Skip to content

To give and receive

After many years as an expat living in different countries, I still find Christmas a bit challenging at times. Growing up in Sweden with plenty of snow and candles, I have a very clear idea of what Christmas should be. Living in Australia and celebrating Christmas in the middle of summer with beach and barbecue has certainly turned that around!

Today I wanted to touch on the concept of giving and receiving. With some inspiration from my post on connecting with family, there is many things we can do to give and receive at Christmas time, regardless of where we are, how long we have been there or who we might be missing.

  1. Gratitude – the best antidote of sadness and loneliness. Make a list of all the people and things you are grateful for in your life. Big or small – add anything you want! When you’ve done your list, make sure to connect with some of those people on your list and make sure that you’ve told them how special they are to you.
  2. Homesickness – address it (read my post specifically on this here) and allow yourself to enjoy where you are now. Things change and sometimes we can need this help to release sadness and move on to what we really want.
  3. Give from your heart at the best of your ability. I’m a firm believer that it’s the thought that counts, not just the money spent. Some years I’ve sent Christmas gifts back home, but sometimes I just send Christmas cards with a special wish to my loved ones. Most of us have more than we need, whereas love is something that is light as a feather and powerful beyond most things. Sometimes I’ve send flower deliveries or similar things, which is something quite simple to organise even though you are overseas. The best gift to most people is actually a personal letter or phone call!
  4. Give because you want to, not because you expect something in return. A gift should never be conditional. You give to give, not to get something specific back. If you can’t afford to give a lot, just give what you can. And make sure that what you give (time, love, things, money) is given from you with love and gratitude.
  5. Receive anything from a space of gratitude as well. If someone (from near or far) gives you something, just accept and receive it. If you wanted something different, just decide to put any disappointment aside and trust that this person gave this to your from the best of their ability. Gifts from people say a lot more about their ability and willingness to give, rather than it being a reflection on your relationship.

So many of my friends and clients struggle to be away from loved ones, especially at Christmas time. Remember that you are not alone in this, many other people share these feelings. Focus on gratitude and sharing love and compassion this Christmas and beyond. When we feel grateful for what we have, it opens up a lot more doors than we think!