Five Ways to Give a Gift: Part 3
By Sarah Clavin, Miller Swim School
For those of us who need the reminder … Christmas is just around the corner. It will be here in 10 days to be exact. That means all of you last minute shoppers had better get online or amazon prime and wrap up those Christmas lists! It also means we are in part 3 of the “5 Ways to Give a Gift” series. I hope you’ve found it helpful and insightful so far!
To review, we have covered gift ideas for the people in your life who are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. This week we will wrap up the gift guides with Acts of Service and Gifts.
Acts of Service describes people whose hearts swell at the thought of coming home to dinner on the table with the promise of an empty sink or a foot rub for dessert. If this sounds like you, you feel most loved when people do things for you, not just with you or to you. It means that, for you, actions truly speak louder than words.
For the person with an acts of service love language, completing the task well is just as important as the task itself. At its core, this language is about demonstrations of love. If someone can recognize all that you do on your own and wants to step in to help make your life a little easier, that to you, is real love. Their actions are actually less about the deed itself and more about showing you that they are on your team.
Sometimes, however, without proper communication, this love language can get a bad rap. These people can appear to be nagging and demanding. Since we can’t read their minds, Acts of Service people often need to communicate clearly what they need done and how they want it done, in order to feel most loved. Once you promise them something, forgetting or going back on your word can add stress and be seen as a lack of appreciation.
Here is your Gift Guide for the Acts of Service person in your life:
-Breakfast in bed
-Coupon for dinner on you (so they don’t have to cook!) one night
-Gift card for mobile car detailer
-Gift Certificate for a monthly cleaning service
-Automated Coffee Pot/Nespresso/Keurig
-Gift Certificate for a local Home Organizer
-Remote start for their car
-Help them take down their Christmas decorations
-Book a sitter for them to have a night out
-Make and take them their favorite holiday treat
The final (and perhaps the easiest) love language to cover is Receiving Gifts. This one is exactly as it sounds; the individuals who identify with Receiving Gifts see gifts as a symbol of someone’s love and therefore crave thoughtful and meaningful presents.
Of all the love languages, the act of gift giving is arguably the most misconstrued. To some, it can appear greedy or as if the recipient is fixated on things. That’s not necessarily the case. No matter how big or small, the gift itself is a symbol for “ I was thinking about you when I saw this. You were on my mind.” They don’t have to be big purchases, and they don’t have to be all the time. They are simply little reminders that you were thinking of that person and the tangible evidence to prove it.
In the case of someone who speaks gifts as their love language, not getting them a gift on an anniversary or special occasion would be acutely hurtful to them, as would approaching the gift-giving as more a chore than an opportunity. Similarly, for these people, a thoughtless gift is worse than no gift at all.
Here is your Gift Guide for the Receiving Gifts Person in your life:
-A Christmas bouquet for their dining room table
-Gift certificate to a place they’ve been wanting to try
-Goodie basket of their favorite treats
-Secret Santa or 12 Days of Christmas gifts
-Bring their favorite coffee by work one morning
-Mail them a card each month
-Make them a hat/pillow/blanket/coffee mug
-Create a memory book of things from your relationship; movie stubs, concert tickets, boarding passes, pictures
-Subscribe to Chatbooks for them
-Curated piece of art for their home
-Piece of jewelry from their favorite jewelry store
Remember, for these people, it’s truly the thought that counts! Over the years, receiving gifts has become my primary love language (a close tie with Words of Affirmation). Truthfully though, I enjoy giving gifts just as much (if not more!) than receiving them. I see this played out at Christmas time in full force. Every December some of the girls in my office put together a Secret Santa gift exchange. Let’s be honest here, I advocate heavily for this activity yearly!
Anyways, we draw a name and over a 4-week time period we get to secretly buy for someone in the office. It is one of my favorite times of the year when we intentionally focus on what someone else likes, surprising them with something little and thoughtful each week. If there wasn’t a spending limit I would probably go crazy with it because it makes my heart burst with joy to see them find their gift, open it up, and know that their secret Santa had purposefully purchased that JUST for them, that they were on my mind with each item placed in the bag.
As we finalize our purchases, wrap and give our gifts this season, I hope we remember why we give gifts at all. Thousands of years ago we were gifted hope, forgiveness and love. Much like many of us today, we didn’t deserve it, we didn’t earn it, it was free. A gift given out of unconditional love. So today, we continue the tradition and give to others as a symbol of God giving his son Jesus for us.