Gift Giving Gives More Satisfaction than Receiving


Sidra Asif

Gift giving is an endearing method to share love and show thoughtfulness. “It shows not only do I listen to you, but I also care about you,” junior Sarah Alkatib said. “I’m going to take the time to get a gift for you.’”

Gifting a gift to a friend or tearing through a thoughtfully wrapped present may evoke emotions of gratitude, love or even fulfillment. As these emotions arise there is an ongoing dispute that seems to resurface during the holiday season: is gift-giving or receiving more rewarding? 

The careful consideration that goes into a planned present, picked to fit a person’s personality and interests, is much more meaningful than receiving a gift. 

According to a study published in Psychological Science, the joy of giving lasts longer than the joy of receiving. Thus, students should take the initiative to give more gifts rather than wait to receive one, as they will gain more fulfillment.

Through that exchange of generosity, the person giving a gift gets to build and reinforce deeper connections with people they want to show gratitude toward. 

“When you’re gift giving, you get to learn so much about the other person,” junior Sarah Alkatib said. “You get to see them be super happy for the thing that you did, whereas when you’re receiving a gift, it’s great but you don’t really have a part in that. You don’t really have a part in that joy that was created.” 

According to research published by Cleveland Clinic, giving releases ‘good chemicals’ like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin that can improve physical and mental health. As opposed to the temporary happiness gained from receiving a gift, giving one can feel more satisfying as it is an act that can elevate happiness and reduce stress.

Although gift-giving may be done with good intentions, some recipients may find it needless and overwhelming. With the increase in unnecessary gifts throughout the gift-giving and holiday season, the wholesome gesture can feel meaningless and repetitive, according to junior Nikki Holden. 

Still, gift-giving is a symbolic approach to communicating thoughts and emotions while also experiencing the indirect joy of someone else through your actions. Understanding the person you are giving the gift to while selecting the right gift can lead to a more fulfilling experience than receiving the gift. 

“The thought of somebody just giving something in return, I think it’s a sweet thought of that person,” freshman Elizabeth Toscano said. “It shows that they care, and it also demonstrates how good actions will come back to you.” 

So maybe go out of your way to gift a person something nice, whether it is chocolate, a book or a heartfelt letter. You will gain way more in exchange.