- LIVING FOR FREE and GIVING
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Updated 12 August 2018
Ten years ago (August 2008) Dennis Stevenson opened his leased Brisbane house and gave everything away. You may have seen it on TV 9's Today Show with Lisa and Karl. Dennis uses his life to serve people, never charging anyone. He says "If you need a hand, I've got two".
In 2009, Dennis borrowed an empty Gold Coast, Queensland shop a week before Christmas, called it 'Spirit of Christmas' and with community involvement and no real cost, gave away thousands of new presents to help see no one went without. In 2012, in his fourth Christmas shop, he gave away over 11,000 new gifts. In 2013, 2014 and 2015 others opened free shops in Victoria and Queensland. In 2016 and 2017, he opened his first NSW shops, in lovely Ocean Shores. This year (2018), Dennis ran a free shop - open 24 hours every day for 4 months, in beautiful Brunswick Heads NSW. Over 15,000 free items were given away to help people. See full story on 'Shop Information' on left.
In 2008 he had a free stand on Sunday mornings at the organic market in Brisbane and later (until 2017) the Gold Coast, where he gave away free books, free pets (soft toys) and free life coaching sessions. He had 3 rocking horses, slippery dip, castle etc for kids to play on. Signs said, 'If you would like to donate some food, Dennis loves to eat." and "Discover your Life Purpose. Free consulatations. See Dennis".
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 and business trainer and life coach. To live his beliefs, 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 need for anyone to give back. When we do this we will change all the world.
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, cleaned windows and took great photographs. He said that the shop volunteers and the people who brought in thousands of presents and the lovely folk who create, host and register 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 be creative in how we help each other and keep the spirit of Christmas alive with love in our hearts, judging none, throughout 2018.
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 in Wangaratta, Victoria.
2015 Shops are again in Coolum and Wangaratta.
2016 Shop in Ocean Shores, NSW.
2017 Shop (the first mid-year shop, October) in Jimboomba, Qld.
2017 Christmas Shop again in Ocean Shores.
2018 Free Shop (open 24 hours every day for 4 months) in Brunswick Heads 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 2018
- Gather some friends to enjoy a special event in your life. Perhaps three to six generous, reliable people. Read the ideas and view the photographs 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 (usually 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.
CHRISTMAS IS A SONG OF LOVE FOR EVERY HEART TO SING
"There will come a time, I know, when people will take delight in one another, when each will be like a star to the other, and when each will listen to his fellow as to music. The free men will walk upon the earth, men great in their freedom. They will walk with open hearts, and the heart of each will be pure of envy and greed, and therefore all mankind will be without malice, and there will be nothing to divorce the heart from reason. Then life will be one great service to man! His figure will be raised to lofty heights-- for to free men, all heights are attainable. Then we shall live in truth and freedom and in beauty, and those will be accounted the best who will the more widely embrace the world with their hearts, and whose love of it will be the profoundest; those will be the best who will be the freest; for in them is the greatest beauty. Then will all life be great, and the people will be great who live that life." Maxim Gorky