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Are You a Giver or a Receiver?

By Beverly Bowers November 24, 2022 Lifestyle

This is the time of year when we are focused on giving. I put together my holiday gift list over a month ago. It is mostly the same as last year but with a few variations. Of course, my immediate family is always included plus a few “out-laws.”

With joy I added my partner and his family over the years. Then there are a few others such as my hairdresser and dear friends. I shop the entire year and put my finds in a special drawer. I love this part of the holidays but when I am asked to suggest gift ideas for myself, I am at a loss. I really don’t need anything! Does this sound like you?

It’s a Circle!

What I seem to forget is that giving and receiving are part of the same circle. If I give a gift, someone receives it. Right? So why am I so hesitant, even to the point of feeling guilty, when I receive? Part of the reason may be that I was brought up with the idea that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

But if you give, isn’t someone always receiving? If you receive, that means someone is giving. It’s an equal exchange of energy. Why should I deny a friend or family member the delight of picking out a gift especially for me? Should there not be equal joy in receiving?

The Joy in Giving

If we are with children on their birthday or over the holidays, you know what I mean when I say joy. The grins and laughter and pure delight in receiving is evident. Why do we change as adults? Perhaps part of the reason is our pocketbook. We want to make others happy but there is the realization that there is a financial cost to the gifts we give, and we may overextend ourselves.

I admit I love the process of picking out gifts, wrapping them, and watching the receiver open the package. I am also guilty of overextending myself at times. When I receive a nice gift, sometimes instead of feeling the joy of the other person, I think about the gift’s value and that I did not give as much in reciprocation.

How can we bring back the pure joy of giving and receiving? Perhaps expectations play a role. If we expect to receive, then we expect that we must also give. But is that true? My recently published Sixty and Me blog listed three ways I was going to give thanks and share my financial abundance with sometimes forgotten people – a caregiver, a friend estranged from a child, and a homeless person.

Putting my intent in writing solidified it and, I am happy to report, I completed all three of my goals. But not all required money. Gifts can be invitations, a kind word, a note, a baked good, or a raised hand to volunteer.

The Joy in Receiving

Now how can I just as happily receive? I can accept the appreciation of a friend who started crying when I related a story dear to her heart. She knew I understood. I can treasure the hugs and kisses of my partner as he shares his love.

I can acknowledge the effort of a sister who took the time to pick me up at the airport, even when my flight was 1.5 hours late! I also appreciate the birthday gifts I will soon receive and the effort that each giver made to pick something special for me.

The gifts we receive may be big, may be small, may cost nothing, or may cost a lot, but let us take time this holiday season to “see” the giver and their love.

For example, when you read one of my blogs or order my book, you acknowledge that I met a need or hit a cord and I am overjoyed. It is with a truly grateful and joy filled heart that I share my gifts with you! Receiving can be just as joyous for adults as for children if we take the time to truly appreciate the thought behind the gift.

Thanks, and happy holidays!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What gift that you received this year brought you the greatest joy? Why? What was the most thoughtful gift you gave this year? Why? How will you show appreciation for each gift you receive this holiday season?

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Thank you for reminding me to extend my “gift giving” past my family.


I understand completely. I’m a giver and I enjoy spending time to find the gift I think someone will appreciate. I’m not always right. I grew up in the era of receiving what you needed so never expected much. That’s good for me. I do appreciate when I receive a gift or a thank you note or even a card out of the blue — I have a friend who does that. After 80 odd years, I still need to work on being a receiver. Thank you for the article.


Of course, it is difficult for the one giving to write a comment about her giving. But, I did do something different that stayed true to my strenghts including poetry and creative writing. When a dear friend’s husband I also know found himself in our hospital’s burn center for close to three months I realized there would be no visiting due to restrictions. I felt compelled to purchase a greeting card each week and to write a reflection to let him know we cared, were praying for him, etc. Those cards arrived at his home so that my friend could deliver them on her period visits. The act of giving helped me also receive the comfort that I was actively engaged in doing something. Yesterday my friend and spouse called to thank me on Thanksgiving Day and shared that the cards contributed to many things involved in the healing process.

The Author

Beverly Bowers is a retired financial planner who has been solely responsible for her financial life over 25 years. Her passion is to make investments understandable – dispel the mystery and simplify the process. In 2021 she self-published a book, How to Dress a Naked Portfolio, a Tailored Introduction to Investing for Women. She relishes questions from all levels of investors. You may submit questions and sign up for her blogs on her website.

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