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Getting or Giving?

Giving and receiving at Christmas

by Helen Bryant

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


Getting or Giving?To consider that Christmas is about giving as well as receiving.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Getting or Giving?) and the means to display them.


  1. Show Slide 1.

    Ask the children how they feel when they look at the picture.

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Most of the children probably describe themselves as feeling excited. Christmas is an exciting time. All of us love to get presents!

  2. Ask the children whether any of them have made Christmas lists. Ask if anyone wants to share their list.

    Listen to a range of responses. You may wish to share some of the things on your own list!

  3. Express that all of the ideas sound wonderful and that you hope that on Christmas Day, none of the children are disappointed.

    Ask the children whether they have ever been disappointed by a present that they received. Maybe they already knew what they were getting, so there was no surprise, or maybe they had been really hoping for a particular present, but were given something else instead.

    If possible, share one of your own experiences.

  4. Show Slide 2.

    Point out that people often spend a lot of time thinking about gifts that they are going to give each other. Sometimes, they might get it wrong, but we should still be grateful.

    People give us a gift because they care about us, so every gift that we receive, no matter how much we like it, is special: it shows that someone cares for us.

  5. Explain that although receiving gifts is great, there is also the other side of gift-giving. When we give a present and see a face light up in surprise or excitement, there is no better feeling. To know that we have given someone we care about such joy and happiness is a wonderful feeling.

  6. Of course, the gift doesn’t have to be a large one. Sometimes, the smallest of presents - or even something that we have made ourselves - can be just as well received, if not more so.

    Ask the children whether they have ever made a card or present for someone. Point out that giving a gift that has taken time and effort to create might be just the thing to make someone happy.

    Sometimes, it really is better to give than to receive.

  7. To give something and not to count the cost is an important idea. Your gift might even be something as simple as your time. Sitting with an elderly relative and talking to them may not feel like gift-giving, but it could be that, if they haven’t spoken to anyone all day, it is the only gift that they really want. This is especially true this year because so many older people have been stuck inside for months during lockdown.

    Likewise, sitting down and taking the time to tell our mums or dads about our day isn’t a gift that has any monetary value, but I imagine that they would appreciate the effort and time that we have taken. In the same way, spending time playing a game with a younger sibling may mean more to them than buying them a packet of sweets, although that probably wouldn’t be a bad thing either!

    Giving something of ourselves to someone can speak volumes; a hug, a touch of the hand, a smile or a ‘thank you’ are all things that we can give freely and they don’t cost us a penny.

  8. So, this Christmas, let’s think about the gifts that we can give to others rather than how much we can get for ourselves. Let’s look to experience the joy of giving.

Time for reflection

What could we give to others that costs no money, but would mean a great deal to those who receive it?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Dear God,
At Christmas, we remember the gift that you gave to the world: the gift of Jesus.
Please help us to learn that it is better to give than to receive.
Please help us to enjoy giving this Christmas, whether we give presents, time, kindness or love.


Any Christmas song.

Publication date: December 2020   (Vol.22 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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