By Courtney Elmer, NOLACatholicParenting.org
Don’t get me wrong, I love gift-giving. But there have been times where I want to say, “the heck with it!” and default to Amazon gift cards. Boom. Done. Tie a ribbon around it and call it a year. Or, better yet, send it electronically, so that I don’t even have to waste time wrapping.
As a busy “mompreneur” of an even busier 9-month old, I admit it’s often tempting.
But, there’s something to be said for giving the perfect gift. I love watching my husband Alan’s face light up when I give him something he didn’t expect – like the smart watch I surprised him with a few years back. Or my Popps, who is so sentimental that he loves anything that’ll bring back good memories. … like when I surprised him with an Earth, Wind, & Fire CD after a passing comment he made one day when “September” came on the radio.
The look on their faces is a gift in itself, brings me joy to see them completely light up!
So, as convenient as Amazon gift cards might be (no judgment if that’s you), there’s a technique I use to find the perfect gift for everyone, no matter the occasion or time of year or if the person has everything. It has helped me stop getting frustrated about spending time to find what I thought was the perfect gift, only to find the recipient not so excited about it or giving something that I thought was small and it turned out to be the best gift ever. It made no sense.
My secret: Give according to the recipient’s love language.
There are five universal love languages: quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch and gifts.
Everyone has all five, but one is always stronger.
A person may know they’re loved, but when that person is spoken to in their love language, they feel loved. Ideas for those in your life who value.
- For example, my love language is quality time. I know Alan loves me, but when I receive love in this way – for example when Alan takes me out for a glass of wine and dinner – I feel loved. You could make a “certificate” that says they’re entitled to an event or outing with you, your treat.
- Acts of service: think of projects to do for someone. For a new mom, prepare a home-cooked meal and deliver it. For the friend with lots of kids and no time, treat them to a house cleaning or car wash. For older relatives who don’t get out much, offer help with a project they haven’t been able to get to.
- Words of affirmation: write a letter to let them know how special they are. Frame a Scripture verse or meaningful quote in your handwriting. Send a book you love with an inscription about why you think they’d love it. For spouses, a small “love journal” is a great idea and write a note on the first page about how much they mean to you. Their job is to write back to you on their own time and hide the journal where you’ll find it. You write them back, and so on. It’s the gift that keeps giving, and they’ll cherish it forever.
- Physical touch: Give gift cards for massages, pedicures, blowouts or facials. For someone close, a “certificate” for a week’s worth of foot massages or shoulder rubs, or cuddle time after the kids go to bed.
- Gifts: Rather than a big or expensive item, give several smaller things and wrap them individually. They’ll be so excited to open multiple gifts and touched that you thought of them so much.You might be asking, “Sounds great! but how do I know what love language someone has?”
Watch what they do – people give love in the way they want to receive love. Or, ask them how they know that you love them. They’ll answer with one of the five love languages. For example, “I feel loved the most when you spend time with me” would mean their love language is most likely quality time.
Now on with your shopping and let your gifting worries be no more!
After overcoming cancer at 25, Courtney Elmer has made it her mission to show fellow “mompreneurs” how to eliminate stress and feel clear, focused and in control of their life and business. (Or in other words, how to channel their inner Joanna Gaines and make it through the day without four cups of coffee and an entire bottle of dry shampoo.) As a wife and mom, she understands the pressures of wearing all the hats and the frustration of feeling like there’s never enough time to get to everything. As a speaker and business coach, she teaches working moms how to have it all without having to do it all, so they can be more present with their families and enjoy the life that’s in front of them right now. “StressLESS, LiveMORE” is her motto! She lives in Metairie with her husband Alan, their son AJ, and their fur-friends Ace and Deuce.