Connecting to Christmas

December 13, 2013 by  
Filed under current, Guest Space

I always love announcing new contributors to our pages. Today it’s my honour to introduce Mary Ann Mhina. More about Mary Ann below.


It won’t have escaped you that Christmas is coming and I’m struck as ever at this time of year by the gap between our expectations of the perfect Christmas – where everyone is smiling as they cheerfully enjoy the festive season together – and the reality, that this is very often a stressful time of year, especially for women.

I can’t help thinking that our sense of the perfect Christmas is fuelled, if not created by the things we are being sold – shop displays, women’s magazines and TV adverts all target women when they try to persuade us to buy the things we need to create this ‘better than ever’ perfect Christmas.

And they never offer a January refund when our hopes are dashed by a Christmas that doesn’t quite meet our expectations. Moreover the combination of these unrealistic expectations designed to fuel our desire to buy more goodies coupled with our family dynamics often actually add a particularly tricky element to Christmas, especially if it’s the only time in the year when our family of origin all comes together.

So how can we deal with this gap between our expectations and our Christmas reality?

What would the wise way to do Christmas actually be? One thing I find helpful is to think about the Christmas of our ancestors, of those that went before us. A few generations ago there wouldn’t have been such a plethora of Christmas choices and purchases. What made Christmas special then when the Christmas marketing machine wasn’t so effective? How can we simplify the Christmas commotion and concentrate instead on genuinely finding festive joy?

Here are some suggestions that might help:

1. Concentrate on staying connected spiritually whatever this means for you – perhaps it’s daily meditation or time alone, it could be prayer or singing carols or maybe its a creative practice you hold dear? Or it could simply be reserving a few moments each morning to breathe deeply and connect to your own intentions for the day.

2. Keep moving. Whether its doing a little bit of your favorite movement practice – I find that some Yoga or Nia – even for ten or fiftenn minutes helps me to stay grounded – or simply take a walk whenever you can.

3. Connect your Christmas celebrations to nature in some way – perhaps stuff cloves in oranges to create a Pomander or invest in a real Christmas tree – whatever you can manage to keep you in touch with natures cycle of turning seasons which is a part of what we are celebrating at this time and can help us stay connected to the way in which nature supports our celebrations.

4. Make Christmas a time to truly hear one another, ask family to tell you some of their 2013 stories or ask elder members to tell you about Christmases past. Make a point of listening.

5. If you can, reduce the hype! It doesn’t mean not being excited but connect to your excitement about the day-to-day joys – the moments of pleasure – rather than letting yourself be swept up in Christmas panic.

I’d love to hear some of your strategies for Christmas joy and peace and maintaining a spiritual connection through the festive season? So please do share them in the comments below.

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About Our Guest Contributor

Mary Ann MinhaMary Ann has a life-long interest in women sharing their stories and her first book, “Listening to Our Grandmothers”, in which older women do just that was published in September. She now divides her time between her own creative work as a writer and storyteller and working on projects with International NGOs. She is also a White Belt Nia Teacher & an Action Learning Facilitator. She will speak at TedXCoventGardenWomen this month and her online course StoryPower will launch in early 2014. You can connect with her at:

Twitter: @maryannmhina
Facebook: maryannwalsinghammhina

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