Christmas Generosity: Is it Better to Give or to Receive? | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Christmas Generosity: Is it Better to Give or to Receive?

Lydia Waller reminds us of the importance of enjoying Christmas' festivities with generosity

The festive season is among us! Whether we are celebrating this Christmas religiously, secularly or commercially, there is always the overriding theme of giving and receiving in the festivities. Presents, giving our grandparents an extra visit when we are home, doing extra shifts or voluntary work; we have become accustom to giving a little extra time around the festivity of Christmas. It may be typically argued that giving is always the best moral attitude around Christmas time; however, without the reciprocation of receiving generosity, the act is not fulfilled. Giving and receiving gists is a two-way-street and much can be learnt from accepting to receive, as well as the importance of giving.

At a very materialised and commercial time of the year, it is a form of self-improvement, to think of the wishes and wants of your loved ones, and to prioritise them over your own.

To Give.  A very sacrificial and humbling act, one that is indisputably good and bettering for ourselves and those around us. At a very materialised and commercial time of the year, it is a form of self-improvement, to think of the wishes and wants of your loved ones, and to prioritise them over your own. However, as the season of giving and joy-sharing is growing more commercialised, there is the danger of people giving, to become social emblems of moral good. Unless we give modestly, for the sake of others and not the reputation of ourselves, the virtue isn’t really genuine. Giving is in its element around Christmas, as our communities look out for one another in the vulnerability of the winter, again prioritising the needs of others over our own privileges. Charity work for the homeless, helping the lonely, poor, foodbanks, fundraisers, even buying charity Christmas cards over the candid Paperchase ones we really want to buy for the mantle-piece aesthetic. These are all small acts that strengthen our communities and develop our own characters to be less self-centred, at such a materialised time of year.

But the most relevant lesson our society can learn from receiving is the element of self-love and worth

Then there is the act of receiving. Or acceptance, as I like to think of it. Sometimes receiving around festivities and celebrations can be seen as less virtuous than giving, as it is centred around ourselves. However, there is a lot to learn from learning to accept. Firstly, without people accepting gifts, then the act of someone else’s giving and generosity is not appreciated and their wishes to make another happy, fulfilled. Giving makes receiving and receiving allows for giving. Additionally, once the element of surprise, flattery and joy is received, it starts a chain reaction; it motivates others to share that gift of giving and joy. But the most relevant lesson our society can learn from receiving is the element of self-love and worth. For people to allow themselves to receive the generosity of others, they can learn that they are valued and loved, which is a paramount lesson; to learn to love ourselves. Sometimes when we expect gifts, the act of receiving can be viewed as an expression of self-entitlement. Yet if we relish in the expression of someone else’s appreciation for ourselves, through acceptance, then we can learn our value to others and therefore the value of ourselves.

Therefore, learning to receive isn’t so self-centred after all. Giving and receiving go hand in hand to create an attitude of joy-giving and self-loving, which are two attitudes which we can all implement, to round off this year better than it started!



Published

9th December 2017 at 9:00 am



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