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It’s just a thought-exercise, and probably a bit late now. I wasn’t even relating it to the imminent festivities, though it was no coincidence I’m sure, because it involves gifts and materialism.

I was wondering how it could be if we were to give non-material things to those on our Christmas list. Gifts like compassion, harmony, selflessness…

I know, I know! This will probably cause some people to jump up and down, with thoughts like “I ALREADY DO THAT” running loudly through their minds. I’m not as clever or as intuitively good as some people though, and it’s MY thought experiment, so I’ll continue.

It probably says something about me and how unpracticed I am at thinking this way that I had to struggle to come up with my paltry list of non-material gifts. And I also realise, despite what I said in the last paragraph, that most of us do this anyway, and not just in this season.

We are essentially kind and altruistic – each in our own way – to those we know and like. At least we are capable of it even if we don’t always practice it. We’ll even extend it a bit to those we don’t know, with the gift of charity.

The list of material advantages would be long; less stress, less financial burden, less time spent shopping (with all its attendant pressures). I won’t eve mention the waste involved in wrapping (we’ll I just did), or the worry about having got it right, or forgetting someone.

I guess the kids might kick up a fuss if, instead of the latest Star-Wars gizmo or techno-whizz-gadget, they were given compliments, shown graciousness or presented with sympathy or acceptance. Apart from that though I can’t see a single disadvantage to a non-material gift-giving time.

And it would give us all a gift we already treasure: kindness.


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