I love the holiday season!
It’s a bold statement coming from someone who starts bellyaching weeks out about not being prepared for all the activity the holidays entail. As if I need weeks to prepare for parties, none of which I’m hosting, organizing or catering. If I have to stress out about getting the perfect gift for anyone on my much abridged list, then I must be missing the point of gift-giving. And if I’m unable to get in the right head space for, um, good tidings and cheer, then I clearly have bigger problems to deal with.
I love the holiday season for the simple reason that folks tend to be more giving at this time of year.
I’m sure I’m the last person to hear about the numerous instances of anonymous generosity taking place at many K-Mart stores around the country. These so-called angels are paying for toys and winter essentials that families have put on layaway for their precious little ones. As a result, the act of giving generates a warm glow between the benefactor and the receiver alike.
It turns out that the adage giving is its own reward is rooted in science. Giving stimulates dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. The dopamine neurons stimulate other parts of the brain and help generate feelings that make people want to repeat the altruistic act.
What’s great about giving is anyone willing can do it (who doesn’t have anything to give?), it’s recession- and global economic turmoil-proof (who can’t give someone their time or attention?) and it inspires others who bear witness to do the same. And let’s not forget Ms. Angelou’s quote above.
Giving as a gift that keeps on giving? Who knew?! Or maybe we already know this but that we need to remind each other at least once a year so that others who are awake and ready to learn may know it, too.