they’re free.


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