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Gift Giving with Purpose

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The holiday season is a great time to practice mindful giving. One great way to be purposeful in your giving is to focus on the person’s love language, which is the way people speak and understand emotional love.

In his book, “The Five Love Languages,” Dr. Gary Chapman explores the idea that each of us are built to speak and understand emotional love from others in a specific manner: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. By paying attention to how others express love, we can become clued in to the way they receive it.

For parents, lovers and even friends, time invested in learning to show love in the manner best received can bring needed change, deepen relationships and even bring about restoration. Identifying your own love language also provides personal insight, acceptance and healing. The Christmas season is a great time to think specifically about a person’s love language when choosing their gifts. Here are some great gift ideas that will speak directly to the heart of the gift recipient.

If “words of affirmation” fill a place in the heart of your loved one, write down a few adjectives that describe the positive points you see in the individual. Once your words are established, use your creative ability (or that of someone you know) to lay these out in a 5×7 format and frame them. Be sure to include a card with your gift and mention how you’ve seen this person exhibit these traits.

When “quality time” is important to your person, plan a day or time to sit with no phones or distractions and reminisce or talk about things that are important to them. Plan an outing to a concert or venue of their choosing. Be sure to leave the phone in the car and be intentional about the time you are spending with them.

We all love to receive gifts, but “receiving gifts” is actually something certain people process as love. When shopping for this person, the gift isn’t about the money spent—it is more about how well you know the person. Be sure to pay attention to their personality and buy something that speaks to their unique self. Wrapping the gift thoughtfully is also a great way to show intention in the act of giving.

“Acts of service” may seem trite, but it really matters to those who receive love in this manner. Gifts of choice may be a house cleaning or taking on a task that is overwhelming their schedule. Volunteering with them at their favorite non-profit might also be a great idea.Who doesn’t love a back rub? “Physical touch” people receive love with just that—physical touch! Gift ideas may include a massage (personal or purchased, whatever fits the relationship), a pedicure, manicure or hair style. Be sure to accompany the gift with a hug, if appropriate.

To learn more about you or a loved one’s love language, visit 5lovelanguages.com. A quick test will tell you more about which love language you “speak.”

Use this information when purchasing holiday gifts, and you’ll find shopping easier—and more meaningful—for everyone involved.

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