If you're like me, you struggle to find a gift for your loved ones that is personal, thoughtful, and won't break the bank. I often fail to find just one of those qualities in all my gifts. One really useful tip in gift giving is to consider the gift recipient's love language. This applies for all loved ones, not just spouses or significant others! (If you're unfamiliar with the five love languages, you can read a brief description of each here or learn from author Gary Chapman.) People often show love the way they prefer to receive it, so pay attention to that special someone's actions for clues to what their love language is. A gift specific to someone's love language is sure to be treasured. So, instead of running out to all the Black Friday sales today, consider this holiday twist: a gift guide for every love language.
Words of Affirmation
This may be the friend who writes the note that nearly brings you to tears, or the one who saves all her favorite texts. For this person, actions don't necessarily speak louder than words.
- A canvas imprinted with names, locations, dates, or quotes unique to your gift recipient. My mom gave me this personalized canvas as a bridal shower gift, imprinted with my husband and my names, wedding date, and the places special to us.
- A printed and framed meaningful quote or prayer like this one from Dilly Dalian
- As a words of affirmation person, I can attest to the power of a thoughtful, handwritten note, especially in this digital age when notes and snail mail seem obsolete. Try one of these personalized notecards.
- Write their favorite song lyrics or your favorite qualities about them on the matte of a framed photo
- Wooden coasters, cutting board, or plaque engraved with a monogram, coordinates, or a personalized phrase. I got a friend this wooden cutting board engraved with her cooking book's name on it.
- A beloved or meaningful book (I'm eyeing the Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines!)
This may be the person who would rather go to dinner or a movie with you than receive material possessions. This person may feel especially insulted by your lack of attention when he or she is talking and you are scrolling through your phone. Your presence is this person's present.
- Tickets to a concert, sporting event, or movie together (being together is the point here!)
- Taking them out to brunch, dinner, drinks, or ice cream at a favorite or special spot (and a cute camera to document all your fun together)
- Try a new activity together, such as rock climbing or ice skating
- A weekend retreat, camping, road trip, renting an airbnb, or a staycation with a spouse or sibling(s)
- A redeemable "coupon" to spend a day at a museum, aquarium, planetarium, or tour around your city (Anthony and I play "hooky" at least once a year to do touristy Chicago activities)
- An airline gift card for someone in a long distance relationship or to visit each other—even $50 can do some damage at Southwest! (My favorite gift last Christmas was Anthony surprising me with a ticket to see my cousin Caroline!)
This may be the significant other who likes to hold hands no matter where you are, or the sibling who always loves to have their head scratched. The appropriate touch is very meaningful to this person.
- A gift certificate to get a massage (there are so many Groupon deals!)
- A gift certificate (or a DIY) manicure or pedicure for your mom, sister, or significant other (again, check Groupon)
- Gift them a yoga or barre class (bonus if you go with) or a yoga video specific to their needs. My sister-in-love gave me a yoga video for hip and IT issues while I was marathon training that I could redeem at any time—so perfect!
- Get them geared up for those yoga and barre classes with some cute active wear
- Help them stay warm in the cold winter months with cozy yet fashionable gear. I am obsessing over these adorable slippers and these holiday-themed lounge pants from Aerie.
- Some grown-up bubble bath will encourage them to treat themselves to some feel-good R&R
Acts of Service
This may be that friend who was so willing to help you move or will run errands for you at any time. This may be that sibling who is always so willing to do the dishes or fold the laundry to show their love for the family. This person isn't just "nice"—doing deeds is how they show their love to others. . . and how they best receive love too.
- For the one who never stops doing things for others, gift her with a beautiful, hand-crafted planner. This one includes a liturgical calendar, Mass readings, prayer reminders, and saints of the month in addition to all the normal planner needs—perfect for the Catholic woman in your life!
- A personalized photo calendar so she can keep track of all her happenings and acts of service
- For the girl always on the go, she needs a pair of comfortable yet chic shoes. I'm drooling over these from the New Balance + J.Crew collaboration and I know she will too.
- For the one who is always doing things for others, take one thing off their list and gift them a food subscription so they don't have to worry about grocery shopping for a week (or more). I enjoyed the recipes and ingredients sent via HelloFresh.
- For the woman who is always smiling while assisting others, give her one (or a handful) of these potent and lasting lipsticks to swipe on her smile (at $5 a tube, you can gift her every shade)
This may be the person who always manages to find you the perfect gift for every occasion (and often they send gifts for no apparent reason or precisely in time for the occasion). The perfect gift, in my opinion, is something a person will love (as in, it fits their personality and living/activity style) but is not necessarily something they need. Think of it this way, the perfect gift is something they will use (and not as a re-gift) but wouldn't necessarily buy for themselves.
- Photo albums from Blurb or Artifact Uprising (this one is Instagram-friendy!) for recent special events. We gave both sets of parents photo albums from our wedding last Christmas and they loved them! My sisters also got me a photo album of my bridal shower and bachelorette party photos which I cherish!
- A pricier and sleek water bottle is not something one usually will spend money on for themselves, but makes for a great gift (I can attest—my aunt just gave me one for my birthday!). S'well bottles keep liquids cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 (perfect for the coffee lover in your life). To say I'm obsessed is an understatement (I have the rose gold but love the marble, or navy for a guy in your life)
- My mom, sisters, and I all have these faux-pearls and they take every outfit up a notch. For the fashionista on your Christmas list, these are a no-brainer.
- For the wine connoisseur or coffee snob, try sending a monthly wine or coffee subscription
- Another gift that keeps on giving: a magazine subscription! You have the chance to get personal on something they wouldn't necessarily buy for themselves (that's the nature of most magazines). I recommend InStyle for the stylish woman any age, the Magnolia Journal for home decor folk, and HGTV Magazine for home improvement lovers.
- A decadent scented candle (the Balsam & Cedar one is perfect for Christmas) or a perfume/cologne in a meaningful scent are both luxuries
Instead of running out to catch all the Black Friday deals, I hope you spend a little more time with your loved ones to get to know their love languages better. Then you can score the real deal—to know which gifts will speak right to their hearts.