15 Quotes About the Beauty of Giving and Receiving

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As the busyness of the holidays threatens to engulf us with parties and cooking, shopping and spending, we sometimes forget to savor the simple pleasures of caring for friends and family, and appreciating how our loved ones care for us. Take a moment to let these quotes inspire you to treasure the joys in both giving and receiving this holiday season.

15 Quotes About Giving and Receiving


“For so many centuries, the exchange of gifts has held us together. It has made it possible to bridge the abyss where language struggles.”
—Barry Lopez, About This Life


“If nature has made you for a giver, your hands are born open, and so is your heart; and though there may be times when your hands are empty, your heart is always full, and you can give things out of that—warm things, kind things, sweet things—help and comfort and laughter—and sometimes gay, kind laughter is the best help of all.”
—Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess


“Presents are made for the pleasure of who gives them, not the merits of who receives them.”
—Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind


“Remember, a book is always a gift.”
—Sheridan Hay, The Secret of Lost Things


“Gracious acceptance is an art – an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving…. Accepting another person’s gift is allowing him to express his feelings for you.”
—Alexander McCall Smith, Love Over Scotland

“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, Gift from the Sea


“The Dead Sea in the Middle East receives fresh water, but it has no outlet, so it doesn’t pass the water out. It receives beautiful water from the rivers, and the water goes dank. I mean, it just goes bad. And that’s why it is the Dead Sea. It receives and does not give. In the end generosity is the best way of becoming more, more, and more joyful.”
—Desmond Tutu, The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World


“It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding; and to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving.”
—Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet


“The mutual practice of giving and receiving is an everyday ritual when we know true love.”
—bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions


“A book has no unwanted calories and you don’t have to worry about sizes as long as the subject matter appeals to the recipient.”
—Sue Grafton, Y is for Yesterday

“Receiving is harder than giving, son. But gifts are made to be accepted.”
—Dani Harper, Storm Warned


“That was the nature of presents. You kept them in the giver’s stead. They were a small part of that person to keep.”
—Paul Magrs, Exchange


“He saw clearly, immediately, that the man didn’t care about the gift’s value, didn’t care about the gift even, but cared profoundly for the act of receiving as though the gift were a tribute, a confirmation of his self, his being, his reality. He found no pleasure in what he was taking but in the act of taking itself.”
—Ninotchka Rosca, State of War


“I have nothing to give but my heart so full and these empty hands.”
—Louisa May Alcott, Little Women


“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”
—Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now


Try these other posts to help you enjoy the season of giving:

12 Literary Quotes for Your Holiday Cards

Bookish Items for Holiday Gift Giving