This week, off the top of my head, we gave away an aluminium shed, a bike trailer, clothes and books, firewood and seeds and we gifted time to the community garden, to transporting people to the library, to a friend who needed some support with childcare and another who needed a hand with turning compost.
We received (again, just off the top of my head) gifts of clothes, fresh food, seeds and a few seedlings, a large cast-iron frypan, flowers, aswell as a music lesson and concert.
These were all gifts that arrived into our lives unannounced as it were and allowed ourselves and those whom we gifted to, to be a little less reliant on the money system.
In the process of gifting we built new friendships and maintained current friendships, discussed ideas, learnt new skills, were physically active and got rid of stuff we no longer wanted.
We also built trust. Trust in reciprocity, in community and in cultivating qualities such as friendship, loyalty, sharing and cooperation; qualities that are not recognised by the market economy and yet qualities that we will rely on in the economic chaos that is to come.
Indeed, the qualities that the people of our city have relied on this year during and after the earthquakes.
The gifts in our life make a difference; they support our life, are the backbone of the girls' "education" and nurtures our deep sense of belonging. I've written about this before here.
We do our best to put our energy into exchanges which support our interdependence with others. These exchanges have always brought us optimism in the beauty and resilience that comes from respectful human connection.
(And if you want to extend your thinking around gift culture then check this great booklet out.)