Two girls lying down on deck

Giving and receiving at Christmas

In Community and Relationship by LivingNowLeave a Comment

At this time, let us sit back, reflect, count our many blessings, celebrate and applaud all our amazing lives and growth and breakthroughs.

Yet, some may say Christmas is also a time of stress, hassles of shopping; having to meet up with and share with family and relatives in situations that feel uncomfortable and sometimes outright scary.

For others, Christmas is a time of extreme loneliness and heartache. With a 50% divorce rate, many families will be separated at Christmas and some just newly so. How do we work out with whom the kids will wake up on Christmas morning? How do we work out where they, and we, will spend the day and the holidays? What about the in-laws and grandparents we feel uncomfortable sharing with, but the kids want to visit?

I invite you to consider making this Christmas a time full of rich blessings, despite what your situation may be!

Consider that what is happening in your life right now, at Christmas time, or at any time, in all your relationships usually has a direct link to the conditioning that we received as we were growing up. We can learn how to change these patterns and consequently what happens in our lives.
As children we are ‘taught’ who we are allowed to be and how we can expect to be treated by others. We adopt a self-image and a world-image. We are all born having needs. However, what is overwhelmingly sad in our culture is that a large amount of people haven’t learnt that it’s okay to have their needs and that it’s okay to ask for what they want and to get their needs met.

Our beliefs

We have learned to give our loved ones what we think they need rather than exploring and discovering what they truly want and listening when they tell us. Instead, we need to ‘check in’ on what are our beliefs about giving and receiving, about having needs, about getting our needs met. What do we believe about saying ‘Yes’ and saying ‘No’? We can ‘check in’ on our own likes and dislikes, and about whether we can authentically express who we are.

So, what do you believe in and what beliefs do you want to have about giving and receiving? Does your self-image resonate with these assertions?

(i) I believe in people getting what they want and living the life they want.

(ii) I believe my needs are OK and it’s OK for others to meet my needs.

(iii) I believe your needs are OK and it’s OK for others to meet your needs.

(iv) I also believe that I know best what I want and you know best what you want.

(v) And, I believe that the reality that I live in has more to do with my thoughts and beliefs than any other factor.

Gifts are a means to tell people you care, whether the gift you are giving is a physical object or a gift of your time or talents or your presence. Gifts are a way to say: “Hey, you are unique and special and I want to treat or indulge and pamper you.” And our gifts have to do just that. They need to ‘hit the spot’ to touch the heart of the receiver.

So start making a list of what makes you feel loved and cared for and communicate these to your family and friends. Or, as well, ask your loved ones to make a list for you and choose to give what makes you feel good and what is within your budget and means. Be authentic. A gift that has your authenticity and loving energy in it will have much more meaning for you and the receiver. And remember that “love is a verb” and that love grows in response to our getting our needs met.
“All that is given is given to myself” – from A Course In Miracles
“The only gift is a portion of yourself” – by Emerson
I offer you a wish for much love and connection over this festive time. May you enjoy the practising of traditions and rituals that bring you closer to your family and loved ones.

Know that we are all born with the capacity for giving and receiving unlimited love.

Know that all your relationships and interactions are an opportunity for you to become more of who you authentically are.
Know that if this is not how you are living and experiencing your life then maybe the greatest gift you can give yourself and others is to explore and to learn how to create this. And there are many courses that teach this.

May your Christmas and New Year be full of loving and sharing.
May there be fun and playing and wonder and laughter.
May there be giving and receiving and magic and miracles.
May you indulge in many “glorious indelible moments”, as Sark would say.
And, above all, may you discover the exquisitely precious gift that you are.


Susie Itzstein is psychotherapist in private practice in Perth who works with individuals, couples, children and families. She specialises in marriage/couples counselling, inner child work and Voice Dialogue. An experienced group facilitator, Susie conducts ongoing groups, courses, workshops and intensives. She is a member of Imago Relationships International whose mission is to create a new model for marriage and to transform the world one relationship at a time.

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