So, what have you done recently to prepare yourself to participate in the ritual of giving and receiving that’s happening right now? I would imagine most of us have done some shopping and some planning. The more organized of us have done some wrapping and some baking and the procrastinators are going to do it all on Christmas Eve.

What I’m really wondering about is what have you done to be ready to RECEIVE the gifts your friends and family are so lovingly purchasing and making for you?


My guess is that you haven’t given it even one thought. Most of us don’t, I hadn’t until a couple of days ago. Have you thought about what to say when someone gives you a present? More than the obligatory thank you? Have you paused to ready your heart for the expressions of friendship and love that are coming your way? And by pause I mean made room for them, landing places, pages in your heart where you can treasure and fully absorb the gifts?

When my kids were little I used to clean out the toy box before Christmas to give the new things a place to call home. This is what I’m asking you to consider…have you made room in your house or, more importantly, room in your heart for the expressions of love you will receive? If not, now is the time to clear the clutter in your mind and be ready to say more than the obligatory “thank you”.

Here’s why:

How can the givers give if no one is willing to receive their gifts? The simple answer is, they can’t. When I talk about giving I am not just talking about material things, I am also talking about emotional gifts, spiritual gifts, gifts of time, and gifts of presence (ha!).

Personally, I am much better at giving than receiving. I suppose the reason for that is that giving and receiving have certain connotations for me (and in our culture at large):

*Giving means I’m in my power and receiving means I’m weak.
*Giving means I have abundance but receiving means I am in lack. 
*Giving means I am NOT “the needy” and receiving means I AM “the needy”. 

But I want to put those notions on their head, I don’t really believe those things and I certainly don’t want to live them out. So, here’s the beliefs I’d rather have:

*Receiving is just the other half of giving, the essential other half.
*Receiving means that I get to partake of the wonderful things other people bring into the world that I can’t. 
*The vulnerability of receiving is beautiful and powerful.
*To allow myself (or yourself) to be given to is as much a gift as the gift itself. 
Without receiving there is no real giving (just giving to make us feel better about OURSELVES)

So, spend a few minutes with yourself before you celebrate Christmas and decide what kind of receiver you want to be. Do you want to be polite or do you want to really take in the gift? If you want to really take in the gift how will you act? My suggestion is this:

1. Clear the mental clutter around being deserving of gifts – you are valuable
2. When you receive a gift, material or otherwise, take a few moments to really let the love in. Focus on the person who gave it to you and their intentions. Really “feel” the gift as an exchange.
3. Honor the person who gave you the gift with an expression of thanks from the heart. Tell them how they’ve impacted you.
4. Before you go to bed on Christmas take 5 minutes to really revel in how much you are loved and treasured by all those who gave to you. Keep your mind on the spirit of the giving you received (not an item)

If you follow these steps your Christmas will be an amazing one, I’m sure of it. You will experience the fullness of being a true receiver which has benefits you can use in the year to come. Imagine the power of receiving impacting your daily life…the possibilities are awesome. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you stop giving to others, not at all! What I am suggesting is that you develop your capacity to receive which will make the giving and the givers all that more fun (and meaningful).

Merry Christmas to you, go forth and receive!