Season of Giving…Maybe

When November rolls around (arrives as usual), people start talking about “the season of giving,” a time around Thanksgiving (celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November) and Christmas (December 25th). Thanksgiving brings to mind (makes us think) all of the things we are grateful for and about those people and families who are doing without (without the things they need), and December is the time we think about those we care about and of gift-giving.

It’s not surprising, then, that this is also the time of year when organizations send out the most solicitations (notices asking for something) for donations (money to help a cause or organization) and other support. A recent study in the science journal Nature reported in the Los Angeles Times suggests that people are inclined to help (naturally want to help) others, but the longer they wait, the less likely they are to give.

In the study, people were given some money and asked to donate to a group project, and the total amount would be split evenly (divided into equal parts) among the four group members. Those people who were given less time to decide gave more. The researchers concluded that the people in the study were inclined to contribute (give), but time made people less willing to go through with it (finish what they started to do or what they intended to do, especially after a period of being unsure about wanting to do it).

Have you found this to be true based on your experience? Do you, or other people you know, tend to give less when given the time to think it over?

I’m going to test it right now. I feel like giving away $1 million. But first, I’m going to take a nap. We’ll see how I feel about it afterwards.

~ Lucy

Picture Credit: Belisaire demandant l’aumone (Belisaire asking for alms) by Jacque-Louis David from Wikipedia

This entry was posted in News and Current Events. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Season of Giving…Maybe

  1. Breno Cavalcante says:

    Oh! I think it’s true! Sometimes i want to spend money anyway or even contribute to something but, if i wait a moment, i give up this idea!

  2. Lili says:

    Hi friends.I think its completely on the money. It might be due to when we are asked to help the others at that moment without any thinking we say yes but thats our unconciouse conscience which has been learnt whats right so you say yes and feel proud bc in your mind you have an idea that ITS ME who can save other and thats all but after few hours you get out of your unconscious mind and you think about all the things that you can do with that certain amount of money to enjoy but suddenly you stop bc you feel unhumoral then instead your mind goes after all the financial problem you have so you remember how many bills you have to pay,how much you are in debt and…finally you even may get angry with them and think why should i pay?there are so many people richer than me or why dont they work as i do .now you feel better bc you have enough excuse not to loose your money and think i might do it next time its never too late

  3. Peter says:

    They are just impulse decisions. When the moment passes you never go for it.
    For some reasons , one may get all worked up and decide to donate sth.

  4. parviz says:

    Hi every body
    Thanks Dr Lucy,
    I think this is true for all of us, when it comes to give away some money for good, we give it serious consideration. Our subconscious mind loves to act maturely that is it is intrinsically inclined to help. our subconscious mind likes speed, and also, works by laws, and as you know universal lows are always work perfectly. when donate some money in short time or you are given a short time to decide our subconscious does the work. in contrast, when we have plenty of time to decide, our conscious overcome the subconscious mind, take control over the whole thinking mind. conscious mind is rational mind, which may make error in judgement, stopping us from what we were/are going to do.

    Making decision is a very important task that, unfortunately, we never come across in school. To compound it, most of our teachers ( apart from Dr Jeff and lovely Lucy) don’t know what it is let alone to teach it.

    best wishes

  5. emiliano says:

    No doubts about that Lucy, it happens to me frequently when some of the Charity Organizations where I use to give some
    money along the years ask me for increase the amount monthly because as the time goes on the amount means less for them.

    First thought I have it is always to encrease these amounts, but if I await some days to send the envelope at the end I do
    nothing. It is a shame as there are a lot of necessities out there in the world.

    If I want to help somebody or Organization it must to be immediately without any time to think about the subject.
    But it is usually always the same about nearly everything, I have to act not to think too much.

    The record is buying the flat where we are living now in less than five hours, but after that
    in the other city where we were living while our flat in Madrid was being built I went to a walk and after two hours I have
    changed our house over there to a better one close to the sea and the beach.
    I phoned Cuca about the subject and she told me “act as you want” as it was not possible for her to go a see the new
    flat at the momment.

    It was a very good decision as being a good flat it was easy to buy it when the “house bubble explode here in Spain”, well
    we could sold it a little before the the great collapse of construction.

    Thank you Lucy, it is so good to be here again you know it perfectly well.


  6. emiliano says:

    Sorry, to “buy It” NO………….I want to say “to sell it”….the flat in Alicante.
    My English is going down with so less practice, nearly I have forgotten everything.

  7. emiliano says:

    Dear Lucy, just in this moment I need to thanks………..I do not know to whom?
    May be to God?.

    Despite I do not have to much faith, even so, I am very grateful to Him
    and I do not care about other posibilities.
    To believe or not believe that is an important matter, but today I prefer to believe
    because I feel better this way after being so bad along a great period of time.

    I know perfectly well that some close friends that have firm faith, also Cuca that
    has it, have been praying for this disastrous man who is me.

    A big thank you to all of them, because yes I am feeling better day after day and
    fight avery moment to improve my mood.

    Thanks Lucy, thanks Jeff, thanks every one of you friends of the Blog and of course
    other friends from here my place of living.
    It is possible this Christmas I have the best gift a person may have……
    Just the desire to keep on living.

    So, there is hope to a lot of people who are going through a deep depression, after
    all going out from the fog is possible.

  8. Vito says:

    Thanks, Lucy, hope you are shining and doing well.

    I have never donated money, but not because I’m stingy or something like that, no, I just do not have enough spare money to contribute.

    Sometimes it’s better to be poor than to possess millions. Great responsibility overwhelms you when you are (extremely) rich and have a lot of ways to make use of your wealth.

    Now I have to go, wish you a great weekend.

  9. Betty says:

    Dear Lucy

    Thank you so much for this interesting topic.

    I am very sorry I had not written for a long time. I think writing here is kind of a contribution to this blog. We either write immediately after we read the newly uploaded article or we don’t write at all – just like donating money.

    That’s one of the reasons I am writing now before I tell myself that: “it is too late to write, wait for the next article and write something then”. Of course, this way of delaying action can go on forever and we end up achieving nothing.

    I always donate on impulse. I think it is better that way. Thinking too long means it is not from our heart. Sometimes it is better to let your heart rule your head.

    Emiliano was right when he said “it is usually always the same about nearly everything, I have to act not to think too much”.

    Marriage is a perfect example of this kind of behavior – you think for one more second, and you will chicken out. I believe that more and more people never married in Asia because they think too long. On the other hand, more and more people divorce because they don’t think long enough.

    I am only joking. Please don’t take me too serious. It is very important to be able to take a joke.

    Lucy I think if a person wants to donate money for a good reason, time should not water down the desire to help other people.

    My father was once in an intensive care unit of a hospital. After a long period of sedation, he woke up and he found out from the TV news about the earthquake in China. He asked his doctor to help him ring up the charity hotline because he wanted to donate money to the disaster relief fund.

    The doctor tried to help my father, but my father could not remember the PIN number of his bank payment card. So the doctor asked him to do it later when his children were available to help him.

    After he was discharged from the hospital, the first thing he did was to donate HK$3,000 to the charity fund. He was so old, and he had a long time and a lot of chances not to donate the money, but he did not let it happen, he asked my sister to help him donated the money which he promised.

    My father was never a very rich man because he donated money and gave money to other people all his life. His children never lived rich people’s life, and every one of them worked hard all their life.

    However, I am sure that my father and his children are rich in their hearts.

    Money comes, money goes, only a righteous action and a rich heart last forever.

    Sorry everyone, time to give gift and so I must go.

    Best wishes to you all.

    Betty 🙂

  10. Øyvor Steinsheim says:

    Hi Emiliano!
    I read your touching post and felt like giving you a hug..and thanks to you!

  11. Dan says:

    Hello guys,

    Can you believe that just yesterday I was in the frontyard thinking at what to do and I have spotted a few primroses!

    Inevitably came to my mind the issue of climate change. Later on in the afternoon listening to NPR I have heard that in Chigago there was anusually warm weather.

    Today we have seen the first snow of the season. Not too much though, just a couple of millimeter.

    Hi Lili

    Do you remember that website you wanted to know about?

    Well, I am trying out this website called mylanguageexchange. There you can find penpals or even chat via Skype.
    In my case I want to chat with Americans that are interested to learn Italian.
    It seems interesting. It is not all out of charge and it has its challenges.

    I have already had a couple of convesations with a gentlemen from North Carolina. A professor of psychology at the university.
    He speaks a good Italian so that makes things easier. He’s from California.


  12. Betty says:

    Hi Dan

    Thank you for telling us the story of you and the American professor who wants to speak Italian.

    I am very impressed with your attitude towards learning English.

    After reading your message about the website which allows you to exchange language with people who wants to speak a foreign language online, I searched the website and read some comment/review about it.

    There is no need for me to go online to speak English with strangers. I have three native English speakers at home. They are my own three kids. They went to best schools available to us and they all achieved top marks for their English exams.

    It was not without frustration when they tried to talk to me in English when they were very little. Their mother could not understand them. She was so slow, and she hardly knew the ordinary everyday English.

    Although I studied in good universities in England and obtained some good qualifications after many years, and I could write in English to pass all the exams, I could not speak in English to persuade people that I actually possess the language skill.

    Now I have a whole head of grey hair and a whole heart of great humour. They might be a result of trying to learn to speak English from Lucy’s great humourous scripts. I spend so much time improving my English skill that I don’t have time to take care of my appearances.

    I don’t care what people say, I am happy. I can understand my children’s conversation more now. Sorry folks, you might find it strange why don’t I converse with my children in Chinese. I can’t understand why they can’t speak Chinese neither.

    My son tried to speak Chinese to his English classmates when he went to school as a little boy.

    One day he came home after school, he told me that he would not speak Chinese any more. He found that no one in his school used the language.

    I admit I was not a clever mother. I should have told him that that’s the language that we could use at home. I should have told him many reasons to keep speaking the language. Instead, I let him talked me into accepting him talking to me in English. He lost his Chinese speaking skill before I noticed.

    We are a truly bilingual family. The children speak English while listening to the parents talk in Chinese, and the parents speak Chinese while listening to the children speak English. At least we can understand each other.

    I am working hard to catch up with their English, I doubt it that they can catch up with my Chinese. Compare with Chinese, English is a much more difficult language to learn.

    That’s the story of “me and my English”.

    Thanks again, Dan, it is always a pleasure to read your comments.

    Best Regards

    Betty 🙂

  13. Betty says:

    Oops, sorry I made a mistake in my post above.

    “Compare with Chinese, English is a much more difficult language to learn”.

    It should be read as: “Compare with English, Chinese is a much more difficult language to learn”.

    Thank you for your attention.

    Betty 🙂

  14. Dan says:


    Wow, Betty could you please ask your husband whether he’s gotten tired of you I am gonna marry you immediately. 🙂

  15. Peter says:

    Dear Betty ,
    Thanks for the clarification.
    For one second or two, you got me there,sis:)
    I hear Chinese langue has over 100 different dialects. Given that ,Chinees must be the most difficult language to learn ,there is.

    It is the most popular one as well , in the sense that there are more than one billion people out there speaking at least one or two of the Chinese-based dilacts.
    I don’t mean to pry Betty. Just out of curiosity , how many dialects can you speak?

    I hear Chinese language is a combination of sounds not words.
    What does it mean?
    I really appreciate if you brief us on Chinese language here , on blog.


  16. Peter says:

    Guys ,
    In one of the earliest learning guid entery,English Cafe 38. in the English learning tips section, Lucy clearly suggests what our good friend Dan encouraging us to do -that is ,finding a language partner.
    The idea is that you find an English speaker who are interested in learning your own language then you run a conversation first one language the the other for ,say, 15 minutes each.
    She even provides us with some websites we can find a partner there. One of the site she suggests is ” part of Skype” that Dan suggested here.


  17. Carolina Oliveira says:

    Well, I think it doesn’t matter how much money people have, they always tend to think that it’s not enough so that they can’t donate it.
    When I start being selfish about money or other things, I remember there are a lot of people out there suffering. Yet sometimes I don’t agree with the way some charity organisations work as well as with people who wants to live on the charity and seems not to want to make some money on their own. My parents are volunteers at a church and I see it happening a lot.
    Anyway, I think what Lucy said is absolutely true: we’re more willing to give when we don’t think about it. And it also works in other situations: when we have time, we start wondering and having second thoughts. Thinking twice is good, of course, but sometimes it makes us indecisive.

  18. thanassis says:

    Hi everyone,I donate money to MSF organization that means Doctors without frontiers.Every month i give automatically from my count in the bank a sum to support the act of this organization to help people in the third world but not only there.However i am suspicious when someone tends his hand seeking for help,then i think if probably he laughs at me and the little goes on.Maybe someone thinks that i dont care of the money when i do the good act,but things there are not so.I dont say on the other hand, that now i sleep quietly in the nights that i have done my obligation.It must always feel , and not know,if your help goes to a good reason or not,and believe me more times i was laughed.Thanks to Jeff and Lucy to give us such wonderful podcasts and sentimental writing in the blog.To beautiiiiiiiful Los Angeles Merry Christmas, and to everyone in the world. PS.I dont hoped in the begining to write such a lot.

  19. emiliano says:

    Dear Carolina and thanassis, you are new blogers to me and I would like to say you welcome friends
    to this site the besto to learn English and have good friends.

    Talking a little more about this subject I think that some time necessities are just in front of us but
    it is too easy to look other side. Your parents Carolina are not seeing to other side if the are volunteers, as
    they are doing the best they can do helping people near the place they live.

    Now here in Spain there are a lot of volunteers helping other people of their place, their city, the best
    way they can: working for others and also giving as much money as they can, just a little is enough.

    By my side I would like to be volunteer but here at home I have a lot of things to do, all the chores
    and looking after my dear Cuca that needs me more than the air to breath.
    But, if i look close near to me, ne to home, I always could see people that need my help very very
    Some times, frequently in fact, they need money to pay the electricity, or the rent, or other invoices
    but also they need to be heard by a person close to them, or learn how to do something.
    In Madrid there are hundred of thousand people that have come from Latino America or other east
    countries of Europe that Know nothing about the laws here, where to go if they have a problem, what
    to do if they are dismissed without compensation, and so forth.
    So by my side always if I can do something about these subjects with people close to me, neighbors,
    or simply know, well I try to help them because I am Spanish, borned in Madrid, old enouhg to
    know a little about different things, and usually I know what to do or where to go to make a claim.

    One of our best friends know is a peruviam woman that for Cuca and for me is like a grown daughter´
    and now she is helping me, us, with her work at home. Taking care of Cuca and me, but I knew her
    since more than five years.
    Being alone in a foreign country she needs support, advice and love.
    Always she said Cuca and me are like her family in Spain.
    By the way she have three sons an her mother in Peru, she came here to send money to her
    family over there, the same as thousands and thousand of inmigrants who came to Spain
    before the crisis.
    These people now are close to be desperate, far from home, without work, without a flat, without
    food some times, and surrounded by other who see them like competitors to have a
    work to survive.

    More or less this is the cruel reality here in the south of Europe.
    Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal…..and so on are going through a real cruel situation, more
    difficult from the people who came before when Europeans think they were rich.

    Well I think I have written too much, as I use to do some month before.

    My best to you dear Carolina and thanassis.


  20. thanassis says:

    Thanks for the good words from the part of Emiliano,i think we have similar opinions about the situation specially in Southern Europe.Greece has now to face the great waves of crisis,however like latinoamericans in Spain,there are in Greece inmigrants from the poor countries of Asia,those who had believe that they arrived in a rich Europe and they found a disaster economic and racism.We must help them,is difficult but we must prove that we are human beings.Dear Emiliano todos los de Europa del Sur debemos ser unidos.Un saludo a todos.

  21. emiliano says:

    Kalimera dear thanassis, for your name i thought you were born in Greece, one of our best friends
    when Cuca and me where living in Torrevieja, Alicante, was born also in your country.
    Nice and very interesting woman “Maria” married with a Spanish man.
    Too close friends in that years because we were living in the same building one up the
    stairs of the other.
    Estoy de acuerdo contigo, los paises del sur de Europa nos tenemos que unir, y si
    quieres ver mis opiniones busca mi blog “desembuches” está en español, pero creo
    que entiedes este idioma.
    I am very interested about what is happening in your country.
    Efgaristo, adio


Comments are closed.