Finances

Creative Gift Ideas – Part 1

Are you having trouble thinking about what to get your loved ones this Christmas? Do they have everything they need? Are you tight on a budget? (No, this isn’t an ad for Christmas Comfort Boxes, but by all means, feel free to check them out!)

Since Michael and I have been on a budget and sticking to the goal of paying off our house, we’ve tried to be extra careful around Christmastime. It’s when we’re most prone to throw caution to the wind and go crazy buying gifts for everyone and the dog, literally. I think I enjoy giving gifts more than I do receiving them. I love to see the excitement on people’s faces.

Though we do make extra room to give to those in need, we try to limit our spending on those we know are okay. But we still want to bless our family with presents. It’s moments like these when we can give up and not get anyone anything or go over the top and break the bank. Neither feel good afterwards. There is another way.

I’ve mentioned before about the book, “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. Gary explains how every person responds to one of “five love languages”: Gifts, Quality Time, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, and Words of Affirmation. None of these are in any particular order. They can range differently for each person.

Michael and I considered our various parents’ love languages. We thought about how they respond to certain things. Some of them have taken the test as well, which helped. We then tried to think of different gifts we could give that fit within their love language and within our financial budget. It caused us to get creative.

We actually had more fun preparing their gifts than had we gone out and just gotten something we thought would be useful or that they might like. Here are some examples based on the various love languages:

Built a Cottage

We know that one set of our parents are huge into Acts of Service. They greatly appreciate it if you help with something that needs to be done, without having to ask. You should see the need and want to fulfill it for them because you love them, not out of obligation. It means a lot to them to know that you’ve taken time to do something and that you’ve thought of them throughout the process.

They have a cottage up north that is their pride and joy. It’s their sweet escape. It was built by my grandfather and father. My brothers and sister grew up there every summer.

My sister-in-law is an amazing artist. She is extremely gifted and creative. She came up to the cottage with us one summer and Michael and I told her our idea. Michael and her walked around the whole property and took pictures of everything.

Then, with her immense help, we all built a miniature replica of it for my parents to enjoy at their house. It’s part of the cottage with them at home when they can’t be there. We collected pieces of nature from there and incorporated it into the design.

Meals

We have another parent that is driven by Acts of Service and Quality Time. We know that she really doesn’t enjoy cooking. She graciously does it for her family, and might I add, is incredible at it! But she does it out of necessity. Christmas is always a very busy season for her. So, for the past couple of years, Michael and I have made a few meals for her as her Christmas present. We’ve made meals such as lasagna and shepherd’s pie. Dinners that she enjoys and can get a few extra meals out of. It’s helped her relax a bit more on busy days, which she has been grateful for. We’ve usually made one that we can enjoy together as well, so that she can get the quality time in.

Going Out for Dinner/Movie

One of our Dads is big on Quality Time. He’s happiest when the family is sitting around the table with him, sharing a meal together and getting caught up in great conversation. We’ve created little coupons for him, saying that we will take him out for lunch or to a movie or something in order to guarantee some special time with us.

Write a Letter

One of our dads is built up with Words of Affirmation. It is important for him to hear that he is valued and respected. That the little things he does for us is noticed. So, I wrote him a letter sharing some of the things I appreciate about him, character qualities that stand out, and things I treasure about him and I. Because this is one of his love languages, I knew that I really wanted to think about what to say. I knew that it would reach his heart, and I wanted it to be something he would cherish, something that would build him up.

Gifts

Some of our parents love gifts, though they don’t always like to admit it. Some people that have this love language are happy with a stick of gum given to them. But what really touches their heart, is if you’ve put thought into the gift you’ve chosen for them. It requires you listening to what they say throughout the year. Things that they are interested in doing. When you know that well, you can get something that is meaningful for them. Then they can treasure that gift and remember where it came from.

Physical Touch

Physical touch can mean a nice hug, a gentle rub, or a deep massage. I’m sure you’ve all experienced it at some point. That moment when someone goes out of their way to hold your hand or give you a meaningful hug/embrace. I consider it a gift when Michael offers to give me a massage when my back hurts. As a gift, he’s given me vouchers towards massages. He didn’t have to spend any money, but the thought and time he’s willing to take giving me one is enough for my “love tank” to fill.

Some of these ideas take months to plan and others are quick. But time doesn’t necessary matter. What matters is that you’ve thought about the receiver of the gift and what they would like. It shows that you love and care about them. You don’t have to break your budget to give someone a gift. Your gift can be free or of minimal expense. It’s just what speaks to the other person’s heart, regardless of what you might like.

I hope this has gotten your creativity flowing as you think about what to get your loved ones this Christmas. Enjoy the research and have fun watching their faces light up and their hearts fill with love as they open the gifts that show them you care.

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