Merry Christmas! I love this time of year with all of the lights, colors and excitement. As a child, our family did not celebrate Christmas. I remember seeing the trees, lights and gift wrap in the stores, and wondering what it would feel like to anticipate Christmas morning. As an adult, I get to experience that every single year and I never get tired of it. I hope, no matter what your childhood experiences were, you are able to enjoy the gift of giving and of spending time with friends and family during this holiday season; that you are able to find something to be grateful for each and every year.
With this being the season of giving, it is a great time to explore how to express love with the gifts you choose. Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a book called The Five Love Languages, which outlines five basic ways people give and receive love. They are:
- Words of Affirmations
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
- Quality time
If you have a child who loves to receive gifts, Christmas is going to take them over the top! The gifts alone will satisfy their desire to feel loved. That’s great! However, not everyone is the same. If you have a child who feels loved by spending quality time together, while the gifts will be amazing too, in and of themselves they may not be feeding that child’s deepest desire for love. However, if your gift was a toy or game that included in-person time with you, that would be a great gift! It’s the same for children who feel loved by acts of service, physical touch or words of affirmation. Gifts are amazing to them, especially at Christmas, but … you want to make sure you touch that special place in them that really makes them feel loved. How do you do that?
I suggest as you prepare for Christmas this year, that you assess your child’s primary love language. It doesn’t take very long, and will give you great insights for gift planning. You can do a quick assessment at www.5lovelanguages.com. Then, depending on your child’s love language (and their gift requests), you will be well-equipped to bring them love on Christmas morning through the special choices you make in their gifts.
Something to consider: would you water a plant with milk? No. Would you feed your cat rabbit food? No. Giving your child a present (gifts) when what they yearn for is time with you (quality time) is like watering a plant with milk. Telling your child how great they are (words of affirmation), when what they long for is a hug, cuddles or wrestling on the floor (physical touch), is like feeding a cat rabbit food. While both come from a loving place, they are not equal in meeting the need to feel loved. Love languages are not right or wrong, and they are not even chosen; they simply are. It makes a huge difference when you meet your child where they are.
This is a tremendous opportunity to nurture your child’s spirit and heart like never before! When we truly feel loved, the world changes. Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas!
Traci L. Williams is Founder and CEO of A Loving Way to Parent. She is known for her practical and intuitive parenting style and can be reached for questions or consultation at 951-240-1407 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website at alovingway.com.