Years ago I read a book called “The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman. Through Dr. Chapman’s book, I learned several valuable lessons about myself and about my relationships, both past and present. I learned that my primary love language is gifts. I love to give gifts. It is one of the primary ways that I show others that I love them. I love to receive gifts, too. When someone takes the time to find and give me something that they feel I would enjoy, it makes me feel quite cared for.
My husband is not naturally a “gifts” person. He is an “acts of service person,” meaning he expresses his love by doing for others. (He makes me coffee every morning and does all of my laundry for me). He feels loved when I make him dinner or do work that benefits his office.
We recently had a conversation about our love languages. Somehow, I had failed previously to convey that a gift need not be expensive or complicated to make me feel loved. I gave him the example of the french-milled “real” soaps that I love. While they may be expensive for “just soap,” in the grand scheme of gifts, they are a BARGAIN at $3.00 – $5.00. I had a new bar of soap in my hands moments later, and I have enjoyed it immensely.
A sales rep that I had not seen in many years learned from my secretary that I can’t eat gluten, so her usual gift of bagels was something that I could not consume. She took the time to ask my secretary what I enjoy. My secretary told her that I love tea, and gave her some examples of the types of tea that I enjoy. The sales rep came to our appointment with a beautiful gift bag full of some of my favorite teas. I felt cared for. It cemented my relationship with her company.
Speaking of secretaries…I have the best. Knowing my love for tea, she lovingly trots across the parking lot to the little coffee shop across the street on a regular basis to bring me back a hot cup of earl gray or English breakfast tea. Although I have a huge stash of tea here at the office, she brings me a cup that someone else prepared.
As our family has grown, a large part of our family Christmas has become the exchange of homemade gifts. I’ve enjoyed homemade cheesecake, homemade vanilla extract, gorgeous plates of cookies, gluten-free brownies, handcrafted wine, and lovingly crocheted doilies and afghans.
There is no greater way for me to relax than to sit in the “zen den” that my husband lovingly created just for me and wrap myself in the loving hug of an afghan crocheted by my mother while sipping a cup of tea brewed from a gift out of a teacup chosen just for me.
Thoughtful gifts are becoming a lost art as gift cards become a common place item. I’ve been guilty many times of dashing to the store at the last minute for a fistful of plastic cards. This year I’m going to remember to keep it simple and give thoughtful gifts that my loved ones can enjoy throughout the year.
While there’s nothing wrong with presenting an elaborate or expensive gift if your budget supports it, I love the simple gifts. Kids… you’re off the hook!