This Christmas season I have been struck with this growing realization: giving gifts is really stressful. Maybe some of you think I’m crazy, maybe some of you are right there with me. Don’t get me wrong, its not the giving, its figuring out WHAT to give that’s hard for me. This year seemed especially overwhelming for some reason and it took a couple things to help me realize why. After being really frustrated (perhaps overly so) I tried to calm down and just think about why its so frustrating for me to figure out this stuff. Between Sunday’s service at Northridge, shopping with Dad, and coming across the book on the Five Love Languages again, I realized that giving gifts is not really the way I show love.
If you haven’t read The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, I recommend it. It really helped me understand myself and how my relationships with other people function. The book goes through what it defines as “love languages” and how they are the ways we show love to others and feel loved by others. The five specified are Touch, Gifts, Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, and Quality time. The idea is that we all have one or two ways that make us feel the most loved and some ways that we show the most love. After taking the little “quiz” at the end, my guesses were affirmed. I tend to value physical touch, like hugs, and words of affirmation more than the others. Gifts are not even on my radar for showing love. I don’t show love by giving them, and there are simply other ways that make me feel loved, rather than receiving a tangible gift. I recognize that other people do, and I really do appreciate it at Christmas and birthdays and the like, I just really like to keep holidays simple, and due to my current financial state, homemade.
Something that Pastor David said at church also struck me as pretty cool this week. The series we have been working through is called Advent Conspiracy, and this week was about giving more. By giving more, Pastor David talked about giving personal gifts, be it quality time or just something especially meaningful to someone. This year I want to give gifts that center around giving time to be with the people I love, instead of just buying something and that being the end of it.
I suppose that is my take on the Christmas gift-giving tradition. Not my primary way of showing I care, but I know it is for other people, and when it is all said and done, I really do enjoy it. Here’s to another Christmas :).