Inspired by Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy, I decided to give away something everyday for 40 days in the lead up to Christmas. I hoped this project would allow me to become more giving, considerate and sharing as well as helping me to place less importance on possessions. By doing this I hoped I would also be better prepared for my imminent move overseas, where I planned to leave everything I knew behind me and take only take 30kg of luggage. To maintain motivation and keep track of where I was at, I decided to write down what I gave away each day. I also decided not to limit my gifts to material possessions but to think more broadly about what people would appreciate.
Day 1: I gave my mum two white vases I’d had for a few years. Filled with roses from her garden they perfectly suited her home.
Day 2: I gave an unused DIY gel nail to my desk mate- someone much more feminine and elegant than I, who may actually find time to use it.
Day 3: A colourful summer skirt to another friend from work.
Day 4: I made a photo board with pictures from a winter feast event we had for our soccer club and popped it in the change rooms with our other club photos.
Day 5: Exhausted from working all day at Oktoberfest I hadn’t dug up something material to give, so I gave my also exhausted boyfriend a back massage.
Day 6: I gave a dress and hair curler to my cousin when she came round for a BBQ.
Day 7: A big clean-out resulted in two large bags of clothes and several books being donated to my go-to charity- Vinnies.
Day 8: I gave a bright pink spray jacket to a new friend at work to help her stand out while riding her newly acquired bike.
Day 9: Some football kit to a soccer mate.
Day 10: Some more clothes to Vinnies!
Day 11: I refereed a club soccer game and donated the $30 payment to the club.
Day 12: I gave a bunch of travel books to a work friend to help her plan some future adventures.
Day 13: I tidied up my bathroom cupboards and donated 4 toiletry/makeup bags and some unused products to charity.
Day 14: I gave an Oscar Wilde book to mum, just her sort of humour!
Day 15: Ironically reading Spark Joy helped me relinquish guilt over giving away books I’d never got around to reading. There were Shakespearian plays and other classics that I had felt I “ought to read” but had never made time for and probably wouldn’t- because to be honest, reading Shakespeare just doesn’t do it for me. It felt great piling those books into a bag and carrying them to the closest op shop, hopefully to be picked up by someone who would actually read them.
Day 16: A green swirly dress to a soccer friend.
Day 17: Two of the girls in my office had recently found new rentals, so I picked some flowers from our garden as congratulations/housewarming gifts.
Day 18: I gave some teaching books to another friend in my office.
Day 19: I took some of my most delicious smelling roses from our garden to my Nonna and then drove her around for some errands 🙂
Day 20: After coming back from a last minute trip to Helsinki our garden was overflowing with flowers, so I took a huge bunch to my mum and another for my Nonna when we caught up for dinner.
Day 21: With the crisis in Aleppo worsening I donated $50 to Amnesty International and signed a petition to our government to help the evacuation proceed in the most humane way possible.
Day 22: Nonna was admitted to hospital yesterday. I went to visit her and took my mother home afterwards.. again with more flowers- this time pink roses.
Day 23: I went out for some drinks with mates and as one friend was pretty tight for cash I shouted him a couple of rounds.
Day 24: Christmas Eve. I went through my books again, this time including the spare room and filled a huge re-usable bag to donate. I filled another with books I thought my mother would like and a third for my younger cousin.
Day 25: Christmas. Gift giving is given.
Day 26: I cleaned out my desk and found a bunch of crafting things like marbling paints, homemade paper and wire crafting tools which I gave to my younger cousin.
Day 27: I treated a friend to gold class at the movies.
Day 28: Having now acquired the taste for gold class, I took my cousin to see LaLaLand, complete with decadent hot chocolates.
Day 29: I took some gold eye shadow, glitter and jewellery to a music festival to share with the girls at our camp and get into the NYE spirit.
Day 30: I gave one of my favourite books, Fahrenheit 451 to a friend as congratulations for getting a teaching job.
Day 31: NYE. I gave a glow stick mask to a new friend and we brought the new year in glowing together.
Day 32: Leaving the music festival late in the day, I was appalled at the waste left behind by so many campers. A ridiculous number of new tents and chairs in perfect condition (if a little dirty) just abandoned. So in the spirit of recycling and eliminating waste, I gifted myself a brand new 10 man tent, about 20 camp chairs and some blow up mattresses. They came in pretty handy for our hottest 100 party a few weeks later! As one of the campsites that I took most of the goods from was a filthy mess I spent some time cleaning up their rubbish as payment.
Day 33: I gave my boyfriend’s sister a little terracotta pot filled with succulents I’d planted.
Day 34: Vacuuming and cleaning my Dad’s car after he lent it to me, I left him a bunch of CDs to increase his listening library.
Day 35: I gave a travel book on India to my step-mum as she’s travelling there soon.
Day 36: My best mate and some family came over to swim and kayak so I made a big lunch for everyone.
Day 37: I gave my mum some little vases on a string that I knew she liked.
Day 38: I went in to see my Nonna at the hospital before work and took her some lovely orange roses from our garden.
Day 39: I gave a big physiology and anatomy text book to a soccer friend.
Day 40: I wrapped a festive ribbon around a cute pot filled with succulents and gave it to my boyfriend’s mum.
While many of these gifts turned out to be non-material possessions, I feel the practice of consciously giving something to someone else every day for over a month helped me to become more generous and thoughtful, as well as breaking down my bond to ‘stuff’.