There is a certain cynicism that permeates everyone's emotions this time of year - we see the effects of capitalism and an unprecedented consumerism that seems to grow and grow as the years tick by. Its easy to fall into this negativity, not really taking in what this time of year should mean for us and how it manifests for each person. We can't judge how a person decides to express gratitude, whether that be through extreme economy booming shopping, or through  a gentle Christmas lunch/dinner. The cities are pumping at the moment. Thousands of people swarm to the already red-stickered items, bags in tow, and Joy to the World blasts through the airwaves. Its unavoidable. It's also too easy to fall into a rage driven endless Why? about capitalism, whether people are turning a blind eye to the rest of the world and the other slew of painful emotions that can arise at this time. It can't be about this. 

Despite this, Christmas has always been a time of year for extreme gratefulness for me. I will continue to welcome the energy of joy, communion, heart and gratitude for the people we have around us and the food and bounty we share. I admittedly, do take part in the gift giving ceremony. I adore giving, not from an egoic perspective, but I so honour the people around me and tell them often of my immense love for them (Hey, Mum! Matisse!) sometimes a gift is a sweet little cherry upon the Bûche de Noël. 
The gifts in a sense to me signify my complete gratitude for my family and wonderful people that surround me.
So much of my Christmas Day revolves around the joy of cooking. Since I was little I can remember being a mini sous-chef for my mum, and as the years went on the desserts and salads were in my court. Tarte Tatin, Panncottas, Raw Cakes - the works. This act of laughing, dancing, tasting and loving whilst creating and giving is pure magic. Bing Crosby also makes a much-loved appearance. Mariah plays a song. Its weird. This ritual is a gift in itself.
I've said this before but it rings true more and more. We can't be disheartened or remain passive to what continues to occur on the planet at this moment, and there is a lot. Through our acknowledgement and ability to actually SEE, we're halfway there. We can choose to move through the pain and heartbreak into a new space to renewal and consciousness as well as compassion. It's only through being awake that we can create shifts. Compassion, love and kindness has more of an effect than we know. That's what Christmas is about for me, even if it presents itself for you in lots of shopping. Bear in mind that this sweet kindness and the act of giving reverberates across the planet if we allow our hearts to open to the true nature of Christmas.
So, understand that the act of giving presents itself in a multitude of ways; setting the table, picking flowers, pouring drinks, wrapping presents, cutting fruit and all of the other sweet things that make Christmas what it is.