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October 25, 2017

We hear it all the time during Christmas, but is there any truth to this idea that lose something is better than acquiring something?

No question, the Christmas season has become highly commercialized. However, this seems more like stating the obvious than it does fact. This idea that Christmas has all of a sudden become less about it's origin and more about standing in shopping lines and receiving Amazon deliveries is nothing new.  We've become programmed by now – it's a given that Christmas is about gifts, decorating, and getting stuff. This is even a common theme in many holiday movies, songs, and other media.

It’s often easy to forget the realreason behind Christmas and the holiday season in general.

It’s easy enough for us say:

  • "family is important" and
  • "sharing is caring" and
  • "the presents you find under the tree don’t really matter"

But how can we really make sure we know why giving is better than receiving?

It almost sounds cliché, but you could make that argument for any aspect of the Christmas season.

The reason that giving gifts is so much more rewarding and fulfilling than receiving gifts can be summarized succinctly: it feels good to know you are doing the right thing. This is another theme so common even children know about it from movies. We could talk forever about how not everyone in the world is as fortunate as we are in America, and even here in our home country there is huge disparity between the wealthy, the middle class, and those living below the poverty line. This goes without saying.

We could debate the class divide and ways to achieve equality, sustainability, and justice all day, but a much more tangible solution is to keep the true values of the holiday season in mind.

So, how can we become more aware of the values of giving?

Simply put, when people realize that other people in their lives love and value them as a person, it makes them feel happy. This is a natural human emotion! A small, inexpensive gift that has a lot of love and thought put into it will, 9 times out of 10, make the recipient feel much happier and more deeply touched than any article of designer clothing or the newest electronic device.

On a similar note, people love being surprised! Surprising somebody with your gift idea, or giving it to them at an unexpected moment, shows that you put a little extra time and thought into planning your gift, and this won’t be lost on your recipient.

Think like a child

Children, especially very young children, are often seen as a recurring motif during the Christmas season, and it’s not for no reason that their innocence is so valued. Unless kids were raised by a selfish, materialistic family, they don’t have much of a concept of materialism. How many times have you seen kids give each other friendship bracelets, key chains and small charms, even pretty rocks?

giving gifts better than getting

Even among children, the most seemingly-insignificant objects are thought to hold great importance. Little kids might not have the language to express it or the ability to fully comprehend what’s happening, but somehow they know that those objects are a symbol of a mutually supportive and fulfilling relationship, even at a young age.

Once those kids grow up into adults, however, it’s not uncommon for them to become disillusioned with the holiday season.

Our need for more makes us less capable of satisfaction

Many adults seem to either hatethe Christmas season or they’re totally obsessed with it – it appears that very few fall somewhere in between!

Sadly, in the former case, it’s likely that those people grew up in homes that placed too much value on the superficial things in life and not enough on those that we can’t see, including family, relaxation, and happiness. Many adults become quite jaded when they realize this, and as a result, tend to shut down during the holiday season.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to show them the love and care they might not have known they were missing. This can take the form of a thoughtful card and a box of candy canes, not necessarily a Rolex or Range Rover.

Conversely, the adults that love Christmas can come either from the same type of materialistic home and now they’re trying to make up for lost time, or they’re used to having beautiful, fulfilling Christmases from their childhood.

I want to challenge you this year. Test the theory; find out if there is any truth to it: "giving unlocks a channel for receiving".

If you already find meaning behind these types of cliche phrases, share what it means to you in the comments below. If you have no idea what they mean, I hope this season you discover it as you give with little concern for getting. 

All in all, it takes no effort to recycle the old adage that giving is better than receiving, but it takes a little more effort to understand exactly what that means. This holiday season, try and live better and more selflessly. The people around you will notice the change and, chances are, follow suit themselves!

Have a beautiful Christmas!

--Sir Holiday-- 

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