What makes a really meaningful Christmas gift?
Will your Christmas present be something special this year? will it be a gift with meaning?
SEE some inspirational Christmas Presents and gifts with real meaning in our online shop
Christmas (or Xmas as it is sometimes called) is an occasion that lets you gift a really special and meaningful present . . an inspirational present that has real meaning at this time of year.
At Christmas, in the 21st Century, presents are often exchanged as a ritual . . sometimes with little thought as to the significance. But Christmas presents can also pass on our love and our good wishes to friends, family and loved-ones. So how can we best achieve this? How can we find meaningful Christmas presents / Xmas gifts with meaning?
In days gone by, before Christianity, at the winter solstice (23rd December), it was the custom for a man to dress up and cover himself in Holly. A woman was likewise dressed in Ivy (the female counterpart of Holly). Together they would parade through the streets hand in hand leading the old year into the new. This symbolic interaction of Goddess and God during nature’s decline was supposed to guide the new light of the Sun-God and encourage fresh growth and renewed vegetation during the coming year. (Nowadays, the Holly King has been stylised by the figure of Santa Claus – who is one of the many folklore characters that emerge at this time of year, and that have age-old significance and meaning.)
Stockings used to be hung by the chimney so that Santa (or St. Nicholas) could toss coins down the chimney – falling neatly into stockings left drying by the hearth. And so, to this day, we leave out our stockings in the hope that a similar bit of good luck will befall us. The door of the house can be left open to allow any evil spirits to leave and a candle can be placed in a window to burn all night – thus ensuring good fortune for the household for another year. On Christmas Eve (in Spanish: Nochebuena) in parts of Andalucía (where we have a base – although our business is international), as the stars come out, tiny oil lamps are lit in every house, and after Midnight Mass and Christmas Dinner, people fill the streets: Some dance to the sound of small guitars, gourd rattles, tambourines and castanets. Others sing carols (villancicos).
Christianity has adapted many of the old traditions. For example, the door to the house is sometimes left unlatched so that Mary and Joseph can avail themselves of a welcome. Sometimes, a loaf of bread filled with caraway seeds and raisins is left on the table with a pitcher of milk next to the lit candle.
Spanish children think of the Three Kings (los Reyes Magos) as the gift bearers. They arrive on January 6th, the date that the Wise Men gave gifts to Joseph and Mary for their newly arrived son, Jesus. (This is the start of the celebration of the festival of Epiphany.) The children fill their ‘zapatos’ with straw or barley for the tired camels/horses/donkeys that have carried the Wise Men through the night – and during the night, parents replace this straw with sweets / chocolates / bombones / caramelos, so that, by the morning, the straw appears miraculously ‘eaten’ by the animals, and replaced with these delicious gifts and presents. For these children, they really do seem to receive Christmas gifts with meaning.
Mistletoe – another Christmas / Xmas tradition with great history (and which, in the Celtic language, means “all heal”), was believed to have all sorts of miraculous qualities including the power of healing diseases, banning evil spirits, bringing good luck and bestowing great blessings. To this day, it is still used at Christmas to bring good luck and bestow blessings onto those who kiss beneath it.
So . . . do you know someone who would appreciate a meaningful Christmas present this year? A Christmas gift with a bit more significance?
Gift a present to help your friends and loved-ones to have not only a great Christmas and New Year, but also a Christmas with significance.