The end of the year is a time of reflection, togetherness and generosity.
Did you know that research shows 85% of Australians get more joy from giving gifts to others than receiving gifts themselves? Compared to receiving a gift, the positive feelings from giving last longer, increase our happiness and have other neural and emotional benefits.
Gift-giving has other positives, too, ranging from elevating activity in regions of the brain associated with social connection, pleasure and trust, all the way through to lowering blood pressure and stress levels.
To find out some of the most meaningful personal or philanthropic gifts they have given or received, we reached out to APS clients, friends and our Chairman, Chris Cuffe.
Lille Madden, friend of APS and First Nations director at Groundswell Giving, reflects on how gifts connect us to culture and Country.
"They [gifts] connect me back to myself as a person, my loved ones, and back to place."
‘I love gifts most when they are sentimental, personal and significant. They connect me back to myself as a person, my loved ones, and back to place.
I once made my mum a hand-woven basket (pictured above) from the weaving technique that was passed down to me by a Ngarrindjeri elder. This gift was particularly special because it meant continuing on this significant practice. One close friend gave me a digging stick from Arrernte Country. It reminded me of that place and served as a connection back to where my family is from.
Taking climate action is another gift that keeps on giving – not just back to one person, but to the Country in our care.’
Emily Albert, Executive Director of Alberts and The Tony Foundation, says it’s the gift of togetherness and connection that tops the list for her.
‘Last year, my husband and I took our two children out of school and went travelling around Australia. Spending the year in nature was so good for the soul and connection – to each other, to country and our broader community. It was a gift to get away from work and school and have that time together.
This year I’m focused on how we can bring joy and connection into our lives and the lives of others. We have so many lovely things, and we are very lucky, but the thing I really value is our time and experiences together.’
Jon Stretch, APS PAF client and Director of the Blueshore Charitable Trust, describes how meaningful it is to give towards preserving Indigenous language and culture for future generations.
"It was a really small gift with a massively meaningful benefit, so our family has kept on giving."
‘We supported the Indigenous Literacy Foundation in translating and publishing a couple of infants’ books in Indigenous languages. It wasn’t just about the joy they bought to the kids, but also the power of what it meant to provide a small bit of help in preserving the language and stories handed down from generation to generation in a 60,000-year-old culture. It was a really small gift with a massively meaningful benefit, so our family has kept on giving.’
Dinshaw Katrak established The Asha Fund, a giving fund of the APS Foundation. For him and his wife, seeing the impact in their lifetime makes giving even more worthwhile.
‘To me, the biggest joy of giving is the impact of giving money to someone I know is doing it tough.
While I want my work to continue after I die, my wife and I decided that we want to start giving it away now rather than leave money in our wills. I’ve got a giving fund with the APS Foundation from which I give to charities.
Most of the work I have done over the years is in India. My family helps us distribute anonymous donations to the neediest recipients and causes. Our dollar stretches so far there, and for a couple of the guys, it’s been quite life-changing.’
Chris Cuffe AO, APS Chairman and Portfolio Manager of the APS Foundation, shares the joy of an unexpected and thoughtful gift and a tip for connecting this holiday season.
"What can we all try and do to bring more joy this holiday season? Be positive with people and just take the time to hear their story."
Chris Cuffe AO
‘For my 60th birthday, a very close friend wrote on 60 separate cards different things she admired about me. It was completely unexpected, and I was chuffed that she had taken the time and thought to do that.
What can we all try and do to bring more joy this holiday season? Be positive with people and just take the time to hear their story.’
From the team at APS, wishing everyone a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.