To give is more fulfilling that to receive

Richard - North Olmsted, Ohio
Entered on October 27, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe that giving really is more fulfilling than receiving.

For a long time I’ve loved Christmas. I mean, I get free candy, books, and toys. My Dad is home for two weeks, and the food is always great. My whole extended family gets together and I even get a few presents from some of my aunts and uncles. But, the Christmas I enjoyed most was this last one. It was probably one of the saddest Christmas’s, and yet holds some of my best memories. That year was the first one where I was holding even a semi steady job before the holidays. I was making nearly $700 a month. So, I decided to buy Christmas presents for everyone in my family. I have a large extended family so I just bought this bulk box that had dozens of unique odd ball items in it. I went through the items and chose what to give to each person.

According to most of my family it was the first year that I was actually around for the whole thing, rather than locked up in my room alone. I came downstairs every few seconds enough gifts in my hands for two or three people. If someone wasn’t completely happy with the useless gift I handed them I had another to back it up. I had Rosy the Riveter night lights. One I gave to my chauvinistic uncle, another went to one of my aunts. I gave “Ideal Boy” tissue packets to most of the older guys, along with devil ducky erasers. The children received a gift they’ll never see again, full sets of “Parasite Pals” toys including all the characters, even Host Holly.

The best gift though was to my Grandfather. I gave him Beatnik napkins and a bowling alley air freshener, it smelled like a real bowling alley. My Grandma had his gift on back order. Most of my aunts and uncles had forgotten their boxes of gifts and home and planned to give them out other days. My Mom forgot to hand him his gift. I was the only one who actually gave him something on Christmas. It made him so happy to receive that from me. We talked for a while and I moved on giving out as many gifts as I could. That night, or sometime early the next morning, before the sun rose, my Grandma called. My Grandpa had died in his sleep shortly before midnight Christmas day. He had a pack of Beatnik napkins in his pants pocket, and his coat still had my bowling alley air freshener in it.

My last memory of him was my best, and one of our happiest spent together. I am glad I gave him gifts that he could appreciate, even if they had almost no monetary value. That’s why I believe it’s more fulfilling to give than to receive.