What is your gift?

Here are more musings from the December 2009 edition of Design Notes

For this month’s Design Notes, I wondered if it was possible to have conversations at this time of year that went a bit deeper than “surviving the silly season” or “coping with Christmas”.

What can this season, this time of year, teach us about our lives? What values does it celebrate – or throw into conflict? What cultural expectations do we unconsciously subscribe to that bring us unstuck because they go against our personal values? Mass consumption anyone? Presumption of religious affiliation? Presumption of family or loved ones to share the season with?

A north American study found that 45% of people surveyed dread the festive season. It’s a time when many people reflect on their lives – and don’t like what they see. For some, it’s a reminder of loved ones lost. For others, it’s a reminder that there is no one to love or be loved by.

So what gifts could we give that will truly help share the love, peace, joy and goodwill that we espouse?

Does a gift have to be a material object? Can it be your time, your attention, your ears, your heart?

This article first appeared in Design Notes, the newsletter of the Work/Life Design Program. You can find out more about Design Notes and the WLD Program at www.worklifedesign.com.au