But finally, the last gift has been received so I can share this post with you now.
What a wonderful time I had selecting gifts and people to send them to!
Below is a little bit about each gift, who I sent it to and why.
The gift of The Christmas Tree that started it all! You can read Part 1 of this post here http://www.theyearofmore.com/blog/have-you-ever-given-away-something-youve-absolutely-loved-part-1 to find out who the Christmas Tree is now living with.
Harry is a panda bear (you can’t use the word S T U F F E D in front of him) who was given to me by my flat-mates in London for my 22nd Birthday Joy Day, and I have loved him ever since.
I named him Harry as he was born in Harrods, and he’s very proud of that fact I might add. He may be 25 years old this year but he’s very young at heart. I dropped him off in a giant Christmas Bag to the door of my friend Debbie who absolutely adores pandas. I just knew she would love him as much as I do. I wrote a letter asking Deb to take good care of him and mentioned that he’s housetrained, enjoys watching chick flicks (although he may not admit to it) and that he absolutely loves giving and receiving cuddles.
When I bought The Tree House almost two years ago, I hunted high and low for a Fabulous Chair for my Rather Large Bedroom but I couldn’t find anything I loved. So I ‘settled’ for this cute little red couch. It really wasn’t what I wanted but I did the impulsive thing and bought it anyway. I had been thinking of selling it but when I decided to do The Twelve Days of Karen-Joy-Mas, I thought it would be way more fun to give it away.
I rang my contact at IFYS again (see previous post) and asked if she knew any families who could use a Little Red Couch and once again I got goosebumps as she explained a single mum had just moved into a unit which was quite small, so they had been looking for a teeny tiny couch for her. Synchronicity is such a beautiful thing.
Selling Little Red Couch would never have given me goosebumps.
So although this gift wasn’t something I loved, it did cost quite a bit of money so giving it away was a lesson in making sure I truly do love something before I spend lots and lots of money on it.
I met my beautiful friend Michelle in London more than 25 years ago (she is one of the friends who gave me Harry!) and she crept into my heart very very quickly. We lost contact for a long time until we reconnected on Facebook a few years ago. We may not see each other (she lives in New Zealand) but we ‘get’ each other, which is so very precious. I chose to send her this pendant because she sometimes doubts how truly magnificent she is (as we all do at times) so I wanted to give her something as beautiful as she is.
I also made her two ‘mixed tapes’, which she said her and her boys danced to in her living room the night her Letterbox Joy arrived! Picturing the joy in that living room brought the hugest smile to my face and heart.
I bought this pink top more than ten years ago but I haven’t worn it for at least the last five years. And yet every time I have a wardrobe declutter, I can never bring myself to fold up its delicate material to give it away. I’m not quite sure why. Perhaps it reminds me of when my arms were slightly less flabby. Or perhaps I Had The Most Amazing Amount of Fun wearing it one night and my subconscious doesn’t want to let go of it.
So let go of it I did. Because that was the purpose of this little adventure. A grand lesson in non-attachment. And the first person I thought of when I held the top in my hands, was my gorgeous friend Jeannie. I wasn’t sure it would fit her as she’s absolutely tiny but she assures me it did! And I know it will look fabulous on her. You’ll have to bring it to this year’s Girl’s Weekend Jeannie :)
My beloved elephant ring, which cost only $30, was the hardest of all twelve gifts to part with. I bought this ring just before I went to Africa in 2007 and I have worn it almost every day since then, including when I volunteered at the Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary in Kenya and then at the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand a few years later. Trust me when I say this little ring has had more contact with elephant poo than most pieces of jewellery ever will! (Mary, I cleaned it thoroughly before sending it to you I promise!).
I loved wearing it every day as it reminded me of the amazingly unique experiences I’d had on those two trips overseas. Being around elephants makes my heart truly sing. I adore absolutely everything about them. Yes, even their poo!
Who I would give this special ring to was a no-brainer because when I was in Tanzania, a lovely young Irish lass named Mary commented how much she liked the ring so I said I would send her one. But when I went back to the silver shop I’d bought it from, they no longer sold them. I hunted high and low for other elephant rings but none of them were as gorgeous as this one, with its little elephant family etched into the silver.
Before I left Tanzania Mary had given me a lovely pink scarf and I always felt bad that I had never sent her a ring. So this gift is definitely a case of ‘better late than never’! And I love that it has so much meaning behind it. She wrote a note saying she couldn’t believe I’d remembered the conversation we’d had all those years ago. It must be true that elephants never forget.
I don’t drink coffee and I very rarely drink tea (I know, I realise I’m definitely in the minority!) but I saw this Very Cute Teapot and Teeny Tiny Cups and I couldn’t resist buying them. Yes, even though I knew I probably wouldn’t use them very much.
Are you beginning to see why I felt the need to do The Year of More??
I just love knowing these will be used by dear friends who might think of me occasionally when they enjoy a cup of their favourite tea.
I bought these cute bears during my trip to Canada in 2001. They were clearly born to live in Queensland!
As you can see, they have fitted in rather nicely at Janice and Graeme’s house. The scarecrow could be Canadian but I’m not sure. Oh, the Scarecrow was from Kansas wasn’t he?! Perhaps he followed the Yellow Brick Road a little bit too far...
I fell in love with this Gorgeous Dress the moment I saw it in a quirky dress shop in Brisbane a couple of years ago. And I just had to buy it. I bought it to wear to the wedding of my lovely friends Leina and Holly and as I can no longer squeeze into the cherry-covered material, I decided to send it to one of the brides as I knew she’d love it. As it turned out, she loved it so much she already had the same dress!! So she asked if she could gift the dress to her sister as she knew she would cherish it and of course I said yes. I told Leina that I knew if I sent The Dress to her, it would find The Wardrobe It Belongs In and it did!
I bought this pendant a few years ago as a birthday present to myself because I adored the beautiful words on it. It was quite expensive but I truly loved it so I didn’t mind spending the money on it.
I sent the pendant to one of the most amazing people I’ve ever known - my friend Ann in Melbourne. She is always there for me. Always. And my wish is that she will always drift happily filled with light and love because she brings so much light and love to the lives of those around her.
This was My Gift of Love and Creativity! I had a little kernel of an idea to make a simple little book for my friend Lynda as I wanted to remind her Just How Loved She Is and Just How Amazing She Is. And I got a bit carried away and my little book ended up turning into A Fabulously Large and Fun craft project which kept me occupied for days! The Book of Lovely Lynda was fifty pages of love and friendship and I had the loveliest time putting it together. And watching her open it and look through its pages was the greatest gift for me.
My very last Karen-Joy-Mas gift was something very precious. My time.
On Christmas Day I spent five and a half hours volunteering at a huge community lunch on the Sunshine Coast. It was a simply wonderful way to celebrate Christmas. I didn’t know anyone there but I met some absolutely lovely people (one of whom I have kept in contact with) and we had The Best Time setting everything up with love and joy, so that the 500 people attending would have a beautiful Christmas Day.
There was a Slip and Slide which was definitely a winner on a very hot day and one of my volunteer roles was to monitor the Jumping Castle and the briefing we received was simply ‘to make sure kids don’t kill each other’… err, okay, I can do that!
Money doesn’t have a life or a heart.
It doesn’t dance in a living room.
Or drink tea.
Or give big furry cuddles.
We need it to survive and to enjoy life but imagine if everyone re-gifted a few Things of Joy rather than buying New Things? We’d save money, we’d help the environment and eventually we’d truly understand that the gift is really in the love with which it’s given, and not the gift itself.
There's a difference between re-gifting something you don't like or that didn't cost much and selecting something you love or value and giving it away. It's challenging. But the person who receives it, knows how much love comes with it so they appreciate it that much more.
Thanks to those of you who were part of Karen-Joy-Mas - it was so lovely sharing in your reactions and I just adore that The Year of More keeps providing me with opportunities to create more joy, not only for me but also for other people.
I can't believe how excited you all were to be the recipients of secondhand goods!
When I started The Year of More in March 2014, I knew this experience was going to be wonderful but I had no idea just how wonderful it would be. And how much it would have a positive impact on my life. It has been truly life changing in so many different ways.
And I will be finishing The Year of More in March with a huge bang! More about that next time lovely peeps. (But no, I'm not going to do an Oprah and give my car away or anything!).
‘It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.’ Mother Teresa