Everyone loves the holidays. It’s a time of warmth and love among family and friends. But whom am I kidding. Everyone really puts up with it to get presents. I am sure you all have fond memories of waking up on Christmas morning or lighting the menorah, knowing full well you’re going to receive a gift soon. What feeling can be better than getting that one thing, that one toy, that one outfit, that one item you have been pining for all year long. Well, I believe that it is not the best feeling there is. I believe in the old adage that you are better off to give than to receive. Yes, I am aware it is corny, but hear me out. When I was five, I remember waking up on Christmas morning at 7 am, long before anyone else in my family would be willing to wake up. I ran downstairs and saw the boxes under the tree with my name on it. Only one truly concerned me, the big one. I knew what was inside. It was a Zord from Power Rangers that I had been longing for. I had been giving my father less than subtle hints over the past months, and the box fit the dimensions of the one from the toy store. So I waited and my dad came down about an hour later. He didn’t really want to be awake yet, but he came down anyway to appease me. He told me I could open my presents. I rushed over to the box and ripped off the wrapping paper. It was there. All that I wanted. But I felt a little empty. I got what I wanted, but now what? Sure I would play with it, but it didn’t seem as good as it did when it was high up on the shelf. I looked over at my dad. He was smiling, amused by my enthusiasm. But he was also deeply happy that he got me what I wanted. It was the kind of happiness I wished I had then and there but did not. Years later, it was a friend of mine’s birthday. He’s a big soccer fan, but his only soccer ball was barely a ball at all. It looked more like a Frisbee. So I knew what to get him a month before. I remember on his birthday he was pretty happy opening his gifts. It was a lot of the usual. A video game. A gift card. He liked all his gifts. Then I gave him a new soccer ball. He sat there for a moment, stunned. He showed a soft smile and turned to me. He said “thanks.” In that moment, I felt elation stronger than words. There was no need to jump up and down over the ball, but we both knew it was exactly what he wanted. So I propose to you that you should really make an effort to find the perfect gift for someone close to you when the time comes. Not only does it feel good, it can be to your benefit later. People I have given to in the past have helped me in the future, like that same friend who I know I can trust to always help me out of a jam. Giving now can lead to receiving later.
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