A More Meaningful Gift: 3 Ideas For The Holidays

December is here, and the holiday season is in full swing, with Hanukkah beginning at sundown on December 2, and Christmas shopping well underway, at least since Black Friday. But when it comes to giving gifts to your partner, the best presents may not come from the mall. This season, why not focus on giving more meaningful gifts? It could save your budget, but it will definitely improve your relationship.

Recognize Their Love Language

The Five Love Languages are a classic framework developed by Dr. Gary Chapman and aims to identify how, as individuals, we prefer to be shown appreciation: in the form of Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, or Physical Touch. In order to give meaningful gifts, then, the first step is to identify your partner’s Love Language. If they prefer Receiving Gifts, then it makes sense to stick to more traditional gifting strategies, while a partner who prefers Words of Affirmation might be most moved by a kind note. You don’t have to take the full Five Love Languages evaluation, you just need to reflect on what has worked with your partner in the past.

Give Time

We’re all strapped for time these days and I know that in my house, my partner and I are often so tired that we spend our off hours watching Netflix instead of reconnecting, so this year, why not give the gift of your time? Gifts of time can take many forms and can translate into multiple love languages.

So what is a gift of time, exactly? Gifts of time may include planning a traditional date, like going out to dinner or planning a picnic, going on a hike together, taking a trip, or going to a workshop together. The goal is to make space in your relationship to just focus on each other and create new memories.

Use Your Words

Even if your partner’s love language isn’t Words of Affirmation, almost everyone appreciates being told how much they matter and are loved — that’s why so many people write to advice columnists about how their partner never says “I love you,” or says it too much. So this holiday, make your words your gift. Write your partner a card to say thank you and to express what you appreciate about them. Not great with words? Another option you might consider is to pick a poem or song that means a lot to you and making — or buying (thanks Etsy!) — a piece of art from those words.

Use Your Skills

As adults, handmade gifts sometimes get a bad rap; we tend to think that the only people who want handmade gifts are parents of small children — and even they’re just waiting to throw out most of that junk. In reality, though, handmade gifts, when based on skills and given thoughtfully, can be among the most meaningful. Gift wisely, though. For example, if you like to knit, consider asking your partner to pick out a pattern and yarn for their gift to ensure you don’t offer something that won’t be used. Or if you like to cook, let your partner plan a special menu for you to execute. Gifting your skills is great, but can take a little extra effort — but that’s part of what makes them especially meaningful.

This holiday, use gifts to create a stronger relationship, but don’t stop there. Keep the momentum going all year round with Emi, a simple, text-based system designed to help you and your partner build positive relationship habits in less than a minute a day. It’s that easy to give the gift of connection — join Emi today.