The Art of Giving

Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Well, that’s what he says but we all know that it is because we make it so. The magic of Christmas exists through giving. But what do the recipients really get?

Giving is an art. Just like painting and cooking are arts; without the right ingredients, the dish is no longer what it was meant to be and without the right colors on the palette, the artist cannot direct his vision onto canvas. This time round, we’re reminded of endless giving: open charity boxes, coin collectors, Christmas cookies and big corporations that have donated X amount of dollars to charity Y and Z.

Basically, it’s hard to give anything without looking like an insincere showoff, because even the art of giving has been so commercialized.

To the giver: it’s all very good that your intentions are well. For that, it really is the thought that counts. The thought that you actually cared about someone (other than yourself) enough to give a little piece of your heart, your money or whatever it is.

For the receiver: It’s more than the gift itself. Someone actually cared enough about you to give you something that they weren’t obliged to give you. They took the time and effort to get something just for you.

The thing to take home is not what, but how. It’s about sincerity and gratefulness. That’s why I always look to question not what they give, but how they give it. That’s why many big corporations don’t get the support of their customers. They only look to fill cheques with many zeros, but zeros never really mean anything. They’re just zeros. In effect, the money is good but horribly patronizing to the recipients- there is no heart.

My father said to me once,

“A poor man giving 1 cent is much better than a rich man giving $100 to someone in need.”

If it is within your ability to give, then give. But a caveat to givers: never expect anything back. When you expect something back, you might as well not have given at all.

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