I’m here to love language your holiday gift-giving.
The heck you say? I can hear you now, as you take a bite of your festive chocolate breakfast cake, as discussed in my last treatise on appropriate early morning foods.
Some of you will surely be familiar with Gary Chapman’s New York Times bestselling 1992 book, “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate”; his 2004 “The 5 Love Languages Singles Edition”; his 2010 follow-up, “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts,” and the many others in-between, which, I’m sorry, all seem like the exact same thing. Chapman, you sly fox, you’ve cornered the market on this love language business.
For those hearing for the first time there are five ways to communicate your love and affection, you’re welcome. You’re about to learn why those cheerful gerbera daisies you bring home for your significant other don’t seem to elicit much appreciation, but when you clean the toilet it’s like you’ve harnessed the moon.
According to Chapman, the five languages are: gifts (a funny T-shirt with their favorite saying, a box of their favorite Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts); words of affirmation (“I love the way your ears smell,” “The way you eat oatmeal makes me swoon”); quality time (watching all 82 seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy” together, long drives in the Buick); acts of service (doing their laundry, making them Italian wedding soup); and physical touch (linking pinky fingers, a head scratch).
Chapman believes we each prefer one language to show others we care, and one language others can use to make us feel loved. These could be two different languages.
For example, if I like you, I’m likely going to give you something: a pepper spray keychain, gluten-free brownies, a bouquet of dandelions, that thing you liked at the Arc Thrift Store that I went back for the next day as a surprise gift.
I’m pretty sure I know what makes me feel loved, but I went online anyway to take Chapman’s love language quiz: 5lovelanguages.com/quizzes. Here’s one question: “It’s more meaningful to me when…” Answer A: “I hear praise from someone I love.” Answer B: “Someone I love gives me something that shows they were really thinking about me.”
Chapman informed me I’m a sucker for acts of service (30%), followed closely by words of affirmation (27%) and quality time (27%). So basically, do all my errands and chores for me, and tell me I’m the world’s smartest supermodel when we hang out.
Frankly, I prefer a sixth love language of my own creation. Spoiler: I suspect there are about 7.7 billion love languages — one for each person in the world. Here’s mine: Ask me a question about my life. Be curious about what makes me the adorable, maddening human I am. Curiosity is my love language. I actually put this request on the online dating profile I recently had up for a mere two weeks before I got frustrated and deleted the app. Let’s just say none of those strangers spoke my love language.
We have now finally arrived at the holiday portion of this dissertation: How about giving holiday gifts in the way that makes your beloved, friend or family member feel most loved and liked?
This will require communication, my friends, an area in which many of us are deficient, myself included. Can you ask your giftee what would make them feel appreciated? You can. It might feel awkward, but that’s OK.
It’ll be worth it when you give or do something they still talk about next Christmas, and really, can you remember any gift anybody gave you a year ago? I think not.
For those who most appreciate acts of service, how about a subscription to a meal kit delivery service with the promise to make them dinner once a week? A quality-time person would appreciate pre-planned dates once a month for the next six months. What about a couples massage for a physical touch person? For a lover of words of affirmation, how about writing a list of all the things you love about your person, hiring an artist or graphic designer to make those words visually appealing and framing it? And a lover of gifts? That’s the easiest love language to fulfill this time of year.
As for finding yours truly the perfect gift, a juicy conversation that plumbs the depths of our psyches would be on point. Oh, and could you also please find me a trustworthy roofer or figure out how to restore my car’s digital speedometer? Those would be much-appreciated Christmas miracles.
Contact the writer: 636-0270
Contact the writer: 636-0270