Giving is the easiest way in the world to find happiness. Not just for gift recipients, but for you as the gift giver.

If you personally value the act of giving, you can find dozens, hundreds, of opportunities to make yourself happy every day.

And since, by definition, you’re expecting nothing in return for your gift, your success rate will be 100%.

That’s all pretty basic, so we’ll call that Giving 101.

Now, let’s go on to Giving 201…

By definition, a gift is something that we give to someone, without expecting payment.

If we’re truly giving, it means that we are not expecting the recipient to respond with money, thanks, good behavior, or even feelings of gratitude or indebtedness.

(If we are expecting some sort of response, then maybe we’re more trading than giving.)

So, let’s take the logic of our gift definition a little further…

If we don’t expect the gift recipient to respond with some form of ‘payment’ after receiving a gift, we certainly shouldn’t expect ‘payment’ prior to giving a gift, or as a pre-condition for giving the gift, right?

This is where Santa comes in. I’m going to use the world’s most famous gift-giver as both a good and bad example to illustrate this point.

First – Good Santa.

We’ve already said that, if truly giving, we would not expect to be repaid with thanks or even feelings of gratitude in response to giving a gift.

What greater illustration of that is there than when parents give Santa all the credit for the Christmas gifts that they give their children? That’s really giving!

Next – Bad Santa.

We’ve also said that, if truly giving, we would not expect to be repaid in ‘good behavior’ in response to a gift. Well, if we wouldn’t demand good behavior in response to giving a gift, why would we require good behavior as a precondition to giving a gift?

So when Santa says he’s making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty and nice, he’s telling the children that they have to earn Christmas gifts with good behavior. That’s not giving, Bad Santa!

What’s the take-away from Giving 201?

You can give to people who haven’t done anything to deserve a gift.

That’s truly giving.

Just think how many more potential gift recipients you have now. We just totally multiplied your opportunities to give – and get happiness!

That’s my gift to you today. No, don’t thank me, please!


Coming soon, Giving 301 – Forgiving