We’ve all heard that it’s better to give than to receive. It’s the thought that counts. Each Christmas season we are directed to the reason for the season. Someone born 2015 years ago that gave it all for us.

But what is the real “spirit” of giving? What does that mean in the grand scheme of things? Giving what, based on what? Giving what to who?

Is It All About Money?

People complain about Christmas being too commercial. It’s all about stuff not really giving. It might be about impressing someone with your buying power or keeping up with the Joneses.

Diamonds, big screen TV’s, Xboxes, laptops, cars are just a few of the material things on some people’s shopping list. And they are ready to go to blows in store aisles to get them.

Is that really giving?

The Gift Of The Magi

The O. Henry short story is a classic that really explains the true spirit of giving. It’s the story of two lovers who each sacrificed a prized possession to give the perfect gift to the other.

The wife sold her beautiful long hair to get the money to buy a platinum fob chain for his watch and he sold the watch to buy her a beautiful set of combs for her hair.

It truly was the thought that counted between the two.

They decided to put the gifts away. He would try to re-buy his watch and her hair would grow again.

And the gifts would have meaning again but the spirit of their sacrifice told the real story of truly giving to one another.

Some Final Thoughts

There is nothing wrong with giving material stuff as gifts. I’ve been married for 32 years and there have been more than one year that there was nothing under the tree for either of us.

The only reason we even had a tree was it was an artificial one (actually a tree imported from China — imported ornaments too) that we had bought on sale during more prosperous times.

So having lived through the tough times we can more fully appreciate the good times we’ve been blessed with.

The true spirit of giving is doing for others with no expectation of gain. It might be a gift you bought, one you made, or the gift of time or volunteer to benefit others.

Giving means different things to different people and that’s how it should be.

Giving is an emotion. It’s not logical. It’s that impulse buy when you see the perfect combs or the watch fob.

What’s your definition of the “spirit of giving?”

Comments below.