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The holiday season is a time for family, fun, food and let’s not forget, giving a shower of gifts. That’s the open secret, isn’t it? We eagerly anticipate the Christmas season when we can receive presents from our loved ones. For kids, it’s a chance to get that long-desired toy; for some adults, it’s the perfect opportunity to fulfil their year-long wish list and get that new phone we always wanted.

Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting. The real meaning of the season is where we remember a special gift to mankind. However, whether young or old, far too many persons anticipate the jolly season with arms outstretched. We all understand the joy of receiving, but what about giving? The line to receive gifts is always long, but not many people are ready to join the other line and become a giver.

“It is better to give than to receive,” is a frequently quoted but typically ignored verse. Who wants to give when you can receive? Isn’t getting much more fulfilling? No, it isn’t, there are many charities or volunteer organisations around us. There are people who pour their hearts into serving others during the Christmas season; others do it all year long!

If receiving was more rewarding than giving, how do we explain these selfless acts of service? Giving is more than a momentary ego boost; there is a hidden treasure. There is an immeasurable joy that has to be experienced to appreciate it fully.

A study by Carnegie Mellon University discovered that mature adults who volunteer for at least 200 hours per year decrease their risk of high blood pressure by up to 40 percent. Giving is not just figuratively, but physically good for our hearts. It makes sense too, where our personal lives seem so all-consuming, shifting our focus to someone else can reduce our stress.

Unfortunately, whenever the term “giving” comes up, we automatically think of money. That’s far from the truth; we can also give our time, our strength, and something seemingly insignificant as our smile. When we shift the focus from ourselves and consider how to bring joy to others around us, our worries seem to diminish.

How about you become a giver this season. ’Tis indeed better to give than to receive.

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