A Global Celebration of Peace, Love and Hope
Note: This post also includes a a small dose of “Hey let’s embrace other cultures, and learn to respect each other’, which I think we could all do a better job of, along with affiliate links for Etsy listings. So let’s learn while we shop?
The holiday season fast approaches, Canadian Thanksgiving long gone, Remembrance Day poppies have been laid to rest, and familiar lights are being hung around town. This year has been life changing for many, and I wanted to be sure I recognized that December and “Happy Holidays” isn’t just about Christmas. Canada is a gorgeous land, filled with all kinds of diverse people from different background and cultures. So when I thought of creating holiday gift guide for this year, I wanted to be sure I recognized as many of the Holidays as possible.
Coming up in December are Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Pancha Ganapati, Rohatsu (Bodhi Day) Solstice, and Ōmisoka, to name a few. Now while not everyone gives gifts as part of their celebrations, it has become its own tradition, for those of us who create blog posts, to provide you with a gift giving guide for the holiday season. This year I am hoping to continue with my own tradition of giving gifts that give back, support small, and/or help to spread what I believe to be the spirit of the season (peace, hope and love). So let me spread a little love, and hopefully a little inspiration with these items from Etsy Makers, from around the world.
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First up is my Gifts for the Soul guide. This one is for those looking to embrace the peace, find quiet, reflect, meditate, and practice mindfulness. I think that any of the items found here would be especially great gift ideas for those celebrating the Solstice, Bodhi Day, Pancha Ganapati, or Ōmisoka. The list includes items like candles, yoga matts, essential oils, pillows, and more. Hopefully this list will help you celebrate your inner light, and bring a little much needed brightness into your home.
Hanukkah / Chanukah
[November 28 – December 6 2021]
Also known as the Festival of Lights, when in an eight-day celebration, the “Maccabees” (as the rebels came to be known) cleansed and rededicated the Temple. According to the Talmud, there was only enough consecrated oil to re-light the candelabra for one day, yet, miraculously, it remained lit for eight days.
Bodhi Day (Rohatsu)
The word Bodhi means ‘awakening’ or ‘enlightenment’. Buddhists celebrate the day that Siddhartha Gautama, founder of Buddhism and known as the Buddha, achieved enlightenment through meditation. Many believe that Siddhartha resolved to sit underneath a Bodhi tree and meditate until he found the root of suffering and how to free himself from it.
December 21 2021
The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, so it also marks the start of longer days to come. Because of that, it’s a time to celebrate and look forward to the return of more light, and to honour our natural connection to the natural world.
December 21 – December 25
Pancha Ganapati, a five-day festival celebrated from December 21 through 25, is a Hindu festival in celebration of Lord Ganesha, Patron of Arts and Guardian of Culture. During each of the five days of Pancha Ganapati, a special sadhana, spiritual discipline, is focused upon by the entire family.
December 24 – 26
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, who in Christianity is the son of God, and was sent as a symbol of peace and love on earth.
My Christmas Gift Guide has gifts that are great for any friend or family member, and essentials like ornaments and cards. I tried to keep this list a little more local (Canadian made) and be sure it included some unique finds.
Photo by Askar Abay from Pexels
December 26 – January 1
Kwanzaa is an annual celebration of African-American culture that is held from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a communal feast called Karamu, usually held on the 6th day. Seven principles of Kwanzaa are; Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith).
My Kwanzaa Gift Guide includes some classics, ornaments, décor, adorable baby onesies, greeting cards, and more. I kept this guide fairly basic, and included links to some essentials, a kinara, candles, ornaments and décor, but if you take some time to use the Etsy search tool, you’ll find so many more amazing makers in Canada, and across the globe crafting Kwanzaa items to help you celebrate each of the seven principles and rich traditions.
We finish out 2021 with a day of celebrations that say goodbye to the 364 days that passed us by. Peace-out to all the gritty dirty sad stuff like COVID, quarantine, Trump, Natural Disasters and more. And we look forward to the bright shiny new year ahead, 2022. It’s gotta be better than the last two years, right?
New Year’s Day is the most important day of the year in Japanese tradition, and therefore New Year’s Eve – omisoka – is spent doing a thorough clean of the house, taking a long bath to clean oneself, and making sure one has clean clothes to wear in order to bring in the New Year in a fresh, clean state, not just in body, but in mind as well.