The Holidays: the importance of gift-giving

Photo courtesy of chisar.net

Photo courtesy of chisar.net

Natalie Behrens, Staff Writer

Everybody knows that giving gifts is a great way to express your appreciation for others. Not only does it make the gift receivers happy, but it makes the gift giver happy as well. Giving gifts during the holidays also promotes greater connections with your loved ones. Many believe that it is important to know what they want to receive, but that is not always the case. Gift-giving is something that comes from one’s heart. It does feel great to be on the receiving end, but there is a feeling of satisfaction when you are the one giving the gifts. According to an article from the Hedonist, “Making someone feel special is more than enough reason to make us want to give more.” 

There are countless reasons why gift-giving is so important, mentally and physically. Some of which include, feeling happy, evoking gratitude and expressing love for others. It has been proven that giving gifts on the holidays activates a region of your brain associated with social connection, satisfaction and trust, according to the Greater Good Magazine. Scientists believe that altruistic behavior releases endorphins in the brain, which creates a happy feeling and a “warm glow” effect, which is a theory describing the reward of giving to others. Whether you are giving or receiving, a gift can be a way of expressing or instilling gratitude. When you give to others, your generosity is most likely to be rewarded, however, you should not want anything or pressure loved ones to give anything in return. 

When receiving a gift from a friend, family member or co-worker, you should send them a thank-you card or message to show your appreciation for them, and do not stress about giving a gift back. Just be sure to be gracious and say thank you. 

Another way to give back during the holiday season is to donate to a local charity, help those who have been affected by natural disasters by donating money to a fundraiser and donate gifts to military families. Some other ideas include spending time in a nursing home with those who do not have a family to visit them, giving an animal a gift of a forever home or helping families who are having a hard time coping during the holidays. There are also more simple ideas like making a thoughtful present like a gift-basket for a neighbor or doing something as simple as writing cards for those in need. 

It is very important to give, not only gifts but favors for the people around you during the holidays. Knowing that people in need might have an opportunity to be happy during the holidays is truly heartwarming. Not only does giving make you feel fulfilled and satisfied, but it also is a huge part of how a community functions. Giving gifts brings people together and strengthens relationships.