Your Mom or Dad’s birthday is approaching on the calendar and you feel that sigh of frustration. What do I get her this year? In a society that has access to everything we need, it can be tricky to know what to get someone when he already has it all.
If you haven’t read it before, I would recommend reading the book, “The Five Love Languages”. In brief, the book highlights five areas that people typically fall into for expressing love and needing it from others. These areas are Quality Time, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, and Gifts.
These needs can change over time depending on which ones are being met. Someone might be great at giving Quality Time, but not encourage you with Words of Affirmation. So, in time, Words of Affirmation might move to the top of your needs list. You can get a general sense of what each category is about. However, I would still recommend you read the book for greater insight. If you don’t know what areas you fall under, you can take the survey here.
Okay, so why am I going on about “love languages” when I’m talking about getting someone a gift? It’s because you can give a much more thoughtful gift to someone if you know what their real needs are. And hey, it might even save you money!
I know that two of my moms’ love languages is Acts of Service. They appreciate others doing something for them. If we see a need without asking them and just do it, they are very grateful. Michael and I also know that they enjoy spending Quality Time with us. So, instead of buying a present they don’t need or really want, we get creative.
One of our moms’ birthdays was a couple weeks ago. Since we know she doesn’t care as much about gifts, we surprised her with a lunch in the park. We picked up her favourite burger and a special dessert, and had Dad drive her to the park. It was a work day so she was unsuspecting. We brought lawn chairs and had a wonderful visit. The surprise, treats, and quality time spent together made her day.
We weren’t sure what to do for Christmas for one set of our parents a couple years ago. We wanted to do something that was meaningful. Again, we knew that Acts of Service was high on their list. So instead of buying a gift, we created one. They have a cottage that has many wonderful memories for them. My sister-in-law is an artist and loves making miniature scaled creations. We asked her to help us make a miniature sized landscape of their cottage to keep in their house. It took months worth of work, but turned out amazing!
My parents were thrilled. It was still a gift, but the Acts of Service aspect came through when they saw all of the detail that went into making it for them. Overall, it didn’t cost much to make it as far as materials, but the time we put into it was more valuable to them.
If someone you love has a strong love meter for Words of Affirmation, write him a sincere letter. Write down things that you love and appreciate about him. What is it about her character that you value? What are some things that she does that you are grateful for? Highlighting a person like this and putting genuine and loving thoughts down on paper is something this type of person will treasure for years to come.
If you’re married and your spouse’s highest “Love Language” is Physical Touch, give him a coupon for a massage at a date of his choosing. Or, surprise her with a romantic night in. Light some candles, buy some flowers, set the mood, and then give her a wonderful massage. There can’t be any expectations on your part. You need to give this as a gift just because you love him or her.
Have your family take the survey and then keep their answers in a spot that you’ll remember. When special holidays roll around, look at the list and find creative ways to bless your family the way they like it most. Not only will it be a great gift, it’ll help your relationship grow closer together. It’s time to get those creative juices flowing and have some fun.