Are you finding the holiday season a lot more humbug than holly and jolly? Then I invite you to join me in the 29 Gifts Challenge, where we’ll be ratcheting up the joy. How? By giving #29SmartAssGifts over the next 29 days!
This challenge was widely popularized by Cami Walker, in her New York Times bestselling book 29 Gifts, How a Month of Giving Can Change your Life. Cami describes how her life forever changed one month after her wedding when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of thirty-three.
As you can imagine, in the aftermath of the prognosis, she felt defeated, depressed and alone so she called her friend, African medicine woman Mbali Creazzo, lamenting her diagnosis. Instead of sympathizing with her, Mbali tells her, “Cami, I think you need to stop thinking about yourself. If you spend all of your time and energy focusing on your pain, you’re feeding the disease. You’re making it worse by putting all of your attention there.” Mbali then gives her a prescription to dig out of the black hole she’s in. Cami is to give away 29 gifts in 29 days.
Initially skeptical, Cami embarks on this journey of giving 29 gifts in 29 days, and documents the positive emotion generated from her efforts. Her initial skepticism over the benefits of something seemingly so small quickly melt away as she notices that in giving to others, she could see the multitude of gifts that she herself received everyday.
I know that you may have a guest list that rivals Santa’s but these gifts are different. Sure, purchased gifts count but gifts can be anything from spare change, food, sweaters/coats you don’t need, a kind word or thought, your time… even a smile works. Many of these are likely gifts you give every day but you don’t recognize them as gifts.
If you want to know more or are curious but still have questions, I hope that you’ll listen to this bonus episode of my podcast ADHD for Smart Ass Women. It’s called Let’s Ditch the Overwhelm and Put Joy Back Into the Holidays to learn more about what exactly qualifies as a “gift,” the origins of 29 Gifts, and why I know that you won’t regret participating!
In it I talk about how it can be more difficult for us Smart Ass ADHD women to get out from under the overwhelming pile of gift lists, cookie making, and magic creating but this is the deal, what we focus on just gets bigger, so why not focus on the good stuff, right?
This is exactly why I believe that the 29 Gifts “prescription” is just what Santa [exchange with your moniker of December celebration] ordered this holiday season. In consciously giving to others each day, we will continue to build upon the feelings of joy and gratitude that we experience in seeing our impact.
Beyond this, I did it three years ago so I know it works. That holiday season three years ago, was the best I’ve ever experienced. I want to give that gift to you!
I’ve created a 29-day journal where you can keep track of the gifts that you give and the gifts that you receive (yup, we’re also going to track at least 3 gifts that we receive every day). You can download it here.
To be a part of the fun, share the gifts that you receive on Instagram and Facebook, be sure to tag me in your post and use the #29SmartAssGifts tag. I’m going to be highlighting some of your gifts in my Instagram stories over the next 29 days. Join me in getting out of your head and into action. Let’s turn this holiday season into pure joy!