If there’s one thing no one tells you when you grow up, it’s that gifts are an emotional roller coaster. Where we once got by with a hug and a few shoddy crafts, now we have to spend a lot of time (and money) on those around us. And whether or not you’re good at giving gifts, the pressure to deliver is much higher.
There are dozens of ways to approach the gifting process. You can take a deep dive into the recipient’s Pinterest boards, ask their friends, or even ask them directly, but if you want to put a sentimental touch on your gifts this year, we suggest you keep in mind the emotional language of the person.
For those who don’t know, affective languages or love languages describe how a person expresses and appreciates love. The five types of languages, as described by Gary Chapman in the 90s, include physical touch, words of appreciation, quality moments, services rendered and, finally, gifts.
And while they’re typically used to help manage communication in relationships, they can actually provide a rather useful framework for gift-giving, especially if you’re out of ideas.
Since we’re here to help, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to gift giving based on someone’s love language.
Words of appreciation
If a person’s love language is one of empowering words, they delight in verbal reassurance and proclamations of love. But that doesn’t mean a poem is the only way to make her happy at Christmas. As Moraya Seeger DeGeare , a family and couple therapist, explained to Refinery29, “People with this love language appreciate verbal encouragement, and like people to tell them very explicitly what they are doing that they enjoy or notice. “. Even if you’re not used to expressing your feelings verbally, you can always let someone else do the talking.
Watch thoughtful anthologies like Love Letters Of Great Men , made famous by Mr. Big in Sex and the City . If you feel like doing something DIY, spend the afternoon writing little messages and filling a jar with them for your recipient to read every day, or whenever he or she needs to. comfort. Or why not have their favorite quotes framed, or any other sentimental item? Handmade cards are always very popular.
The quality moments
If someone loves spending as much time as possible with you, chances are their love language is quality time. But more than just giving them a free slot in your calendar, these people appreciate a well-thought-out plan, something that shows you’ve made an effort to spend some time together.
That’s why activities that involve advance planning will hit them hard. Try to be creative and organize an experience to participate in, such as a pottery kit to make at home, a puzzle or a class that you can take together, such as a painting, tasting or cooking workshop. food. Concert or event tickets for something she or he will enjoy are also always a hit.
Or, if you know the person prefers to spend the afternoon with you, a DIY movie screening, a vacation booked somewhere, or even a carefully prepared picnic are sure to impress them.
If the person likes to communicate their love through touch, gifts may need to think outside the box a bit. For these people, sensory experiences are a great way to bring out their loving side while providing a real gift – hugs alone aren’t enough after high school.
If you’re looking for an experience, give it a tasting lesson, whether it’s wine , gin, or food. Private dance lessons are also a fun gift that will bring you closer.
Since literal gifts of affection are not always welcomed by the recipient, buying a new toy that he or she might not have thought to give can be something else, like a massage gun, bath bombs, advent calendar so you can both start the countdown to Christmas.
Often misunderstood, the language of services rendered not only refers to basic household chores, but also to going the extra mile for another person. To show love by services rendered is to help someone to make their life easier. As DeGeare says, it’s “being aware of all the things that need to be done, and doing something for that person.” This could be bringing you coffee in the morning, or arranging to fix or buy something you wanted to do but don’t have time for.
These people are usually quite practical and organized, so trinkets and fancy gifts may not be the best solution. If you have time to make homemade products, spend time creating a personalized coupon book of tasks or activities. Or, of course, a handy voucher. The trick to using vouchers well is to go into detail. I know it’s more convenient to offer a standard gift voucher that the recipient might need, but that’s not the most exciting thing to unbox. To keep the interest going, why not offer a voucher for their favorite bookstore or the place where the recipient likes to have lunch while working from the office?
And if you’re keen on giving away something you can wrap up and put under the tree, try to find upgraded versions of basic necessities, like luxurious linens, high-quality speakers, or even something that upgrades their hobbies , like a soft reading chair.