The Art of Gift Giving
The last Christmas that I spent in my parents’ home was in 1982. This was their first Christmas in their retirement dream house. It was “perfectly” (Who needs an access road when you have a golf cart?) situated on a golf course in central Florida. Being New Englanders, spending Christmas in hot weather was a little disconcerting. The gifts, however, were more troubling than the weather.
My younger brother asked for cross country ski knickers or a sleeping bag. He got Pyrex baking dishes. I asked for a Lanz nightgown. I got a sweater scraper and a lamp that turned on when you slapped it. My oldest brother asked for a Beatles’ album and he got a clipboard that held your fish while you scaled it. My other brother asked for art supplies and he got a deluxe combo ice scraper/snow brush for his car…particularly useful since he lived in Orlando. He also got a slap-it-on-and-off lamp. I gave him mine so he could have a matched set.
It is obvious to me now that my parents had never read Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages. The basic premise is that we express love in the way that we want to receive it. There are five love languages: acts of service, quality time, words of affirmation, gifts and physical affection. Since gift giving is a way of expressing love, we tend to give gifts that speak our own love language—not necessarily the same language as our loved one.
So if your loved one is an “acts of service” person, the shiny new luxury vehicle with all of the bells and whistles means very little relative to the simple act of washing the current car. Other acts of service could be taking out the trash, throwing dirty laundry in the hamper, emptying the dishwasher, or making breakfast. Your “acts of service” person will feel doubly loved if any of this happens without them having to ask for it.
If your loved one is a “quality time” person, a date night or a pre-arranged weekend getaway would be perfect. The operative words are quality—without interruption or distractions such as television, mobile phone or computer and time—spent together. If you are a diehard multi-tasker, your loved one may become very suspicious of this new found authentic presence.
If your loved one is a “words of affirmation” person spend some time and pick out the perfect card.
If your loved one is a “receiving gifts” person—pay attention to their wish list—they mean it.
If your loved one is a “physical affection” person, get them a massage, a facial, a spa day or just hug them as often as possible.
So now that I know the art of gift giving, my parents’ gifts still made no sense. But then my brother reminded me about the novelty of the Florida “dollar store.” Ok, I get it.
Topic of the month sponsored by:
Baldwin Krystyn Sherman