4 Ways to be a Giver this Holiday Season
What does Christmas mean to you? Does it mean Santa Claus and presents, spending time with family, or maybe its traditions such as picking out the perfect tree? Whatever it is, it’s typically the time of year we begin to feel a little happier, a little brighter. We begin to see Christmas trees going up, decorations abundant in stores, and shoppers searching for the perfect gifts for their loved ones. Although we all know what the holidays are all about and why we celebrate, the celebration—the wants and expectations—often override the true meaning.
Christmas is a time of selflessness and giving. It’s a celebration in the Christian tradition of the birth of Jesus. And, depending on where you live or where you’re from, your traditions may be different and vary from place to place.
In the U.S., the holidays are a happy time, but also a stressful one. It’s stressful on bank accounts in order to buy gifts for those celebrating with you as well as trying to figure out what they would like. Oftentimes we become so consumed with buying and getting enough gifts and things that the holiday becomes just about getting, getting, getting versus giving.
We’ve gotten so caught up in the self of “I” and “me” that thinking of others and those who cannot do anything for you doesn’t really come to mind. This is not everyone, and there are so many people who are givers and do so time after time. However, I fear the large majority of us don’t give very much, if at all, and have lost what it means to think about others for a change.
This holiday season, I urge you to think about yourself less, and other more. I urge you to be more of a giver than a receiver, on Christmas and throughout the year. Instead of buying things that people do not need, below are a few ideas to think about:
1. Do or give something to someone who can give you nothing in return
This is giving in its purest form. When you do or give something to someone who can, quite literally, do nothing for you in return, that’s when you know you’ve truly given. Similarly, it’s important not to expect anything in return. Sometimes when we give there’s a certain expectation that the person will return the favor or will compensate us for our trouble or time. This is not giving. That is exchanging favors or trading.
2. Give with a full and open heart
Just as you shouldn’t expect anything in return when giving, you should also give from your heart. If you reluctantly give, it doesn’t make anyone feel good. It doesn’t make you feel good that you gave something away you clearly didn’t want to give away, and for the receiver it makes them feel guilty for accepting your gift. The best way is to want to give. You have to truly give with your heart.
3. Give with your time and energy
If giving things is not an option or not your style, one of the best ways to give is with your time and energy. Volunteering and helping others, whether planned or unplanned, can go a long way. It shows your character, and that you believe in helping others who have less than you or are in need.
4. Buy experiences, not things
Experiences, whether grand or small, can be some of the best gifts or investments that you ever make. This rings true for me, and it’s also a great way to spend time together with friends, loved ones, and even gives you a chance to connect with and meet new people. Some of the best gifts and time spent for me has been experiences. Giving the gift of experience ultimately makes you appreciate what you already have, and makes you worry less about what you don’t.
Being a giver is all about having an open heart and mind, to think of yourself less, and to do so expecting nothing in return. When you commit to being a giver rather than just a receiver, you’ll be surprised how good it makes you feel, and how your mindset begins to change. Open your heart this holiday season, and bring meaning back into the holiday season.