Christmas time is once again on our doorstep and once again, as crazy driven as ever. People rushing to the stores to get gifts for everyone they care about. Never really having had a lot of money in the family, it helped me stay more in touch with the traditional side of Christmas. Being surrounded by family and friends, in my case as well, with mom being from another tribe, it gave me insight into two different tribe's traditions on this time of year. Every year, mom and I decorate the house together, pulling out the age old ornaments that was passed down to her, adding some of our own as well as some offered to us when I was very young from our friends willing to help when mom was struggling with me as a kid. I like how I can mix out so many traditions.

In the old Makah and Quilleute traditions, this time of year was more a time to celebrate the winter solstice, where Nature took a break to regenerate itself before getting back to life again the following spring: the end of one wheel and the beginning of another. I remember when I was younger being told that our ancestors used to celebrate it with fishing followed in the evening with a bonfire with dancing around it, celebrating the birth of a new cycle. These days, this ancestral traditions is not around as much anymore and leaves it’s place to the more consumption driven life that we have.

People tend to take for granted what they have, think that to please someone we need to have the best (often expensive too) gift for this time of year when all there is to the spirit of the holiday is to be with your family and embrace the fact that they are here with you. Share in the memories that come with those people around. I know that this year, I’m trying to get back more in touch with the spirit of it and be less consumption driven by spending time with the people I care about: my brother and his family, my mom and my pack brothers and friends. The simplest things are the easiest ones to be taken for granted so we should try to stop for a moment and actually enjoy everything that is around us. You never know when something will be taken away.

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Comment by Kellianne McDonald on December 23, 2012 at 11:10am
The best things in life are free and what I love is the warm feeling I get when someone smiles. I give presents just for that reason. Anonymous giving gifts is the best way to do it.

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