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On my list of Love Languages, “Receiving Gifts” is dead last. I feel like that’s not a great descriptor of a single love language, though. Who wants to “just” receive gifts (besides a preschooler at Target in front of the toy aisle, or the snack aisle…)?
Not every gift is created equal.
Truly thoughtful and unexpected gifts impress me in a thousand ways and make me feel so loved. A great gift tells me that the giver was paying attention to ME and not just the trends, or their own assumptions.
A few years ago, I sent my husband an Instagram post from Letterfolk. He turned around months later and bought my first letterboard along with a few of their adorable passport journals. What I loved most about these sweet gifts was that they were:
- Unexpected, yet exactly what I already loved and wanted (the ultimate Gifts result!)
- Gifts, but more aligned to my own top Love Languages.
- Words of Affirmation – put it on the letterboard!
- Quality Time – let’s fill out the passport journal on an adventure!
- Worthy of a great, big bear hug, Physical Touch style (husband’s goal, of course).
- Chosen, shipped & wrapped by someone other than me. Acts of Service for the grand finale!
Despite my husband’s big win with the letterboard, I’ve always found that I receive greater joy in being the giver of a perfectly targeted gift.
Nothing lights me up more than knowing MY gift became the most exciting choice and was enjoyed fully instead of slapped on a shelf (or worse, sent to the donation bin) never to be touched.
Wait, don’t you encourage simplifying, Jessica? Why are we talking about gifts and stuuuuuffffff?
Minimalism and simplifying is not synonymous with foregoing all enjoyment of all the things. The world is full of some amazing books, hobbies, and material items that can be enjoyed in so many ways. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
Thoughtful, intentional, and meaningful simplifying is my jam. Incidentally, those are my gift-giving standards too. So here we go…
- If this wasn’t already obvious, know your recipient’s love language. Just ask them! If they don’t know, encourage them to take the quiz and make it a fun discussion point. Make sure you’re honoring who they are with your gifts and not who you want them to be.
- Plan ahead as far in advance as you can (today is a great day to start!). My favorite way to plan ahead is to keep a gift-giving idea list all year long. Anytime someone gives me even the slightest idea, I’ll log it in a list. I use:
- Amazon Lists – mine is called “Gift Ideas for Others” and I drop ideas in there all year.
- OneNote – I love OneNote for my digital notebooks, so I also keep ideas under a tab titled “Gifts” and individual pages titled “YYYY Gift Wish List”. This is awesome for when I’m on the go and see a non-Amazon gift idea.
- Watch for the sales. This is the most fun I have all year, because who doesn’t LOVE a good sale on something you were already planning to buy. Hear that? “Already planning to buy…” The best way to navigate Black Friday and all the holiday sales is to have a LIST (see #2 above!).
- When designing my son’s nursery, I found the exact print I wanted for his wallpaper, scrolled back on their IG feed to see if they had sales, then waited to buy when I received 30-freaking-% off for Black Friday. Huge win.
- By batch purchasing on Black Friday, you WILL be spending a lot more money in one day than might be comfortable, but by planning ahead, you will save money compared to if you were purchasing individually without a sale. It’s worth it, I promise.
I know that you are slammed with year-end work and trying to savor the season with those babies, but taking a moment to care for your people in a way that resonates with them most is so important. Quality over quantity wins every time.
And don’t worry. I don’t ALWAYS get this right – some years I’m running to the grocery store for a stack of gift cards on December 22nd – but it’s worth it every time I’m able to put the effort into planning ahead and choosing mindful gifts. It certainly buys me some grace when it’s a gift card year!
Tell me … is it a gift card year, or will you be making it mindful this season?