How to perfect gift-giving for loved ones on your list

By Courtney Elmer, NOLA Catholic Parenting

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. And 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, 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. It brings me so much joy to see them completely light up!

So as convenient as Amazon gift cards might be (hey, no judgment if that’s you), there’s a technique I use to find the perfect gift for everyone on the list, no matter the occasion or time of year.

The 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.

A person may “know” they’re loved, but when that person is spoken to in their love language, they feel loved.

So for those in your life that value…

• Quality time: take them out to a nice meal at a restaurant of their choice. Make them 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: write a note on the first page about how much they mean to you, and give it to them. 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 from you and touched that you thought of them so much.

Now 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. 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 A.J., and their fur-friends Ace and Deuce.

Please send comments to nolacatholicparenting@clarionherald.org. Visit the blog featuring three new posts a week at www.nolacatholicparenting.org.

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