As the holidays approach, most kids’ thoughts turn to gifts. Visions of beautifully-wrapped packages stacked high fill the dreams of many children. What will be in those packages? Will you get everything you put on your wish list?

Receiving gifts is something everyone enjoys. But did you know that many people enjoy giving gifts even more than receiving them? It’s true. You may have heard people say from time to time, “It’s better to give than to receive.”

Could this be true? Unwrapping the gift you’ve been wanting for months and months is so exciting. How could anything get better than that?

Maybe you already know what we’re talking about. Have you ever worked really hard on a priceless work of art for a loved one? When you were finished with it, you were probably very excited to give it to them.

Waiting until their birthday or a special occasion can sometimes seem like torture when you just can’t wait to give someone a special homemade gift right from your heart. Do you remember that feeling of anticipation you get as they’re opening their present?

If you’ve ever felt like that, then you know it’s true: it really is better to give than to receive. There’s just a simple joy from giving freely of your time and talents to loved ones.

This old saying has ancient roots in many religions, but actually scientists are looking for biological evidence for why it’s better to give than receive. For example, some scientists believe that giving to or helping others helps to relieve stress in the body and is therefore beneficial to your health.

From your own personal experience, you probably know how good it feels to do a good deed for someone. Helping others allows you to capture that great feeling by putting others first. You might capture that feeling by volunteering your services for a worthy cause. Another popular way to give is to randomly help others by paying it forward.

84 Join the Discussion

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  1. I think it is because it feels good to recieve but it is more fun to go out and look at presents to get for your family have some fun doing it knowing that they will love it. But no matter what if a family member does not send a present don’t be mad the best gift of all is that you have them and they have you.

    • What a great point, Wonder Friend Lane .E! :) It sounds like you have the right idea when it comes to giving and receiving gifts– family and friends are the best, and all that matters is that you’re surrounded by them! Thanks for making us smile, Wonder Friend! :)

  2. Our class has ideas of what tomorrow’s wonder of the day will be. Here they are:
    -people on sailboats
    -ferry boat

    We will have to wait and see!

    • What a treat to hang out with our Wonder Friends in Mrs. DerVartanian’s Class! Your guesses for tomorrow’s Wonder are spectacular! We can’t wait for the water adventure in tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day®! :)

    • WOW, so many great guesses from our Wonder Friends in Mrs. Ski’s AM Class! We think traveling by water sounds like a fun adventure– you did a great job using context clues to form your guesses! : )

  3. Dear Wonderopolis,

    We like giving, especially things we have made ourselves. We have made artwork, crafts, and yummy baked goods for our family and friends.

    We think tomorrow will be going up the Mississippi River. We think that because in music class we learned a song called “Up the Mississippi” that talked about going up the river.

    Thank you for the wonders,
    Mrs. Tillman’s 4th graders.

    • It sounds like our Wonder Friends in Mrs. Tillman’s 4th grade class have the right idea… homemade gifts are the best! We bet your family and friends will enjoy all the special treats you’ve created for them! :)

      Your music class song sounds like a lot of fun– we’ll meet you up the river tomorrow! :)

    • We’re glad to make you smile, Aaliyah! We’re happy that you’re WONDERing about the best parts about giving and receiving gifts! :)

  4. We think it makes you and other people happy when you give something to others. It makes you happy to see their faces!

    • How right you are, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Janke’s Grade 5/6!! Your comment is a great reminder for us– it’s all about making your family and friends smile, especially during the season! We are smiling because of great Wonder Friends like you! :)

    • Oh no, Payton, we’re sorry to hear that! We hope you can try to refresh the page, or maybe use the computer at another time. Sometimes our site does not work well in schools, as they have certain video restrictions. Perhaps you can try watching the video at home or at a library later today? :)

    • Thanks so much, Wonder Friend Ashley! We think today’s Wonder is a great reminder about the true meaning of the holidays! :)

  5. We learned that it feels better to give than to get. :) We liked that the video because of the shapes giving. We liked the part about the giving and sharing and how it makes us feel. We liked the present out of grass and the guy was mowing the present!

    • Thanks for sharing what you learned today, Tigers 1st Grade/K! We think it’s important to remember how WONDERful it feels to give a gift… whether it’s a homemade gift, an item from the store, or even a hug, giving is a great way to make everyone smile! We are glad you enjoyed today’s Wonder! :)

  6. We do love the idea of giving. Right now we are preparing special poems for a guest to come to our Winter Breakfast. We will be honoring a loved one.

    • What a SUPER idea, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Walker’s class! We think your Winter Breakfast will be a WONDERful event for all to enjoy! Thanks for sharing your comment with us! :)

  7. Dear Wonderopolis,

    We like to give gifts to our family members including our pets. They are always so happy to get them.

    We think tomorrow’s wonder will be about boats or the Mississippi River because we learned about cruising down the river in music class when we sung about the Mississippi.

    Thank you for the wonders,
    Mrs. Witkowski’s 4th graders

    • We love that you’re remembering those furry, or sometimes drooling, family members– pets! Thanks for sharing your comment with us today, Wonder Friends in 4th grade! We are happy you’re here!

      You have a SUPER guess, too! Tomorrow’s Wonder is traveling by water! :)

  8. In order to give, you need a receiver. So when you don’t gracefully and easily receive, you rob the giver of his/her joy. I have learned this as an avid giver and reluctant receiver. Fair is fair. :D

    • It’s important to give AND receive graciously, you’re right, Zevoris! We think it’s really nice to be a giver of gifts, but be thankful for all the gifts we do receive, too! :)

  9. I love the feeling that they listed about the really good thing you worked on then give it to someone. It’s my favorite feeling.

    • How WONDERful, Jack! Thanks for sharing your very cool comment with us! We are proud of you for being a great giver of gifts! :)

    • Thanks for WONDERing with us, Porkipine! We think it’s a bundle of fun to have fun while you learn new, cool things! We’re so glad you’re here! :)

    • Not at all, Ally! It’s important to remember the balance between giving and receiving; it’s not a good thing when we only take and never give, but it’s also important to appreciate the thought someone else has put into giving you a gift! It’s fun to be on both sides of the gift, as a giver and as a receiver! :)

  10. I like to give to others and make them happy I try to give them something they would like including my friend Ally who would like a chocolate fountain. I WONDER how much it would cost or if they sell them?



    • That sounds like a very generous gift, Wonder Friend horse! We think it’s very thoughtful, too! We Wonder, just in case you can’t find a chocolate fountain, you can make Ally something else chocolatey! Perhaps a special hot cocoa set, with marshmallows and a special mug for drinking the delicious treat! :)

  11. It is better to give because sometimes people don’t have that much but they might want but don’t have. It makes you feel better and them too, sometimes it is good to give if someone gives you something then you should get something for them because it is always good to make a difference in people’s life.

    • What a great point, Tatum! We think it’s always kind to appreciate a gift you receive, but it’s also nice to give, too. As the saying goes, “It’s the thought that counts.” It’s not about what you give as much as it matters that you have thought of someone else and want to give them a gift- because they mean something to you! :)

  12. Even though I love to get presents, I do love to give. It makes me feel all happy inside. At school, me and my class, Mr. Bergen’s fifth grade class, we are doing a “Secret Santa” gift exchange. I am so excited for all the holiday cheer! Happy Holidays!

    :) :) :) :) :)

    • That’s absolutely WONDERful, Wonder Friend G! It’s important to remember why we give gifts– it helps others remember how much they mean to us! Your holiday cheer is spreading– our Wonder Friends are smiling! Have fun with your gift exchange! :)

  13. It’s fun to give to people.

    I’m working on a rose made out of duck-tape for my Mom. It’s not much, but, I know she’ll like it. That’s why I’m making it. 8-)

    • Hi there, Caelah! That sounds like an AWESOME gift! It’s from the heart and it shows off your creativity, too! Thanks for sharing your comment with us- we are glad you did! :)

  14. I am one of those people to like giving more than getting! I just really can’t stand kids never either giving, sharing, or just is not grateful for anything. I am grateful for everything in life that is living today even if they/it is bad and vicious.
    Sincerely Danielle :)

    • Thanks for sharing your WONDERful comment, Wonder Friend Danielle! We think it’s important to remember why we give gifts to one another! Sharing is also very important– it’s a great way to enjoy the holiday season! :)

  15. I used to like receiving, but when I read your wonder I liked giving. P.S. Can you make a wonder of how come lots of people in the world have the name Dylan?

  16. Thank you for a gift of WONDER yesterday Wonderopolis. We all agreed that it was better to give than to receive. So after watching the video you left us, which made us laugh a lot, we decided to draw some really unique presents that we could give away!

    As a matter of fact, we shared one on Twitter as a gift back to you!

    • We are so lucky to have great Wonder Friends like you, PA Kindergarteners! We are so happy that you were WONDERing about giving and receiving gifts– they come in all shapes and sizes! From actual presents to a hug, we think gifts of all kinds are great to give! We saw your picture, too! The colors and the bow are beautiful! Thanks for sharing it on Twitter! HOORAY! :)

  17. I am one of the people who enjoys giving more than receiving. I feel that every person in the world should get a gift because everyone has one of those bad days and people say that because of that one bad day that kids should not get anything. MERRY CHRISTMAS.

    • Hi there, Ashley B! We’re so glad you enjoy giving gifts so much, it’s very kind of you! We all have bad days and… maybe we aren’t always on our best behavior. But it’s important to try your best and be a kind, caring person! :)

  18. YO Wonderopolis!

    This was a great article!
    I think receiving is just as good as giving because either way one or both is satisfied. I think the scientists that study human psychology should actually do a survey on “is it better to give or receive”.

    Thank You,

    • Hey there, JJ! We’re so glad you enjoyed our Wonder about giving and receiving gifts! You have a great survey idea, too! We Wonder how giving gifts affects others?! :)

  19. Well maybe because it feels nice to give than having to take something that they buy for you. When you recieve something from another person it makes you get a little bit down and sadden up. The gift may be from someone who didn’t have enough money and problably used their birthday money for you when they really need it. It’s better to give, making them have whatever they need first. :)

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend Heidy! You did a SUPER job of sharing your comment about our giving and receiving Wonder! We are very proud of you!

      Thanks for sharing the importance of appreciating gifts, and also reminding us how great it is to share! :)

  20. I think it is better to give than to recieve because when you give, someone gets excited and you’ll feel happy. Also it is good deeds for you. So when you give it just is good for you.

    • What a great way to summarize why giving is just as WONDERful as receiving. Nice work, Jade! We think you’re really in the holiday spirit! HOORAY! :)

  21. My five year old friend said “I saw this on yo gabba gabba!” then sang along to the whole song. It IS so good to give a present.

    • Hooray! We’re so excited to hear that you and your friend have enjoyed WONDERing about whether it’s better to give or receive, Bobby! HOORAY for great Wonder Friends like you! :-)

    • We’re glad you thought this Wonder was AWESOME, Michael! We sure do appreciate hearing that! Thank you for stopping by Wonderopolis today! :-)

    • What a great point, Wonder Friend Olivia! We’re so glad you thought about what it means to give and how it makes others feel! Nice work! :)

  22. That video is so cool! I want to GIVE presents than to recieve one. I’m still WONDERing WONDERful questions. Thank You!!!! :)

  23. I really liked this WONDER question I also liked the video a lot. I’ll try to keep WONDERing.

    Do you have any videos about The Kraken or potatoes? I would like to laugh a little today hope to see you soon Wonder friends.
    Can you give me a list of WONDERS to look at? (I hope they are funny) (The ones that you guys recomend ) P.S I’m in Mrs. Hess’ class I like to wonder with them too.
    See you soon.

    Bye WONDERopolis
    You guys are the best

    P.S Do you guys have a skype account?

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Why is it better to give than to receive?
  • Does giving have health benefits?
  • What gift can you give someone this holiday season?

Wonder Gallery

GivingVimeo Video

Try It Out

Are you a cheerful giver? Most kids love to make homemade presents for their friends and family members in art class at school.

Take some time today to think of someone who could use a special little gift. It could be someone struggling with the loss of a loved one during the holiday season. Or it could be a neighbor who lives alone. Perhaps it’s a friend you haven’t seen in a while.

Think about what simple gift you could give or task you might perform to make them smile. It doesn’t have to be something you buy. You could make something for them. You could write them a letter or a card. Simply spending time with them might be the best gift of all.

Think of a person and a gift and then make it happen! When you freely give of yourself, you’ll find that it’s true. It truly is better to give than to receive!

Still Wondering

Science NetLinks’ Money Mentality Science Update podcast shares a study that explores whether money encourages self-sufficiency or selfishness.

Wonder What’s Next?

Set sail with Wonderopolis tomorrow as we cruise down the river!

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