“What do you want for Christmas?”
Oh, dreaded question!
When this question is proffered by well-meaning friends and family, I inwardly cringe. I shudder, visualising drawers that WILL NOT CLOSE because they have so many socks and jocks crammed to their furthest corners. The beautiful top hanging in my wardrobe unworn. Because it is five sizes too small. The expensive crystal cocktail glasses I’m too afraid to use. The self help books for things I don’t feel I need help with. Thank you. The boxes of chocolate that I shouldn’t be eating. But do. Then have to work off. The personalised bottle opener.
Forgive me. This is sounding extremely ungracious, and that is not my intention. But when I am asked that question there are three things that wrestle in my head:
- I don’t need anything. Truthfully. I am at that stage of life where, if I need something, I generally go get it. And I’m also kinda picky about things. So if I say to you, “I need some new socks”, I’m actually thinking of a specific kind. I’d prefer to get them myself. Most of the time. Does that sound awful? I don’t mean it to, it’s just where I’m at. And when I say I don’t NEED anything, it also speaks to my regard for THINGS. I’m a mum of two and I spend large chunks of my precious time tidying THINGS away. The less THINGS I have, the less THINGS I have to tidy away. Less is more, friends!
- You’re going to get me something no matter what I say. Don’t feel bad. It’s a social construct, something we’ve been taught since we were knee-high to a grasshopper: thou shalt give gifts at Christmas time. Even if the recipient doesn’t want anything. So when THAT question is asked (“What do you want for Christmas?”), I’m scrambling to find something I truly need that’s not going to wind up gathering dust on a shelf somewhere. And then I think of practical things, like some pump soap, toothpaste or a bag of rice. But you want to give something meaningful. And then we’re back into dusty shelf territory.
- While I’m struggling to think of something I need, there are others in the world who would struggle to think of something they don’t need. My stomach churns at the excess of Christmas gift-giving. While there are causes in the world that make my heart ache, causes that NEED resources so much more than I need things to pad out my home, I will be uncomfortable with receiving for the sake of a date on a calendar. There are so many more meaningful ways to acknowledge the core message of Christmas, the birth of Jesus.
So, here at Emily’s Voice, we’ve come up with a solution. Because we also acknowledge that people love to get into the spirit of Christmas and give generously to their loved-ones.
How about asking friends and family to give to a cause that is closest to your heart? If you’re reading this, there’s every chance that cause is life. What joy to know that, instead of a new pair of earrings or a mug or a mouse pad, that money was channelled to an organisation that seeks to change the culture of life in Australia. To ensure that abortion in the future is rare, unreasonable, unthinkable. To know that women and their unborn children have full information, full support, full love.
Now there is a Christmas gift that fills my heart with gratitude.
Do you feel the same? If you do, here are some resources you might like to email to loved ones, or share on your social media platforms.
One thing’s for sure, if you don’t say something soon, your Christmas will likely require your best acting skills as you tear open wrapping paper to find a pink and orange polka dot vase from Aunt Whatsit, blue checked tea-towels with your name embroidered along the seam or a ballerina figurine.
(You can just drag and drop the above image onto your desktop before attaching it to emails or posting it on social media. If you’re looking at this via your phone, press on the image and then save it to your camera roll so you can add it anyplace you please. You have our full permission!)
All funds raised will go towards our efforts to raise $30,000 by Christmas, for a whole fleet of things we have planned for next year. Read about that here.