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The Power of Gifts

The holidays are a time often associated with the custom of giving gifts. We give gifts as an expression of love and appreciation. We can also give gifts out of obligation to fulfill an expectation. Sometimes we can get sidetracked by thinking the bigger and more valuable the gift, the more it expresses our appreciation. The reality is, gifts don’t express appreciation if the person behind the gift does not express that appreciation. Be thoughtful about how you express that admiration and gratitude. Maybe it is a personal note or a phone call. Maybe the gift is small but uniquely matched to that person.

Gifts can also be a love language. All of us have a preferred love language. When someone shows us attention in that way, we feel loved. In the books, The 5 Love Languages and The 5 Love Languages of Children, authors Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell describe five different love languages and how to use that knowledge to build deep connection in relationships. These love languages are

  • Gifts (tokens of affection and unexpected gifts)
  • Physical Touch (hugs, kisses, snuggles)
  • Words of Affirmation (praise, compliments, words of encouragement)
  • Quality Time (focused attention, play, spending time together)
  • Acts of Service (helping with projects, taking care of needs).

If your child or partner see gifts as an expression of their love language, then even simple things like a picture you drew or picking up their favorite treat and sneaking it in their lunch can be a make them feel deeply loved. Think about those personal treasures you have received over the years. Maybe it was that sticky picture your child drew for you on a napkin or a quirky poem you received from a sweetheart. Maybe it was that dandelion a child brought inside, eyes brimming with excitement about the beautiful flower just for you that needed to be put in water right away. Your heart is deeply impacted by these small tokens of love because it meant the giver was thinking of you even in the little things.

This holiday season, spend some time thinking about how you can personally express your love and appreciation along with the gifts you give. If there is anything 2020 has taught us, it is to appreciate the simple things and the people around us that we used to take for granted. Even though this holiday might be different than previous years, it can be just as meaningful if we remember to show our love in a personal way that touches the hearts of those around us. Gifts are just one way we can show our love.
If you would need some extra emotional support or resources, Improving Lives Counseling Services can help. Call 918-960-7852 or check out our website. If you would like to learn more about different parenting strategies and how to connect with your child, join us at Improving Lives Counseling Services for a six-week parenting series on Mondays from 6:30-8:00 pm. Classes will start Monday, January 4th. For more information about the class, click on this brochure.

Lauren Alvarez, MA
Certified Parent Educator
Elementary School Counselor
Graduate Counseling Intern, LPC Track

Additional Resources:

Video explanation of the 5 Love Languages of Children

Video explanation of the 5 Love Languages

The 5 Love Languages Quizzes 


Chapman, G. and Campbell, R. (2016) The 5 Love Languages of Children.  Chicago, IL: Northfield Publishing.

Chapman, G. (2015). The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts.  Chicago, IL:  Northfield Publishing.