Article image

15 Quotes About the Joys of Gift-Giving

Is there any better feeling than giving the perfect gift to a loved one? Sometimes we know the present we’ve chosen for someone will be a slam dunk as soon as we buy it, and other times we take a risk and wait nervously, only to revel in the recipient’s victory dance when the gift wrap is peeled away. Either way, giving the perfect present always seems to get our hearts pumping in the best possible way.

O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi” is a classic short story about the joy of gifting. Both halves of a young couple, Della and Jim, search high and low to get their partner just the thing for the holidays. To afford these coveted offerings,, each ends up selling their most valuable possession — for Jim, his pocket watch, and for Della, her beautiful long hair. This renders their gifts (jeweled hair combs and a watch chain) basically useless.

The story ends when the two discover their predicament. Rather than feeling anger or outrage, they fall into one another’s arms, more in love than ever after learning of their partner’s sacrifice for their own happiness.

This tale reminds us of the impact a gift can have on the recipient, the giver, and the relationship between them (as well as the importance of getting a gift receipt). In that spirit, here are 15 quotes about the many delights to be found in giving thoughtful gifts.

I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.
Maya Angelou

Share Quote

Purposeful giving is not as apt to deplete one’s resources; it belongs to that natural order of giving that seems to renew itself even in the act of depletion. The more one gives, the more one has to give.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Share Quote

If you haven’t got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.
Bob Hope

Share Quote

I began to see how making even the smallest effort to do something compassionate for someone else made me feel so powerful, yet so humbled at the same time.
Lindsey, essayist for “This I Believe”

Share Quote

When my parents or siblings opened a gift, I would anticipate seeing the light in their eyes, and what I perceived as the expansion of their hearts as they smiled wide, gaped, and hugged me. Their expressions conveyed vulnerability and emotion that I could never really give, or get, through words alone.
Paige Cohen

Share Quote

Although it might be tempting to spend [money] on yourself, a decade of research shows that you’re more likely to derive happiness from spending it on someone else. In fact, even people who are struggling to meet their own basic needs exhibit this “warm glow” from giving to others.
Elizabeth Dunn and Chris Courtney

Share Quote

You gave me / What you did not have, and I gave you / What I had to give — together, we made / Something greater from the difference.
Alberto Ríos

Share Quote

Giving is more joyous than receiving, not because it is a deprivation, but because in the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.
Erich Fromm

Share Quote

A good gift involves some sacrifice — money, time, or both. It shows that you understand and know the person and can surprise them.
Scott Rick, Ph.D.

Share Quote

I have told you the story of two children who were not wise. Each sold the most valuable thing he owned in order to buy a gift for the other. But let me speak a last word to the wise of these days: Of all who give gifts, these two were the most wise.
O. Henry

Share Quote

The joy of giving can uplift the saddened heart.
Jean Shepherd

Share Quote

Give. Give. Give. And do so cheerfully and freely. It is the energy behind the giving that matters, so do not give grudgingly. The law of cause and effect guarantees that you shall receive plenty for what you give.
David Cameron Gikandi

Share Quote

It seems to me that a cheap bag of crisps says a whole lot more than a gold necklace. It says, “You occupy such a vast space in my mind, I think of you so constantly, that my day-to-day life throws up constant reminders of you.”
Ali Pantony

Share Quote

I’ve found that giving gifts is transformative. It makes me better. It clarifies my thinking and allows me to do better work. I see things differently when I’m focused on opening doors for other people, and more often than not, my doors are opened as well.
Seth Godin

Share Quote

Presents are the best way to show someone how much you care. It is like this tangible thing that you can point to and say, “Hey man, I love you this many dollars’ worth.”
Michael Scott (Steve Carell) in “The Office”

Share Quote

Featured image credit: Arkhipenko Olga/ Shutterstock

Author image
About the Author
Christy Lee Barnes
Christy Lee Barnes lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and toddler son. She's a poet, educator, and an (extremely slow) trail runner.
Play more header background
Play more icon
Daily Question
What singer said, "Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind"?

More Inspiration

happiness theme icon

Be happy, take care of your teeth, always let your conscience be your guide.

separator icon
Patti Smith
motivation theme icon

Mistakes are part of the game. It's how well you recover from them, that's the mark of a great player.

separator icon
Alice Cooper
hope theme icon

What do you do when there's nowhere to turn? You drive straight ahead.

separator icon
Leslie Gordon
love theme icon

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

separator icon
Mahatma Gandhi
wisdom theme icon

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.

separator icon
Ron Shelton
happiness theme icon

Work doesn't work without play.

separator icon
Shonda Rhimes
motivation theme icon

Nice is different than good.

separator icon
Stephen Sondheim
hope theme icon

The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.

separator icon
Ida B. Wells
love theme icon

Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.

separator icon
Joan Didion
wisdom theme icon

It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.

separator icon
James Thurber
happiness theme icon

Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it.

separator icon
Lewis Carroll