Secret Santa Time: The gift of compassion, self-preservation and freedom

Secret Santa Time: The gift of compassion, self-preservation and freedom


I am not a hugger as many people proclaim me to be. However, I am, indeed a gift-giver. I love celebrating birthdays, Halloween and Christmas. What I love most about those occasions is the act of giving gifts to all those around me.

I love figuring out what people like and how I can find a gift that can fit their personality. Throughout the years, I have gotten quite good at it. The last six years or so, I have had a team of anywhere between 10 to 16 people big. I study them closely and learn their musical tastes, their cocktail preferences and their fashion sense.   For the most part, I have bought near perfect gifts. Occasionally, I don’t hit the mark.   I don’t own those mistakes, though. Usually , when I am off the mark, it is because the gift-recipient is too fussy or too secretive.

This past year, I have not felt like buying myself too many things. I felt that I should not accumulate more items that will just lie in clutter. However, I bought my son enough toys to last several lifetimes of toddlerhood. I feel this intense need to give and give. My nieces receive boxes upon boxes of dolls and games. I can’t help myself. Obviously, I am trying to make up for a poverty-stricken childhood where I had just one doll that I had chewed the hands off. Obviously, I have been trying to fill some voids by giving till there is no tomorrow.  My son is obviously happy

I suppose that by giving so much, I can externalize my focus. Although, this holiday season, I bought gifts for over 25 people, I did not go overboard. I showed some restraint in my purchases. I highly targeted the gifts to the individuals around me and then just stopped purchasing. Amazon most definitely knows who I am, but not as well as they did last year.

This year, I have focused on the gift of freedom for myself. I have focused on the gift of moving forward. I have focused on the gift of compassion for those that seem stuck in a rut. I have lent an ear or two. I have extended an arm. I have kicked up the pace of change for myself and others.   I reconnected with long-lost friends. This enhanced realm of the interpersonal is what we all need. These days people seem so disconnected from everyone that an actual face-to-face interaction becomes something of heightened importance and sensitivity.

At the Vatican

The year 2015 has been designated by the United Nations as The International Year of Light. It is meant to shine a light on technology and science. However, it can also serve to shed a light on one’s personal situation and context. That is what I would want to gift everyone around me in the streets of New York, Berlin and wherever else I may find myself. For many people, I serve as a sounding board. And that is alright by me. It can be a bit overwhelming to be the person that many come to for catharsis but I have come to understand it is because I either am non-judgmental, I listen well, provide sound advice or am just the only one available.  The time the man on the train next to me was having a panic attack, I was the only one that talked to him till he calmed down. Others around us looked at him with a bit of scorn and looked at me with a bit of ridicule. Compassion! Show it.

Be everyone’s Secret Santa by lending an ear, extending an arm, or mouthing words of comfort.

Be your own Secret Santa. Sound off and go act. Go change your life for the better. There is no better gift to be given to oneself.


12 replies »

  1. This post had such a strong sense of serendipity for me- especially after the dreadful week last week: the siege in downtown Sydney with 2 people killed, the massacre in Pakistan and then a mother in Queensland, Australia killed 7 of her children and her niece. There was a sign at a local Church which said: “Sydney Pakistan Cairns: Let there be light”. It seems quite appropriate that next year will be the Year of Light. We also had the terrible MH17 tragedy which seems to have consigned to history already but we definitely need more light in this world. I have reinforced the importance of “the Golden Rule” both on my blog and to my kids. It’s a good place to start.


  2. If this isn’t your manifesto, I might steal it and make it mine. I would remove the parts about other people’s reactions and potential thoughts, though, because I don’t care about them. Is that sick?


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