Kids love receiving, grown-up get more joy from gift giving

When you were a kid, receiving gifts was the best thing in the world. Unwrapping a mysterious present meant was the greatest moment. Naturally, we all reach an age when we must become the gift-givers. Growing up, we realize that giving gifts is just as thrilling, or even more so than receiving them. Watching someone unwrap a gift and respond with happiness and amazement is inexplicably satisfying. The reality is that making a loved one smile is worth more than any material item. But why does gift-giving feel so good? Below, we present a few reasons why giving is better than receiving:

Gift-giving leads to long-term happiness

You’ve probably heard that money can’t buy happiness. But is this really true? Numerous studies show that earning more money can make you a little bit happier but the impact is not huge. If you’re feeling frustrated in your pursuit of happiness, you can try another approach. The way in which you spend your money can make a huge difference. Scientists found that spending more money on others, rather than ourselves, brings greater happiness. Even people with a lower income status reported increased happiness when spending more on others. Every time we give to others, we can sustain the pleasure of a new experience. This principle is called hedonic adaptation in psychology, and it’s precisely why it’s hard to continuously enjoy spending money on ourselves.

Gift Giving feels good

Gift-giving cultivates self-worth

Giving gifts and bringing happiness to others can make you feel proud and generous. It’s also true that your reasons for giving are somehow selfish – you feel good about yourself. Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong to revel in the joy that gift-giving brings to others. So next time you offer something, allow yourself the opportunity to feel the gratitude of the receiver.

We strengthen relationships through the act of giving

Giving small presents to our loved ones can show our appreciation and strengthen our relationships. It’s like saying thank you for all the things they’ve done for us. Taking the time to remind someone that they matter is a good way to build and maintain a good relationship. Social bonding leads to a feeling of togetherness that makes us feel like we belong. Whether it’s a family member, partner, or a friend, offering a gift will certainly make them feel special!

Giving is inspiring

When we are on the receiving end of the gift-giving process, we feel immense joy and gratitude. Naturally, we want to pay it forward and give back in order to bring the same happiness to other people. This perpetual cycle of giving makes the world a more humane place to live in. Contributing to making the world better gives us the feeling that we are part of something bigger. By adding to their lives, you add to yours also.  Finding gifts can be stressful though, but that is a different topic that you can read more about in our blog Why finding gifts for loved ones is stressful?

Giving to help others

Gift giving is not only about showing appreciation. Sometimes, a friend or family member is going through a rough period. Maybe your niece is starting college and she can’t afford a new laptop. Maybe you’ve heard that your grandma is having back pain and that neck and back massager is just too expensive. If you have the means to live a comfortable life, then you can help others. No matter how much or how little you can give, seeing how your gesture makes their life better brings meaning to yours.

Giving creates joy, but we should also think about what and how we buy.   Research shows buying from wish lists is more thoughtful.  Read our blog on Give them what they have on their wish list.


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Also, check out this great article from CNBC on Holiday etiquette for gift-giving: The top 10 rules for gift-giving this holiday season from CNBC.  

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