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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. November Theme: "Unique Perspective"
Volume 2 Issue 1 ISSN# 1708-3265

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Celebrating the Season
by Theo Georgina Tigger
AKA Changeling

The winter holidays. It's something many people have said before, but it is still true; we all spend too much, eat too much and worry too much about this time of year.

No matter our good intentions, no matter our religious beliefs, it is so easy for most of us to get caught up in another frenetic round of consumption and consumerism as a way of proving to each other how much we love them, and to ourselves how much we are loved.

How many of us face January feeling too round-bellied and too poor with the skies too cold and dark to do much about it? So we face the New Year with an often impossible raft of promises and resolutions, and then get annoyed with ourselves for not sticking to them through the month.

I watch the efforts of friends in North America, and notice the winter festivals do still seem a little less frantic here in Europe; then I see what some families are buying in the shops and it makes me wonder that we're not headed in the same direction.

My partner and I are lucky, too, in that we don't have large families - we buy a little something for close family and friends, and it comes to about a dozen people all told. One person, one present too!

The funny thing is, I think, what depresses us at any age is not a lack of presents, but a lack of love; and yet we put so much effort into the presents and the feasting and the decorations. I wonder how many mothers are too busy cooking the enormous feast of a dinner to watch their children even open their presents and then play with them.

It can be a brave move to trim the number of people you are giving presents to, and the size of the feast you are cooking, so that you can stay out of the chaos and really celebrate this festival as it should be - a celebration of family and friendship.

And then you can stop and think, and your presents can reflect what you are best at giving, and what others really want to receive.

Giving a young family a set of 'vouchers' promising babysitting duties (especially on New Year's or birthdays) can be a perfect present - no cost, no shopping!

Or if your circle loves your baking, you could spend a weekend batch-baking everyone their own personal box of your best cookies. All your presents sorted in one, and no running around the shops at all!

Last year, I put together a photo album for my partner, and he decorated a joint memory box for me.

And then, since I was a poor student, I have introduced a tradition with anyone I'm to be spending Christmas morning with. We set a ridiculously small budget, and run around town one afternoon finding as many presents as possible for the money. It's a great game, especially having to hide from each other in the shops - and having a stocking full of tiny, cheap presents on Christmas morning is like being six years old again. You don't go over budget, and you can have fun with the crowds rather than battling with them. Although be warned, it gets rapidly more chaotic the more people are involved!

And if you really have no time, don't despair, friends of mine who had just started a new business last year bought online and had everything delivered, and no one minded.

But if you really want to shut people up and have a year off, you can tell them your time and money just for this year will be spent in your local soup kitchen or children's home. And then do it, and encourage them to do the same.

Like many things, I think it's about stepping back and asking yourself what you want out of the holiday rather than following any set 'routine', and those of us without children and with a partner who loves us have little excuse. Even if curling up in front of a cosy fire and watching classic films together isn't your idea of fun, you can always book a week in the sun.

But I'll be honest - my problem is the food. I want to have cooked everything myself, because it's nicer that way, but I have to remember baking bread on Christmas morning is just unnecessary!

My resolution for this year is also to make much more use of my status as "the wild pagan wood witch" of my group to opt out of anything to do with Christmas we don't want to do. Especially as we give a wicked Samhain party for all our nearest and dearest!

And as such, here's my tip for a really magical Yule. Get back to your roots, take the Solstice off work (nobody else cares about the 21st), get up at a ridiculous hour of the morning, or even travel the day before, and be somewhere at dawn that makes your heart sing to welcome the return of the sun, and then you're halfway to a wonderful holiday before the rest of 'civilisation' has even started.

But then we're lucky, we're two hours drive from Stonehenge…

Changeling is a digital artist, healer and apprentice Faery Shaman currently nesting in Oxfordshire, England. Her website, is a carefully crafted labyrinth exploring her chosen paths of Shaman ~ Artist ~ Designer ~ Writer ~ Healer and showing much of her creative output. She can be contacted via her website.

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