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A Gift Shopping Secret to Save Money and Boost Love

Let us reflect on how we give gifts. (Hehe... couldn't resist the double meaning!)
Let us… reflect on how we give gifts. (Hehe. I couldn’t resist the pun!)

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.

Quality time makes me feel free and happy, while material gifts often feel heavy and confusing.
Quality Time makes me feel free and happy, while material gifts often exude heaviness.

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?

Gorgeously textured bark against a lake.
Ogling the texture of a tree by a lake with loved ones: Does this satisfy your Love Language?

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.

Ogling star-shaped neon green moss in the wild: another great gift.
Gazing at star-shaped neon green moss: another gift. (Does this also make you dizzy?)

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!

Giving funds to make Quality Time on a lake like this would be a great present!
Funds to have Quality Time in a spot like this would be a perfect present for some.

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!

For more beautiful fall photos, click here. For 9 more ways to save money, click here!

Beautiful ferns.
What will grow in our lives with a shifted gift-giving plan? More love and money, for one!


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Wednesday 7th of December 2016

This is an eye opener for me and I must admit I love the way you write.

I now know exactly what a perfect gift for Christmas should be. I love it :)


Friday 25th of January 2013

Your photos as just magnificent. And I love this discussion regarding ways we can show our love and affection. In the last few years, I have discovered how much people appreciate words of encouragement and validation. Physical touch is very important to me and sometimes I need to be reminded that not everyone appreciates my compulsion to touch them. In my top three list of ways to spend quality time is to cuddle on the couch in a dimly lit room with my darling wife and listen to music that is moving or romantic. Diane makes it easy for me to show her my love because she never fails to enjoy a pretty bouquet.


Saturday 26th of January 2013

Awww!!! So lovely!


Thursday 20th of December 2012

Quality time is the best gift I can give to my family. I've been working hard the whole year and Christmas is the best time to take a break and spend a vacation with them. I couldn't add more to your post but to thank you for sharing this.


Thursday 20th of December 2012

Yay for quality time!


Tuesday 18th of December 2012

These are beautiful words Lillie and I so totally agree.

This year I approached my family to change the mass of material that changes hands with perhaps donations to various charities etc. I didn't quite get consensus but we are one step closer in that we each only receive one gift. I am full up with STUFF.. and would far rather be experiencing or donating to help the lives of others.


Tuesday 18th of December 2012

Yes yes yes!


Sunday 9th of December 2012

Lillie, this is such a nice post! It sometimes seems that people care too much about giving gifts. I'd much rather do something meaningful and memorable like cook a nice meal together or go on a trip. :)


Sunday 9th of December 2012

Thanks so much, Cheryl!

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