The Gift of Giving

Rommel Eusebio, Guest Staff Writer

“Christmas is truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.” – Ruth Carter Stapleton

As a kid on Christmas morning, do you remember waking up and running downstairs to the sweet smell of homemade French toast and the beautiful sight of presents under the tree? I do. You may have felt so ecstatic that you could not sleep, or maybe you even felt a little greedy because you didn’t get the new PlayStation or iPhone that you wanted. But your greed is nothing compared to William, a six-year-old boy who feels left out at school because his family is Jehovahas’ Witness and they don’t celebrate during the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Neither do the homeless that some people refuse to help when they ignorantly pass the Salvation Army volunteer ceaselessly ringing the bell. So, tis’ the season to not just celebrate by receiving presents, but by donating gifts out of generosity, especially to those in need.

Giving gifts during the birth of Jesus was actually instilled long before Christ back in the years B.C, before Christ, remaining a tradition ‘till this day. In the Three King’s journey to Bethlehem, they followed the North Star on camelback for thousands of miles with tenacity, despite their long trek. Before the Kings set out though, they weren’t forgetful of gifts to give to their newly born Messiah; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Conferring miracles and special gifts, as the Three Kings and Jesus once did, is a symbol of gratitude, love and affection.

Not only do gifts give joy to the receiver, but also to the giver. According to a UChicago News-Article, Professor Ed O’Brien of the Chicago Booth School of Business found that one’s happiness does not decline when bestowing a gift upon another, compared to receiving that same gift themselves. “Repeated giving, even in identical ways to identical others, may continue to feel relatively fresh and relatively pleasurable the more that we do it,” O’Brien states.

Giving is very important, not only during the month of December. Offering so much as a hug to a loved one or a friend can be effective. Giving can make a real difference in one’s life, no matter how little your gift really is. Many of us get worried that receivers may think cynically of us. But according to a Guided Mind Blog, “you have the power to touch the life of another person and you can affect them in ways you may never completely be aware of.” You may never know, but a simple gift of even a smile can be the turning point of someone’s dreadful day.

Besides religion, many people think that Christmas is about spending time with family, which is also true. But, think about the unlucky few who are not able to spend time with family, maybe because their family lives in a different country or sadly, they do not have a family to deck the halls with. Individuals who reside under these hapless circumstances are usually seen giving to charities, like the Salvation Army, during Christmas and Hanukkah as a way of showing love and affection to others who are lonely and helpless, like them.

The reason why people look forward to celebrating Christmas is certainly not to receive presents, but rather to give presents to family, friends, and those who need it most. Giving during Christmas time was a tradition infused long ago, as joy is brought to oneself more effectively by bequeathing presents, rather than receiving presents. Contributing to particular people in need not only during Christmas time should be widely practiced all over the diaspora. So start now by tossing  a couple of spare coins into the notable red kettle this holiday season instead of walking by the avid volunteer, and maybe this kind action will be the start of a yearlong season of giving.