But I am exceptionally good at Giving Things Away!
After the Brisbane floods in January 2011, I gave away most of my furniture. I had just moved into my little beach house at Scarborough and I still had a house full of furniture I’d bought with my ex-husband a gazillion years before, so I thought it was definitely time for Some New Stuff.
Sadly, the floods left thousands of people in South East Queensland without their worldly possessions so I was able to donate my goods and chattels to those who needed them most. If there is a time to assess how much stuff you have in your life, it’s when others have lost Every Item They Own.
It really puts in perspective just how many things we have in our lives doesn't it?
So it kind of made sense that The Year of More might involve a fair amount of Giving Away Things as I seek to declutter my life – both emotionally and physically.
I have donated Quite a Lot of Bags of clothes, linen, CDs, DVDs and books to charity over the last few weeks…
So I rang my lovely contact at IFYS (Integrated Family & Youth Services) in Maroochydore to ask if she knew of anyone who might like to Adopt a Christmas Tree and she had been working with a young family who had been homeless for quite some time and they had just moved into a unit. When she said their young boy had never had a Christmas tree, I got goosebumps and knew I had found the right family.
And Christmas Tree, well he was rustling away with excitement in his box that’s for sure!
As it would be wrong to give away a naked tree, I also donated a box of some of the gorgeous decorations I’ve collected over the years.
I must admit I found it difficult to part with some of the items I chose.
But that was the whole idea.
To challenge myself.
Because I’m not sure I’ve actually ever given away anything I’ve loved before.
I’ve bought gifts that I’ve adored (and just quietly, would have been happy to keep for myself rather than giving them as presents!). But I’m not sure I’ve ever given away something I absolutely love and highly value. And not necessarily because it’s worth a lot of money but because it has special meaning or memories attached to it.
One of the items I gave away only cost $30 but it was the hardest of all twelve to part with.
As some of the items are still in transit I’m not going to share what they were until I know they’ve all been received as I don’t want to spoil anyone's surprise.
Besides, a couple haven’t yet been sent – it appears my ‘twelve days in the lead up to Christmas’ may be a bit of a stretch so perhaps ‘twelve days around about Christmas and New Year’ may be more apt!
Although I can tell you that Karen-Joy-Mas Gift No. 12 was Giving My Time. Which is what I did today. I'll share more about that lovely experience in Part 2 of this Blog post.
One of the most wonderful things about Karen-Joy-Mas was thinking about who to send what to. Some of them were obvious but other things I simply sat with until a person’s face came to mind and some, like the Christmas Tree, went to random strangers.
As I was surveying My Worldly Possessions, I thought about the things I couldn't possibly ever give away.
My Very First Teddy Bear...
In an entire house full of things.
Because most of them are Just Things. Things we use, things we love, things we value, but at the end of the day, they really are just things.
As I also adore Giving Away Words, here’s a little story I wrote a couple of years ago from the perspective of a Christmas Tree (be warned, he’s a grumpy little thing!).
‘Oh Christmas Tree.
You’ve got no idea what it’s like to only be used for a week or two each year, no idea!
I would give anything to be an ‘every day’ tree, one who gets to be there for every family occasion and not just at Christmas time when, let’s face it, they’re all tired, stressed and have quite obviously been hit with the crazy stick. And the kids! They don’t even notice me; they notice the shiny round ornaments that hang off my branches and the brightly wrapped packages beneath me but they don’t really see me.
Imagine being there, but feeling as though you’re never actually seen?
And every Christmas I get grumpier and grumpier and feel less and less like standing tall and proud. I can’t actually remember the last Christmas I felt jolly and joyfully bounded out of my prison of a cardboard box into the living room.
The other gripe I have is that it’s all about Santa Claus. What people don’t realise is that he has a tribe of elves doing all his work for him! Yes, I know you’ve heard of Santa’s elves but I don’t think you understand just how much they DO. Everything! Absolutely everything! Santa’s gotten so huge these days (and I’m not referring to his public adoration!) that his doctor often confines him to complete bed rest around Christmas because it’s 'such a stressful time of the year'! Bah humbug, I’ll give him stressful! Try being a tree with abandonment issues and a fear of the dark who is squashed into a cupboard for fifty weeks of the year!
And don't get me started on that show-offy angel that steals all the limelight! What a pretentious gadabout she is, prancing about like she’s Queen of the World. If it weren't for me she'd be nothing. N O T H I N G!!!!
Oh how I wish I were one of the Christmas trees of yesteryear that were elegantly decorated with candles, nuts and fruit. Now it’s all about unbearably hot lights that make my branches wilt and cheap tinsel. Do you have any idea how ridiculously itchy tinsel is? Growing up, I daydreamed of being the chosen Christmas tree in Piccadilly Circus in London or outside the Rockefeller Centre in New York. They’re the gigs all us self-respecting Christmas trees long for. But no, I’m just like every other run of the mill 6-foot tall tree you buy in a department store. Apparently I’m not unique or special enough to be on display in such a public place. It appears my destiny is to be crammed into a suburban living room with no ventilation and barely any possibility of ever being seen by anyone who might actually appreciate my natural beauty.
Okay, okay, I know I’m an artificial tree but I do look about as natural as they get these days. I’m not one of those fibre-optic trees that come in all sorts of colours – what a load of hogwash!
Trees are green. End of story.'
Hope you’ve had yourself a Merry Little Christmas lovely peeps. If you don’t have an item you adore to give away this Christmas, just give away your love as that’s the most precious gift of all.
I'll be back with Part 2 very very soon!
‘Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.’ Lao-Tzu