Our Freecomonomy Community at Christmas

I hope you all had a great Christmas πŸ™‚

Ours was different this year, suddenly hectic and not at all what we planned but was great.

Some of you know I started a Freecomony page on Facebook for our town earlier this year after reading a book I very much enjoyed by Mark Boyle, The Moneyless Man (here’s a post I wrote about it then). While I don’t aspire to living a moneyless life as he did I liked alot of what he had to say, in particular how the Freeconomy Community he started in his city was so successful. I like the pay-it-forward system of receiving what you need and providing what others need if you can at a later date, I like his anti-consumerism message of waste and poverty and his environmental ideals. Anyway I started this page which plodded along for months with nearly 130 people sharing, giving, receiving…but not in any big way, just quietly and slowly but I enjoyed watching people using it.

I had told a work colleague about it and she had said she would bring stuff in to me rather than take it to op shops. The last few months she had been trying to sell her house and had cleared stuff out for a garage sale, when it sold suddenly on the proviso they move out in two weeks she didn’t have time for the garage sale and asked me if I wanted the stuff for my page. Yep, I did. When I went to look at it there was 2 car loads and Roger’s truck full and I almost actually told her to ring an op shop to come and pick it up as we were so busy working and I was trying to get to the Christmas markets with my soaps. But, there were all these toys, beautiful ones….a pretty pink bike, 3 scooters, roller blades, PS 2 games, musical instruments, heaps of other toys, kids clothing and books and household stuff. It was 2 weeks before Christmas and we knew some people would not be able to afford toys so we took everything. Our lounge and dining room were full. I didn’t put them on the page but asked those who truly were struggling this year to message me with their kids sexes and ages. There were heaps who said there kids were not getting presents this year. I did our things but so did many of the other woman and it took off, 140 new people joined the page…those needing and those giving. My daughter in law came on board to help and my son, at 9 pm on Christmas Eve after putting out a plea for a donation of a PS 2 consul to go with all these games and a singstar, was given one by a lovely family who also gave a large box of wrapped presents for the family of 6 kids it was going to who had no pressies. Β In the midst of this one young Mum, one of the first to reply to me privately had a fire in her kitchen that next night and spent three days in a caravan park with her 3 kids before being rehomed…we and others helped her with things. I saw so much generosity it truly made my heart sing and I had the best Christmas I have had in ages!! I have often said I never really enjoyed Christmas in the past but this year was truly special. It was great πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ The garden did not get done, my soaps never made it to the markets, our house was turned upside down, I had to fit everything around working but it was such a humbling and rewarding experience I have plans to do better for next year!

In contrast our Christmas Day was relaxed, very casual and we slept alot of it πŸ™‚ The kids came for lunch or dinner but these were easy meals and we slept all afternoon. It is so hot here most Christmas Days that traditional lunches went out years ago and cold meats and salads are about as fancy as we get here. We got lots of chockies and wine and ate too much. One of my boys who is always told not to spend much (but never listens) bought us a swing seat that folds down to a double hammock….that is going to be a most well used piece of outdoor furniture!

Roger spent the 3 weeks prior to Christmas working at the local school helping to strip out and earthquake proof some of the rooms (the builders he works for were doing it). In the pile of stuff being thrown out was this large cubby hole unit, it was Β painted with bright red, very ugly chipped and battered enamel paint. This was my present from him, lugged home, stripped down, sanded back and polished, I absolutely love it.

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We will be spending this week catching up, yet again, on the garden! Have a happy New Year all xx

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31 thoughts on “Our Freecomonomy Community at Christmas

  1. That cubby hole unit is absolutely scrumptious and I LOVE your Christmas choices. What an amazing thing to help other people and in so doing, discover the real spirit and joy of Christmas giving all over again :). I bet you made some people incredibly happy Wendy and you deserved that sleep on Christmas Day :). Enjoy your time out in your garden. We are out there in our garden too πŸ™‚

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    • Hi Fran πŸ™‚ The unit has cubby holes on both sides and isn’t it scrumptious, he intended it for my soap stuff but way too nice to be hidden down there.

      I was buzzing on Christmas Day and that’s the first time for years that I have felt some Christmas spirit Fran. I always enjoy catching up with people and that side of it, but the whole Christmas thing had become pretty blah for me – this was great!

      We have lots to do! Though keeping up with harvesting, our weeds are plenty.

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      • Don’t think of them as weeds, think of them as your little soil ammeliorates and make weed tea πŸ˜‰ Glad you got that Christmas buzz back and here’s to many more Christmases of sharing and helping others find happiness. What a wonderful thing! πŸ™‚ Just making new garden beds here at the moment and planting out more seedlings. That cubby hole is entirely delicious and it would have been a travesty to hide it full of soap. You did the right thing to commandeer it for “good” πŸ™‚

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      • Yes, here’s to many more πŸ™‚

        Roger has spent the last couple of days ripping out the second half of our rock garden to extends our herbs which has been the plan for over a year so good to get than done. Loving the sunny days but man, it’s been hot!

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      • Just starting to heat up here. Yesterday was pretty warm. Funny how it starts to heat up when we want to get out into the garden eh? πŸ˜‰ I am eyeing off the area next to Sanctuary (twice the size of Sanctuary) for a new garden but Steve is studiously ignoring me (so far) πŸ˜‰

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      • We have had stinkin days here, impossible in the heat of the day to garden – good siesta times πŸ™‚

        Poor Steve lol. Nice to see you have got over your hurdle of “I don’t know what to do” Fran πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Clearly a temporary mindset!

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      • Yup…now I have SO much to do I am twitching πŸ™‚ This coming year is going to be my “put everything you have been learning into practice” year so watch this space, there are going to be some serious gardening “events” going on in the immediate future πŸ™‚

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  2. Oh Wendy! This just makes my heart sing! I thought I had been doing some quiet good, choosing to donate my excess goods to ‘Restore’ – but here you are turning your entire life over to helping those who need the help. What a wonderful Christmas gift you and the recipients have been given! I love your warm heart and your activity – you are such an inspiration! You just experienced the real meaning of Christmas, which explains why you felt a bit ‘blah!’ about it before πŸ™‚

    Hasn’t it been hot! It’s even hot down here πŸ™‚ A real summer at last, the first one since I left the North Island 11 years ago. I am so enjoying it. xoxo

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    • Hi Pauline πŸ™‚ I loved Christmas when my kids were younger, even though there were some that were pretty basic because of lack of money, it always has been about the children for me. This was about the kids, about parents feeling bad and about mothers who are doing ok taking the time in a hectic season to care about the wellbeing of others’ families. I loved seeing it. Generosity can also be abused by a small minority and I did see that too unfortunately 😦 The next thing will be trying to help a small few find school uniforms which won’t be as easy.

      It’s been way too hot for me….I wish I could say I melt a little but unfortunately I don’t, I just fizzle and fade but the mornings and evenings are lovely. xxxx

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      • There will always be those who steal others good will and generosity Wendy – but don’t let them steal your spirit too. They are walking their path and it is a hard one filled with lack and unhappiness. Your gifts are their opportunities for redemption – the choice is theirs.

        You may be surprised by the outcome of the search for school uniforms. xoxo

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  3. OH MY!!!! what a kind person you are:-) That is amazing:-) It all sounds exhausting but so well worth every minute– you crawled to bed at night-exahausted! The good kind of exhuastion-I have no doubt. I was exhausted reading all that you did but what a great community project. I bet you met some new friends:-) Just beautiful….
    We had a lovely Christmas but as you, ATE TOO MUCH-lol
    It takes me several weeks to feel like wanting to eat again…why do we stuff ourselves—so much fun! And New Years is another night to do it…
    HAPPY NEW YEAR….and wish you and yours all the best:-)

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    • Hi Robbie πŸ™‚ Truly worth every minute…well, most of it! I was really tired but excited at the same time so it felt a bit odd to me lol

      I don’t know why we do it but there has to be one day a year when you just don’t care and can eat what you want and it’s hard not to want chocolates, Christmas puddings, cream, nice cheeses etc etc. Naughty but nice!

      Happy New Year to you too Robbie and all your family. I hope it is a great one for you.

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  4. RT says:

    Service, love, and kindness – that is always what makes Christmas special. I’m happy for you to have had that kind of a Christmas this year! You did a lovely job on that cubby – I have always admired the way you and Roger turn “junk” into something beautiful. – Robin

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    • Hi there πŸ™‚ I always felt a need to do more for people at Christmas but other than putting these in food and toy collections I didn’t really know what else to do. This really was wonderful!

      Thank you, this has to be one of the nicest things we own, lol, I love it. Full of our $1 treasures and some old bits of Roger’s Dad’s on top it looks rather nice!

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  5. Wendy, that’s the best Christmas story I’ve read this year! What a wonderful thing to do and I’m glad it made you feel ‘Christmassy’! Love that cubby, too. And so nice about the swing/hammock; now you can get into the garden early and nap through the hot times, but outdoors. So perfect! I’m glad you had such a special holiday; you two deserve it so much! ~ Linne

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  6. I could just feel the joy and contentment oozing out of your blog post πŸ™‚ How wonderful to be able to help out those families at Christmas, you must feel like Mr and Mrs Claus. We have Freecycle over here and it is great to both give and receive very useable stuff, instead of throwing it out. People even advertise things they see on curb side pickups, that they don’t need but want someone to have because it is too good to throw out. Have a wonderful New Years x

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    • I really did enjoy my Christmas so much more this year but it made it very busy lol.
      I wish we had a Freecycle here but there isn’t. I thought about starting one a couple of years ago but didn’t. I think that’s great people will pick up stuff for others, that’s pretty cool.
      You too, have a great New Years πŸ™‚ xx

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  7. Wow.. what a beautiful and wonderful Gift you helped give to others this Christmas Wendy.. You are an angel .. And so many to benefit from your efforts .. I love the unit your Hubby recycled and made like new.. love it..
    Sounds as if your Christmas has been full on and different.. but you captured the whole meaning of Christmas.. so love you for that Wendy..

    Wishing you a wonderful and a Happy New Year to you.. See you next year .. love to you xxx Sue xxx

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  8. All I can say is WOW! You have described what the true meaning of Christmas is all about. St. Nicholas originally wanted to give some small gifts to the poor. Somehow we’ve turned it into a gimme holiday. Gimme this and gimme that. I have not wanted a gift in years. I keep looking for ways to change the holiday into what you have just done. You have a huge heart and my guess you is you received more from the giving than you ever received from the getting.

    I think we are all extra fatigued at this time of year. You from long, hot days and holiday demands, us from cold, dark days and holiday expectations of ourselves. Rest is imperative now.

    I’m going to read this again to see if I can fully grasp the concept by which you found and exchanged goods to those in need. Have a wonderful New Year.

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    • Hi Marlene πŸ™‚ I received far more from the giving and got great experiences from it that I couldn’t have got any other way. I am not saying there weren’t stressors and things that I didn’t like, human nature is human nature but it was all about the kids who are the innocents in this world, it wasn’t about who some of the parents are (did have to remind myself of that a few times!)

      I now have 2 weeks off work as the demand there has been too high so I will get my rest, I hope you do also and manage to keep warm. Take care x

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  9. Awesome, you really spent Christmas walking the talk (as we say here). Just the most beautiful thing happens to our hearts when we’ve extending kindness to those in need. Bravo to all involved.

    We drove out of town two days in a row. First, Christmas Eve 100 km east of Edmonton to spend the evening with our old friends and neighbours. An annual tradition we endeavour to maintain. Then Christmas day 225 km west of Edmonton to spend it with my husbands ‘closer than family’ family. Arriving home boxing day had me plum worn out. But we did enjoy everyones company and there’s plenty of love and laughter. I think it needs to be spread out next year but I doubt things will change, LOL

    I really fancy your Christmas gift from Roger too. What a sweet guy. I bet it was a lot of work but it looks amazing with all your special things nicely displayed. Not only did he save something from the scrap pile, he put a lot of heart into it. I really admire that. Very dear gifting Roger, Bravo!

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    • Oooh, you have been busy here this morning πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      It’s a funny thing, even though it’s full on and tiring there is always enough energy to do the things we want to do in order to connect with who is important to us. I often think of those times when you get home from work, or wherever, exhausted and just wanting to get dinner over with so you can climb into bed then you get an invite somewhere and if it seems a good idea you have suddenly all the energy in the world lol. Pleasant experiences make you forget the effort involved!! Pleased you managed to spend time with those dear to you πŸ™‚

      Isn’t the cubby lovely?! It was an awful lot of work as the layers of paint were heavy but he did a beautiful job of it and spent every evening before Xmas working on it πŸ™‚

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