The greatest gift you can give is to be present

Happy Christmas and welcome to my first blog! I’ve been holding off launching it because my site isn’t quite ready, but, in the spirit of mindfulness, it doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be what it is. So here it is!

The words ‘Christmas’ and ‘present’ go hand in hand and, I don’t know about you, but, I spend a lot of time thinking about what to buy those I love, finding the perfect gift to show I care and carefully wrapping it up, all to make my family smile. I love giving presents, it’s a wonderful feeling, but it occurred to me yesterday that one of the greatest gifts I can give to myself and my family this Christmas (without spending anything) it to be fully present in the moment.

Yesterday I braved the Christmas Eve rush at the supermarket and needed a coffee to get me through it, so I popped in to Costa (and ordered a Black Forest hot chocolate instead – but that’s another story). I love people watching but, as I looked around me, almost everyone was sat on their phones ignoring each other, except for these two old men (who must have been in their 80s) who were wearing Santa hats 🎅🏻and were animatedly engrossed in conversation with each other – it really made me smile. So many other people looked sad and fed up because they were being ignored by the person opposite them and it made me think.

One of the things most of us crave as human beings is connection with others, and you can’t give that or receive it if you are not present.

I’m as guilty as anyone of spending too much time on my phone (with the excuse that it’s also my work phone) and about a month ago I was shocked when I read my weekly usage report about how much time a day I spend on it and how many times I pick it up. I’ve been consciously trying to reduce that over the last few weeks and have cut it down by almost 50% now but it’s still a lot of time a day spent giving my time and attention to a device. Yesterday my mum was trying to speak to me and I was in the middle of sending a message (which of course was far more important) so I wasn’t really listening and then I remembered the people in the coffee shop I was hypocritically judging and I put my phone down and listened to her.

So that’s my pledge for Christmas Day, to enjoy the present moment with my family as well as the present giving and that’s the greatest gift of all 🎁