Over the years my relationship with gift giving and receiving has changed substantially. As a kid I lurved opening up the sparkly packages under the tree. Into my 20’s I tried to be as thoughtful as possible and would spend quite a bit of time trying to give what I thought was the “right thing” and wrapping it beautifully for others.
Then over the last 20 years I have been gradually moving away from physical gifts. This is not to say that I don’t want to give or receive love but just that I wish to do it in a different way.💚
At the Clutter Natter group this week I was reminded by Shona Macpherson Coaching of the “The 5 Love Languages” (Coined originally by Gary Chapman). Having an awareness of these can really help in this whole tangled web of gift exchanging. The main thrust of this concept is that we all express and feel love differently. This can be through:-
• Words of affirmation
• Acts of service
• Receiving gifts
• Quality time
• Physical touch
For this to work we need to establish both our own and others preferences, ideally in an open and honest chit chat. As well as letting friends and family know what we want it is so important to LISTEN and ACCEPT their position. And this is the hard bit, especially when they do not hold the same love language as us.
For quite a while now I’ve taken the stance of “NO” presents (Physical things) for me, at birthdays and other special days. Most of those who know me well are aware of this but some still give me “stuff” anyway!
From the hubby and kids I am always pleased to have household chores vouchers (Love language =Acts of service) to free up my time or a handmade card with a special message (Love language =Words of Affirmation). Aside from that I want nothing.
I am genuinely more comfortable with getting zilch wrapped up on these special days than opening up items that I usually feel are unnecessary. I am very fortunate to have ENOUGH material things already around me.
From friends and wider family, if they really want to give me something, I would prefer for them to donate to a charity, “do” something together (Love language =Quality time) or find me an unusal experience. This could look something like -introducing me to a new running route, enjoying a unique coffee roast or even taking me out of my comfort zone with an online “Udemy” course on mindful sitting still (Aka Meditating!) I don’t need a box of biscuits, a candle or a shower gel, however gorgeous it is. I can hear some of them chorusing “But that’s ok because it will get used up and it’s not really a thing.” Urm – it is. I’ll leave it at that.🤣
For those whose loudest love language is “receiving gifts” then do get clear on what you want. Don’t be afraid to let people know. In my work as a declutterer I see a huge amount of unloved and unused presents languishing in homes. The more we can avoid this, the better it is for all involved and the wider planet.🌏
The use of “Love language” does not stop with humans. I know my beautiful spaniel's prime way of feeling loved is through stroking. (Love language =Physical touch) For her one of the most divine things we can do is spend time rubbing and massaging underneath her ears, along her back and of course, her belly. She does not want a wrapped Christmas dog jumper or a robin shaped ball. And I’m pretty sure she won’t feel bad on the big day if she has nothing to open! She would, however, like to take part in any extra dinner nibbles. 🐾
So that’s the thing. We often assume that others want the same us as and this is NOT the case. The only way we can work this out is talking, listening, noticing and trusting.
✏️ Time for you to do some work.😊
Firstly ,what is the dominant way in which you like to receive love? Now think of one person that you normally buy a gift for. Are you aware of their preferred love language? Have a chat with them and check in if the whole giving and receiving thing is working.
Just one last thing – I would love a small gift from you.🎁 If you are enjoying these posts then please consider one other person who may benefit from them and share it. Thank you so much. 😍
Back tomorrow on Day 3 with some planning and organising tips to smooth out the approach to Christmas.