Ways of Expressing Gratitude During the Holidays Using the 5 Love Languages
The holiday season is a time for giving thanks and expressing gratitude. As we work towards building connections with others, we may desire to express our appreciation through thoughtful giving. But sometimes it can be difficult to know how to show our appreciation in the way that others will appreciate it most and that also feels rewarding to us. The holidays can sometimes focus on the aspects of gift-giving, which may not fully express our sentiments. It may be helpful to explore other ways of sharing our love, using the 5 love languages.
According to Dr. Gary Chapman, there are 5 ways that people communicate and feel love: quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. When we understand our loved one’s primary and secondary love language, we can better express our gratitude in a way that will make them feel loved and appreciated. While there are many ways to show our appreciation, one of the most meaningful is to do so in the language that the person receiving our love understands best.
So how can you use these love languages to show your gratitude during the holidays? Keep reading to find out.
- Words of Affirmation
One of the best ways to show your gratitude is through words of affirmation. You can tell your loved ones how much you appreciate them, or simply say “thank you”. For someone who values words of affirmation, expressions of gratitude might include handwritten notes, emails, or messages on social media. You could also say thank you in person, or record a video or audio message. Telling your loved ones how much you appreciate them is a great way to make them feel special and loved.
- Quality Time
One way to show your gratitude during the holidays is to spend quality time with the people you care about. Whether you’re cooking a big dinner together or just taking a walk around the neighborhood, spending time with loved ones is a great way to express your appreciation. When you spend quality time with someone, you’re showing them that you value their company and that they are important to you.
You might consider time with family members and friends that is free from distractions, such as cell phones and social media. Time can be spent at home or out to dinner or at a favorite hangout spot. You might consider organizing an experience, such as a cooking class or crafting class in which you are able to share time together and make new memories. The most important thing is your presence, attention and responsiveness in the moment rather than where you are or what is happening around you.
- Acts of service
Another way to show gratitude is through acts of service. This could involve cooking a meal for your loved ones, doing the dishes, or taking out the trash. Making a meal for someone who is ill or has a busy schedule shows that you notice the other person’s needs and are invested in their wellbeing- consider making breakfast or cooking dinner or even offering to help connect them to a meal delivery service.
Shoveling snow or raking leaves for someone who is unable to do so can be extremely helpful and also rewarding. You might even consider writing a thank-you note to someone who has been helpful to you this year. When we consider ways that we can promote wellbeing and improved mental health, acts of service greatly increase positive feelings. Write a thank-you note to someone who has been helpful to you this year.
- Gift Giving and Receiving
When a loved one prefers the act of receiving gifts as a love language, it is important to note that it is not necessarily the cost of the item that holds its value to the person, but the meaning and thought behind the gift given. Often gifts can be tangible, a physical reminder for our loved one to hold onto and think of us and the significance of the relationship when we are not physically there. The gift might also be an experience that can be shared and used to create new memories. Often gifts that are meaningful might include photographs or memorabilia that connect to a special moment, but there are infinite possibilities in what could be sentimental to the person you are gifting to.
- Physical Touch
There may be a person in your life that prefers to receive love through physical affection and closeness. When we prefer physical touch and affection as one of our love languages, it is important to engage our senses and incorporate the physical body as part of the experience. Consider the relationship- whether this is a friend or romantic partner- and what your own boundaries are. Hugging, kissing, holding hands, embracing or interlocking arms or even sitting physically close to one another on the couch or at dinner could show that you are thinking about their needs and that they are important to you.
Remember that no matter what you choose or decide to do for your loved one, the intention to share love and build connection can be so rewarding to our sense of well-being. It feels good to spread kindness and thoughtfulness to others and this might be the most rewarding aspect of the experience of giving and receiving. When we connect with others, it can have a positive impact on our mood, reduce our anxiety and increase our sense of belonging and life satisfaction, and that is something to be grateful for.
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