- LIVING FOR FREE and GIVING
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Updated 22 September 2017
Welcome to The Spirit of Christmas
In 2008 Dennis Stevenson opened his leased Brisbane house and gave everything away. You may have seen it on TV 9's Today show with Karl and Lisa. Dennis uses his life to help people without charge. He says "If you need a hand, I've got two".
Next he got a free stand at the organic market in Brisbane and later on, the Gold Coast, where he gives away free books, free pets (soft toys) and free life consultations.
In 2009, Dennis borrowed an empty Gold Coast shop a week before christmas, called it 'Spirit of Christmas' and with community involvement and no cost, gave away thousands of new presents to help see no one went without. In 2012, in his fourth shop, he gave away over 11,000 presents. In 2013, 2014 and 2015 others opened shops in Victoria and Queensland. In 2016, Dennis opened his first NSW shop, in Ocean Shores.
Madonna King on ABC radio at the 2011 Happiness Conference panel asked Dennis if he was still rich (see 'In the Media' interview). He said, “I have wealth beyond belief… but if you're talking about money, that's another matter.” This raised some chuckles.
Dennis is a business and marketing consultant, motivational speaker, community trainer and life coach. Though he has no income, government benefits, home, vehicle, assets or savings, to live his belief, Dennis doesn’t charge anyone – for anything. This includes his talks, workshops and professional consultations. He enjoys the idea of helping create communities with a gift economy, freely helping and sharing with each other without ever creating an obligation or requirement for anyone to give back.
In discussing how the free shops are possible, Dennis thanked the wonderful people who loaned shops, gave free insurance; juice for helpers; superb signs; mowed lawns and took great photographs. He said that the shop volunteers, the people who brought in thousands of presents, the lovely folk who create and host this free website and the very generous people in the media are all superb examples of love in action. He says, "I wish everyone could see the joy of people who take their gifts."
Let's keep the spirit of Christmas alive with love in our hearts throughout 2017.
Christmas shops since 2009:
|2009 Burleigh Gold Coast, Queensland|
|2010 Nundah, Brisbane, Qld Australia|
|2011 Clayfield, Brisbane|
|2012 Norman Park, Brisbane|
2013 Wangaratta, Nth Victoria
2014 Coolum, Sunshine Coast, Queensland
and again in Wangaratta, Victoria.
2015 Shops are again in Coolum, Sunshine
Coast, Qld and Wangaratta in Victoria.
2016 Shop was in Ocean Shores, NSW.
Live Brisbane Broadcast 96.5 FM
96.5 FM did a direct broadcast from the Spirit of Christmas shop from 3pm to 6pm. What a wonderful team! Many people who visited our shop say they heard about it on 96.5 FM.
This is how Dennis does it. So can you for Christmas 2017.
- Gather some friends to enjoy a special event in your life. Perhaps three to six generous, reliable people. Read the ideas and pictures on this site. Meet up and each choose a task you enjoy. Write out some simple steps.
- Find and borrow an empty shop with parking. Call it "Spirit of Christmas (your city)". Open for a week or so before Christmas. Include the day of Christmas Eve if you can.
- People are very helpful. Borrow tables, covers, stands, mirror etc.
- Get free Public Liability insurance (if required).
- Ask local businesses to donate cleaning for windows and floors, and shop signs.
- Collect new gifts (or anything that looks absolutely brand new). It's best to ask families, not companies. The shops are a community activity and businesses do more than enough already. Please, nothing 'second hand'. It's a gift shop, not an Op Shop. People need to be able to wrap their presents as new Christmas presents. Fill the shop ready for your grand opening.
- Tell everyone. Write a News Release. When the lovely folk on TV, radio, papers, groups and clubs hear of your shop, they'll tell everyone and do what they can to help. People will bring in loads of new gifts and, together, we'll bring the true Spirit of Christmas alive.