The joy of giving is real, according to a study. Research presented in the Journal of the Association for Psychological Science shows that those who give gifts are happier — and happier for longer — than those who receive gifts.
Researchers conducted two studies last year. In one, participants were given $5 every day for five days and were required to spend the money on the same thing each day. Some participants were required to spend the money on themselves, while others were required to give to someone else (like leaving money in a tip jar or making a donation to charity).
In a second experiment that was done online, participants played 10 rounds of a word puzzle game and each won 5 cents per round, which they could keep or donate.
In both experiments, participants reported their overall happiness. Those who donated their money showed that their happiness declined at a much slower rate than those who kept the money or spent it on themselves.
The results are especially interesting because according one of the researchers, Ed O'Brien of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, they conflict with past research.
"If you want to sustain happiness over time, past research tells us that we need to take a break from what we're currently consuming and experience something new. Our research reveals that the kind of thing may matter more than assumed: Repeated giving, even in identical ways to identical others, may continue to feel relatively fresh and relatively pleasurable the more that we do it," O'Brien said.
So for all the holiday gifts you give this season, expect to feel happy and know that that feeling is going to stick around for a while.
For some last minute gift ideas, shop the slideshow below!