I grew up celebrating Christmas in the middle of Summer in Australia & New Zealand. 

In the suburban landscape of the 70’s and 80’s no one questioned cans of fake snow, plastic trees and cooking roast dinners and plum pudding during a heatwave.

The Reason for the Season…or is it?

In my mid-twenties I stumbled upon the ancient seasonal festivals of the earlier Goddess tradition upon which the patriarchal celebrations were based. So whilst we have been told Jesus is the reason for the season, for thousands of years prior to Jesus our ancestors celebrated the Holy night of the Winter Solstice as the birth / rebirth of the sacred masculine. This is when the sun was said to be reborn and men sought to become like Gods like Osiris, Adonis and Dumuzi by undergoing sacred ceremonies to catalyze the ego death or their small self. For more about that check out my talk on the Holy Grail here

Honoring Our Hybrid of Needs & Traditions

For the past 20 years I’ve incorporated celebrations of the seasonal wheel to assist the growth of my soul but I’ve also continued to observe and celebrate the Christian festivals of Easter (once Eostre, the fertility festival of Spring) and Christmas (originally the Winter Solstice) because my inner child was not prepared to relinquish them due to nostalgia and since everyone else was celebrating. After all, a sense of belonging is important for our inner child regardless of our chronological age!

Each year the appeal of a traditional Christmas lessens for me…this could be a sign of maturity but I suspect it’s more the turn of the cosmic wheel as we shift from the Piscean age into the Aquarian age. This influence is why our collective values are changing and evolving.

So you’re not alone if you’re questioning whether it’s ethical to lie to kids about Santa, given he’s the marketing invention of Coca-Cola, branded in their colours…a corporate version of St Nicholas, the Christian appropriation of the earlier Green man. 

In our pedophilic culture you may also feel to resist the cultural expectation we place on kids to sit on a strange man’s lap and pose for photos…or wonder if it’s environmental responsible to cut down a tree, decorate it and then toss it out a few weeks later.

Just like the evergreen tree of Yule that the Christmas tree is based on it’s inevitable that we continue to grow and change. How gracefully we evolve depends on our ability to review our choices and adapt to our growing awareness. Feminine wisdom traditions encourage us to do this on a cyclic basis in order to fulfil our highest potential.

So if you notice yourself resisting, resenting or questioning the done way of doing traditional celebrations, regardless of what cultural expectation is it – don’t override or dismiss your feelings. Instead reflect whether your existing plans and traditions reflect your true values so you can wholeheartedly embrace what you choose to afford meaning to. It is after all a sign of personal growth that we individuate from our early conditioning and make choices directed by our inner self.

How to Make Your Festive Season More Personally Meaningful

Taking a few moments to reflect upon the relevance of our festive plans motivates us to consider our authentic needs and respond accordingly. This is the key to making our holiday season more personally fulfilling so we don’t just go through the motions of religious, family or cultural expectations which feel personally void of meaning. Otherwise we’re likely to feel anxious or depressed an easily triggered by others…not a recipe for a good time.

To do this consider what is most important to you and therefore needs to be marked at this time of year. For example…

Is your deepest need to regroup & reconnect with loved ones, close friends or commune with your extended family?

If so, make it a priority to let your loved ones know how important this is to you. Consider making a request that instead of a physical present you’d prefer some quality time with a special date or a big family picnic, dinner or BBQ.

Do you just need to have some down time & celebrate making it through another year?

If so, focus your end of year celebrations on carving out an opportunity to stop, relax and reflect on what you’d like to do differently in the coming year whilst celebrating the achievements, lessons and milestones of you and your loved ones. This may take the form of a holiday with some journal writing and honest conversations.

Do you feel completely burnt out or unable to resolve the events of the past year in your psyche?

If so, consider paring back any expectations others may have of you by being transparent about where you’re at. Then put your energies into finding a yoga, meditation or detox retreat to start the new year so you can gain some much needed perspective away from your everyday responsibilities.

Are you feeling a bit disconnected from life or a bit jaded about humanity & the state of the world?

Consider singing carols at a local hospital, storytelling at a local foster home or refugee centre or offering to lend a hand at a local soup kitchen.

Do you feel anxiety about being alone on the festive holi-days of your culture?

If so, be proactive in organizing an ‘orphan’s gathering’…with others who are also potentially at a loose end. I have organized many of these events for Xmas & found them always to be far less stressful & enjoyable than trying to appease family.

Do you feel your nervous system is fried from too much time online and what you most need is time to unplug & just be?

Consider some time way camping as time in nature is the cure when we need to ground, slow down our minds, relax and defrag.   

Do you feel anxiety about being alone on the festive holi-days of your culture?

If so, be proactive in organizing an ‘orphan’s gathering’…with others who are also potentially at a loose end. I have organized many of these events for Xmas & found them always to be far less stressful & enjoyable than trying to appease family.

Perhaps what your soul needs is some form of ritual to commune with the season and process your personal lesson this season?

If you are a member of a church or synagogue then embrace the opportunity to really get involved with the spirit of the season by actively participating in community events to mark Hanukkha or Christmas. The more you focus on the reason you are doing the established rituals the more you will personally gain from them.

Alternatively check out Solstice events in your local area or create your own Solstice ceremony with loved ones & friends. For more info on the lesson of the solstices check out my book, Goddess Wisdom available as an ebook or paperback here

We’re all different so we have different needs. True joy comes from honouring our differences and attending to our authentic needs.

If you’re anything like me, you have multiple needs at this time of year so consider creating a hybrid festive season that ticks a few boxes. For example:

I am packing up my home of 10 years so I’m marking that milestone by hosting my final Christmas lunch there with friends.

Whilst I don’t identify as a Christian or go to church I feel a deep connection with Yeshua & Mari so I toast their embodiment of the sacred masculine & feminine as we charge our glasses to toast our feast.

To address my need for nostalgia I lay a traditional table, play classic carols & we share a festive feast allowing for various dietary requests with everyone contributing dishes that take into account the 7 day weather forecast.

My need to let loose & play is met by including silly games like Celebrity Head (everyone one wears a post it note with the name of a historical figure or celebrity stuck to their forehead) followed by group Pictionary.

Since I’m packing up to become a digital nomad I’ve requested no gifts & am giving away what I no longer need or use instead of spending money.

To appease my inner priestess we’ll each pull an oracle card around the table for the year that was & the coming year. To mark the Summer Solstice I’ll invite everyone to share their greatest accomplishment, lesson & act of service.

One final suggestion for those of you exchanging gifts…consider asking everyone to take it in turns to open each gift so everyone can share the experience of giving & receiving instead of it being an isolated frenzy of opening presents…this way it also lasts longer!.

So however you choose to spend the festive season, do consider all your needs & be true to yourself then you will have something worth celebrating!

If you’re yet to do your Xmas shopping consider my books, CD’s & DVD’s – all of which are available as digital downloads! Click here to view the Xmas catalogue.

I invite you to listen to my podcast episode, Festive Unmentionables for a laugh

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