During this time of the year we are all thinking about gifts. So many times we associate gifts with material items. We search the catalogs, malls, and stores to find the perfect gift, only to feel drained and tired. Shopping for gifts may not be as attractive as we thought.
Actually, it may not be the material item that is most important, but what it means to us. We want to express a grateful heart and love. There are many ways of sharing our joy for the loved ones in our lives. For example, Gary Chapman has spoken of five languages of love, of which material gifts are only one. The other love languages are acts of service, physical touch, quality time, and words of affirmation. Watch your loved ones and see if you can
determine language that resonates most with them, then give a gift in that language.
You might want to consider the following:
Physical Touch – Pass out hugs and kisses. They are very easy to give. It lets children know you care about them and is one of the fastest ways to show it. Even cool teenagers appreciate a quick arm around the shoulder and a squeeze when their friends aren’t looking.
Acts of Service – How about cooking? Try baking some foods you remember as a child and tell the family stories that go with them. You might want to note your children’s favorite foods and have a meal around those items. Or, you might want to have a cooking party, when your children or friends gather together to bake and have fun. This is also a great time to give and help out in the community. Check your local organizations for those that need help.
Quality Time – Spend time with your loved ones doing an activity you all enjoy. It could be reading a special book, taking time to listen to their favorite story, or going through photo albums. Your undivided attention is something that often is not put on a list. Nonetheless it is one we all appreciate and enjoy.
Words of Affirmation: You might want to create a poem, or just write up a story of what you have noticed and appreciated over the last year. It helps all to better appreciate who we are.
Physical Gifts. Gifts do not need to be pricy to become priceless. Many small items are meaningful. For example, for very young children, one of the most popular toys are blocks. They are fascinating to children because they can be used to create so many other structures. As we become older a small physical representation of a deeper quality of love can be most meaningful.
Once we become aware of the many ways in which our loved ones can appreciate our gratitude and love, we have many more choices than just shopping. Now isn’t that attractive?
Warm Regards, Dr. Alice