I felt this way a few years ago, and when I talked to my friend, Mona, she felt the same way. We decided we didn’t really need any more stuff; what we wanted was to deepen our friendship by doing something that celebrates the meaning of Christmas.
Since Christmas is all about love, we decided to do something for newborns. Mona learned from a local hospital that sometimes parents were taking home their new babies wrapped in newspaper because they didn’t have blankets for them. This story touched us deeply so we decided to donate two layettes to this hospital---one for a boy and one for a girl.
We planned a December evening to shop together, and we had so much fun picking out receiving blankets, baby socks, onesies, baby washcloths, burp cloths, hooded towels, and sleeping sacks. We would hold up each tiny item and imagine them being worn.
After shopping, we went to our favorite restaurant, shared a glass of Markham Merlot, and talked about our lives and our hopes for the upcoming new year. Those times still remain some of my best Christmas memories.
When I was doing some research about relationships, I was surprised to learn that there is science that explains why this type of giving is so satisfying to women.
When we talk to one another and share our feelings and secrets, it activates the pleasure centers in our brains. We actually get rushes of dopamine (a neurochemical that stimulates our brain’s pleasure centers) and oxytocin (a bonding hormone). According to Dr. Louann Brizendine, author of The Female Brain, it’s “the biggest, fattest neurological reward you can get outside of orgasm.”
When you give and give, especially during the holidays, your supplies of dopamine and oxytocin diminish. The good news is that you can replenish them by doing things you enjoy; by meeting and talking with friends, you can deepen your friendship and your supply of oxytocin.
Deciding whether an activity will produce oxytocin or not is very simple. Just ask yourself, “Do I want to do this, or do I feel I must do this?” If it’s a “want to,” then the activity is going to help build your oxytocin supply. Things like getting your hair or nails done, getting a massage, leisurely shopping, or doing anything that you feel like doing will accomplish this goal. If you share it with a friend, then you can give one another this valuable gift.
Kahlil Gibran wrote the following on friendship. I took the liberty of changing his choice of the pronoun he to she for the purpose of this article. (I don’t think Gibran will mind since his writing is all about love.)
And let your best be for your friend.
If she must know the ebb of your tide, let her know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek her with hours to kill?
Seek her always with hours to live.
For it is hers to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
Your friend is your needs answered.
If the idea of sharing time with your friend this holiday appeals to you, we have a card for that. Just click on this link http://wp.me/P4VYjQ-Wd and receive this free holiday card that invites your friend to share time with you.
We wish you love, luck, laughter, and lots of the little “o” this holiday season!