I’ve never been great at gift giving.*
Some years back, one of my sisters read a book, The Five Love Languages, which boiled down the ways people like to give and receive love into five “languages.” A person tends to be able to perceive love through one of these styles, and to give via one (although not by any means necessarily the same style).
Here are the “languages” (as I remember them):
- Talk (saying sweet things to the other, compliments)
- Spending time together (aka attention), doing things together
- Doing something for another
Thus: I might like to be told how wonderful/beautiful/amazing I am, but when I want to show someone that I appreciate them I could instead think the right thing to do is to give them a big hug.
So here’s the thing: I myself am big on the “spending time together” kind of love, and I’m really NOT into any of the other style. If you can find time to have lunch with me, I understand that you care about me. And if I can wrestle myself out of my hermetic hovel to share a meal or a drink with you, you should know that you are special to me.
(Let’s remember though that if I don’t attend your event, it doesn’t mean I don’t love you. I very well may think you rock socks. It might mean that I had a last-minute panic attack and needed to spend the evening sorting my actual socks. Please know that I stayed at home in panicky terror while feeling full of love for you.)
But so. Telling me that I’m terrific: not much effect. Giving me Tiffany earrings? I’m likely to rattle off a diatribe about blood diamonds. Shovel my snowy sidewalk? That I decidedly will appreciate, but I’ll view it as a debt and make plans to shovel yours in an upcoming blizzard. Give me a hug? I will hug back as best I can, and I will feel really, really awkward in the process.
Anyway. The Kinks’ classic holiday song “Father Christmas” always has held a special meaning for me. Yeah, give those gifts to the little rich kids. Give the money to the other kids who need it. But if you want to give me something, c’mon and let’s grab a coffee and chat.
* Can we please stop using “gift” as a verb? Where did this usage come from? Every time you “gift” something to someone, a tiny kitteh chokes on holiday ribbons.
Uh, dictionary.com says “gift” as a verb is accepted. I may have to use this now just to annoy you.
–verb (used with object)
5. to present with as a gift; bestow gifts upon; endow with.
6. to present (someone) with a gift: just the thing to gift the newlyweds.
P.S. if you have time, I’d love to gift you a cocktail.
You are correct. Merriam-Webster says the word has been in use since at least 1550 as well. I refuse to acknowledge it though. But I’ll still take that cocktail. :)
Ive always wanted to read that book. My motives are geared toward thinking about how to communicate to other people. Although I suppose understanding yourself first is an important piece.
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