Dr. Gary Chapman tells us that there are five love languages. These love languages define how we are most inclined to show love. Chapman claims there are five types of people; but for me, it boils down to just two. There are people who like receiving gifts – and those who do not.
I fall quite firmly into the second camp. I do not like presents. I rarely think of giving them, and I am uncomfortable receiving them. My language of love is present-less. Does this sound familiar? Maybe you know someone like me--maybe you are someone like me—and you need to figure out what the heck not-to-buy this holiday season. Thankfully, many intangible gifts are out there, along with a few presents that are not really presents at all.
Give (very) practical gifts – If you have to give a non-gift person a gift, aim for something either practical or edible. Nothing says I love you like natural all-purpose cleaner, a power saving plug, or reusable produce bags. Someone you know will be very excited about a 5-litre pail of household cleaner but do not give practical gifts to someone who likes gifts. She will cry and wonder why you don’t like her anymore.
Edible gifts can also work. As your English teacher explained, it is important to know your audience. As a kid who grew up thinking that rice cakes were a treat (the caramel ones kind of are, aren’t they?), a box of Fruit Loops under the tree was just about the best thing a girl could get. Today, you may have friends with slightly more refined tastes, but good, thoughtfully chosen food goes a long way when it comes to showing you care.
Spend time together – Time can sometimes feel like the hardest gift to give during this busy season, but it is well worth the effort. Take time to go for a walk, go to the movies, read to a child, go to the symphony … go somewhere or go nowhere, but do it together.
Say something nice – Kind words are a great way to show people you care. Call your grandma just for a chat. Write a long letter to a friend who is having a hard time. Smile and greet the weary store clerk. Say thank you, as you order your cappuccino. Words—spoken with sincerity—never go amiss; they mean so much, cost so little, are crazy easy to wrap, and … most often … words are the gift we forget to give.
There are many ways to show you care this holiday season. It comes down to knowing yourself and the people in your life.
Do Fruit Loops say, “I love you”? They do to me.
That is it for this week. After the holidays, look forward to part two of the great what to do about the fish debate that I left you with last month.