Finding the Real ‘Joy of Giving’ During Christmas, even When You’re Pressed for Time

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Emotions of Giving radar chart
This chart shows the emotions of giving through a graph. The study analyzed used an algorithm on 10 million tweets to determine what emotions are associated with giving.

SEATTLE, WA (December 17, 2016) — As children we’re often taught that ‘giving is better than receiving’ or that ‘giving makes us feel good’.  A new study by World Vision shows that well-known teaching is actually true, but that it’s also a bit more complex than that.

Studies have shown that giving often makes people feel some kind of happiness and it has been demonstrated that happy people give more. But what kind of gift translates into the ‘joy of giving’? World Vision worked with an algorithm studying 10 million Tweets over a period of time to determine what emotions people feel when giving or receiving. Then researchers averaged the emotional scores for all the Tweets (sorting by anger, joy, fear, sadness, and disgust). Their findings show this complex web of emotions when it comes to giving including:

  • In order to feel good about giving, it involves us feeling sadness/empathy too. The joy of giving is a complex emotion.
  • Giving within your means and within your values makes you feel just as much joy as receiving something.
  • You don’t need to give everything you have in order to feel good about giving. The very gesture of goodwill is enough to bring positivity into our lives.

For many people, finding a gift that would check all those boxes may feel like a tall order with less than a week to go until Christmas. But World Vision’s Gift Catalog provides presents that can to be tailored to fit any passion – be it animals, business or even fishing – all while staying in budget. Gifts can be purchased online without braving long store lines and printed out the same day.

“We want people to feel that ‘Christmas glow’ that comes from giving the perfect gift to the one you love. But the presents in our catalog are meant to go well beyond that to changing a life in meaningful and tangible ways,” said Cheryl DeBruler, World Vision’s Gift Catalog Manager. “Whether it’s providing a livelihood and step out of poverty for a mother or helping a family here in the U.S. with food during natural disasters, with just a click and print, people can give a gift that will have an impact long after the holiday season.”

Gifts in World Vision’s Gift Catalog range from $16 (the price of an average t-shirt) to $39,000 and can be purchased in a loved one’s name. When an individual gives through the Gift Catalog, they can make the donation in the name of a loved one and immediately print or mail a card describing the gift’s impact. Here are some of the gifts featured in this year’s catalog:

Give a goat: Every year, goats are one of World Vision’s top-selling items. They are a gift that keeps on giving, feeding hungry families often for 10 years or more. One goat provides a family with up to 16 cups of milk a day, and the extra milk can be sold at the local market, providing a regular source of income for the family. When you give an animal such as a goat ($75), chickens ($25) or a pig ($205) to a family in need, the offspring are often shared with others in the community – changing generations of lives with your gift.

Help in the world’s most broken places: While shoppers in the United States line up for holiday deals, refugees from Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic will be lining up for food. For as little as $10, less than the average price of a t-shirt, you can feed a refugee child for a week with World Vision’s new food kits for refugees.

Fight poverty in America: Here in the U.S., one in four children lives in poverty. A gift as simple as diapers can have a profound impact. Diapers are not covered by government support programs. Most childcare centers require disposable diapers, so without them, parents can’t go to work. Giving the basics such as diapers ($45), a food kit ($18) and school supplies ($50) can help lift a family out of poverty.

For more than 20 years, the World Vision Gift Catalog has become one of the most popular gift-giving alternatives for families across the United States. In fiscal year 2016, more than 112,000 people donated more than 274,000 items from the Gift Catalog helping people around the world. To order from World Vision’s Gift Catalog, visit or call 855-WV-GIFTS. Want to see where your dollars go? Check out this video from World Vision to learn more.

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About the World Vision Gift Catalog

Since 1996, the World Vision Gift Catalog has given people the opportunity to better the lives of children, adults and communities in the U.S. and around the world through hundreds of gifts in all different areas of need: clean water, food, education, sexual exploitation, job training and others. In fiscal year 2016, more than 112,000 people donated more than 274,000 items from the Gift Catalog that helped people around the world raising nearly $28 million. To order from World Vision’s Gift Catalog, visit or call toll-free at 1-855-WV-GIFTS. 

About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.


  • To feel good about giving, study shows there needs to be some sadness and empathy involved.
  • Study found that giving within your means and within your values makes you feel just as much joy as receiving something.
  • World Vision’s Gift Catalog allows gift givers find ‘feel-good’ presents that change lives all while shopping at the last-minute without leaving home.