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Updated by Kendra Brea Cooper on Apr 02, 2015
Headline for Giving it Away: 10 Ways Toward a Gift Economy.
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Giving it Away: 10 Ways Toward a Gift Economy.

Gift economies have existed throughout history. They've been part of building communities and even societies. Now they can be used to build another world. They work by offering a gift to someone, with the idea that at some point they will do the same for you. It builds on itself to become an everyday thing as it works like a net through your community. It's about reciprocity and connection. Gifts come in so many wonderful forms when they don't come from a store.

1

Gifting

Gifting

Everyday gifting might feel awkward at first, mainly because our culture has specific times to do so. I love to give things (sometimes for nothing, sometime for something), and it can make people uncomfortable at times because they're unsure why. Say you wanted to learn how to bake a vegan cake, but youtube wouldn't work because you like hands-on lessons. Maybe you have a friend who knows how. You could gift something in exchange for the lesson, and explain the idea in the process. Your gift could be anything from a beloved book to a pottery lesson. It could start just like that.

2

The Free Store

The Free Store

The free store is one way to give. It can be something in your front yard (like a free "yard sale"), or a community run store. It is pretty much what the sign says. People donate and take, and it's all free.

3

Teaching

Teaching

You could teach a friend a lesson on anything you know well (and we all have something), or you could give a free workshop for your community. The openness and generosity spreads.

4

Baking.

Baking.

This is an obvious one. Baked goods are some of the most gifted things out there. We bring baked goods for birth, marriage, and death. Food is always an option, and always appreciated.

5

Crafts

Crafts

If you have a craft you're good at, like knitting or upcycling clothing, those are great options for gifts. Knit a scarf, make a necklace, or stencil a shirt. These make great gifts for special occasions and everyday gifting. They're also loved because they come from your hands.

6

Building

Building

Offer to help someone build a shed or even a home. It works best if you do have building skills, but you could also be the person who holds the ladder and nails (or brings lemonade).

7

Fixing

Fixing

If you're really good at fixing things, like a mechanic or plumber, you could offer the gift of helping someone out with free mending. Services cost a ton, so every little bit helps -even if you can't finish the entire project.

8

Helping with an essay.

Helping with an essay.

Anyone writing an essay could use a proof reader or extra research help. This one is great for those students you know, who are usually working alone and feeling a bit alienated. Offer your skills and help them in their education.

9

Cleaning

Cleaning

Everyone goes through times when they're too overwhelmed with life to do even simple housework. Offer to help clean a friends place and I guarantee it will be appreciated. They'll remember this and come back around to help you out during tough times.

10

Childcare

Childcare

Free childcare and community child care is very rare these days. A parent who works a lot and is barely making ends meet could use, and would love, that extra child care that doesn't cost anything. If you have the time, this is an awesome gift. It will not be forgotten.