Photo: Ruven Afanador
Want to be happy? Give a little. Want to be happier? Give a lot. Research shows that simple acts of generosity boost our immune systems, relieve pain, even make our hearts stronger. But the people in these stories—from a woman with 150 names on her holiday gift list to an entire community of philanthropic surfers—didn't need scientists to tell them that.
The Benefits of Giving Back
6 Ways Giving Improves Your Health
We grew up being told that it's better to give than to receive. And now science has the proof. A guide to what's in it for you.
What Oprah Knows for Sure About Giving
"A gift is your way of expressing how you feel about another person." — Oprah
The Benefits of Giving Back
One of the best things you can do with your money is give some away. The payoffs of paying it forward.
10 Stories of Giving
4 Ways to Give Back While Living Your Dream
A jewelry maker who gives 100 percent of her profits go to charity. A cookie business that raises funds for pediatric cancer. Meet the real women behind these businesses, and find out how they've turned their dreams into reality.
How Much is Too Much to Give to Charity?
The bible tells us to give 10 percent of our earnings to charity. But what if you actually did it? A.J. Jacobs on the pleasure (and pain) of tithing.
A One Man International Aid Organization
The worldwide impact that one adventurous man can make. Get ready to meet Barton Brooks.
Surfing for a Cause
For surfers, philanthropy is genetic. And for Laird Hamilton, it was a reason to paddle 110 miles across the Pacific.
One Amazing Power Shopper
If you thought your holiday shopping list was daunting, consider this: Amanda Vega has 150 people—and counting—on hers. Here's how she gets it all done.
The Gift of Blood
Albert Fischer started donating pints of his O-positive when Truman was president, and has continued to do so every 56 days—for 58 years.
Could a Doll Really Have Special Powers?
The doll Mark Leyner gave his daughter for Christmas ten years ago refused to go away. Now his family can't imagine the holidays without her.
Where to Spend Your Money
Great Gifts that Give Back
We've sought out eye-catching and adorable presents with proceeds that go to charity. Here's where to shop for a change.
How to Give Smart
Before you open your checkbook, make sure you know where your money is going. Here's what to look for, or see these eight great charities we love.
Give the Green Way
Each year between Thanksgiving and New Year's, Americans pitch an estimated 25 million tons of extra trash. Here are five easy tips for wrapping green.
The Best Gifts of All Time
The Statue of Liberty, a priceless painting and more of the best gifts, well, ever.
Our Gift to You!
16 stumpers from puzzle mastermind Will Shortz.
From the December 2009 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!