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The Spirit of Christmas Shop
Every Christmas, Dennis Stevenson, with community help and at no cost, borrows an empty shop and gives away thousands of free presents.
Christmas shops held in:
2009 Burleigh, Gold Coast.
2010 Nundah, Brisbane, Queensland.
2011 Clayfield, Brisbane.
2012 Norman Park, Brisbane.
2013: Wangaratta, Victoria.
2014: Wangaratta and Coolum.
2015: Wangaratta and Coolum.
2016: In Ocean Shores, Northern New South Wales
2017: Jimboomba, QLD - so far
This is how Dennis does it. So can you.
Four key principles in running a shop
1. I never charge anyone, for any reason. The shops are about love, with no judgement.
2. I accept presents but never accept any money at, or for, the shop. Ever.
3. I don't ask businesses for gifts, only for the signs etc, (see below) and if I have a free daily draw, one larger item for each day we are open. People/individuals can create wonderous things when we put our heart into it.
4. The shops are created, run and the gifts are nearly always given by individuals, not groups. Groups can be wonderful in giving a hand but it isn't a church, government or welfare group creation. We are building community by doing things through local people. I am always happy to explain this.
Gather some friends to have the time of your lives. Perhaps six* generous, reliable people. Meet up and each choose a task you enjoy. Write out some simple steps.
Find and borrow a large empty shop in a busy area that has parking.
Call it ‘Spirit of Christmas (your town/ city)’ Open from 9am – 6pm daily.
Close the shop at 6pm on Christmas Eve.
Make a shift roster for more shop helpers. Re-stockers and cleaners start at 6pm.
Get free Public Liability insurance.
Ask local businesses to donate window/ floor cleaning and shop signs. People are very helpful. Borrow tables and covers, stands and a mirror.
Collect new gifts (or anything that looks brand new). New or 'as new' gifts are vital as people need to wrap them as new presents. It’s a gift shop, not an op shop! Fill the shop for the grand opening.
Tell everyone. Write a News Release **. When the wonderful folk on TV, radio, papers, groups and clubs hear, they’ll tell everybody and people will bring in thousands of new gifts.
* All timings, numbers etc. are what I do. My recommendations. You decide what suits you.
** Include what, where, when, how as well as the phone numbers (mobile and home) of your chattiest person.
Use a large, say 16 point, Times font in black ink on one white A4 sheet.