According to the theory “The 5 Love Languages,” each person has a different ranking of the following five manners of showing and receiving love: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.
What this means is that there is a whole set of people (myself included) for whom gift giving is the lowest ranking way in which we understand love. Shopping for, giving, and receiving gifts is a formality that we do not really equate with affection — even when the presents are mindful gifts.
How many of you also gape with utter confusion at the “Black Friday” shopping madness? Do you also stare blankly at people when they breathlessly proclaim “I’m almost done with my Christmas shopping!”? Does this holiday gifting frenzy also seem to you a massive suck of time, energy, and money?
So here’s the trick to revitalize your budget and relationships: Identify the people in your life who hold other Love Languages higher than Receiving Gifts, and make alternate gift arrangements with them. With these loved ones, give presents in the form of Quality Time (an exciting day trip or weekend trip), Acts of Service (baking or cleaning, or teaching them something), Words of Affirmation (a heartfelt letter, poem, or piece of art), Physical Touch (massage!) or another nontraditional gift form.
Not only will you save money and stress (and fistfights pummeling other holiday shoppers in the mall), but your loved one will also be happier and have a better understanding of how you care for them.
Further, reconsider the silly notion that “money is a tacky gift.” For people who hold Quality Time and Acts of Service higher than Receiving Gifts, giving them funds enables them to do what really makes them happy. Luckily, I married someone who has the same love languages ranking as me, and our wedding registry was a request to contribute to our travel and home-buying fund.
(We used Honeyfund for this, but there are several other online money gift registry services.) Thanks to these wedding gifts of the “universal gift certificate” (moolah) we are headed to India in less than a month!
So what is YOUR take on giving and receiving gifts, and on the holiday shopping frenzy? Is Receiving Gifts high or low in your Love Language ranking? Do you and your loved ones have a creative way of gifting? Comment and share!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is a 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 4.2 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!