The 5 Love Languages At Christmas
After all the advent calendar suggestions I posted previously (here & here), of course we’ve been trying them out on the girls. One of those was a love letter for each of them. A glittery golden card saying how enormously we love them; aspects of their personality that shine; how we love seeing what they love doing. Cute idea right? What was their reaction? Well one of them was not impressed at all and quite verbal about it! ”This is not a good advent calendar, I don’t want a boring note!” …Great, that was a success then!?
Then I noticed the reaction of my other daughter, how proud she was of her letter, she wanted me to read it to her a few more times, she wanted me to read it to her when papa was there so he could listen too. She cradled it in her hands and placed it back in the box, exactly where she’d found it. She was smiling to herself and deeply content with the evening.
I was reminded of love languages, a book I read ages ago, The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapmen. Maybe you’ve already read it, or know all about it? The basic concept is the idea that there are five specific and unique ways in which love can be expressed. The supposition is that we each hold just one of these ways closest to our heart. Whilst we may be able to both express and receive love in all five languages, we would not feel particularly loved if our own love language was missing.
1. Words of affirmation – for example the love letter!
2. Acts of service – helping, actually doing something. Action.
3. Receiving gifts – tangible evidence of thought and love.
4. Quality time – giving your undivided attention (on someone else’s terms, not your own).
5. Physical touch – for this person nothing speaks as deeply as appropriate touch.
Personally I found this book and this idea so insightful, shedding light onto why I sometimes feel more loved and cared for than at other times; seasons when I’ve felt I’ve had a manager at work that was particularly great at showing appreciation. Reflecting over my childhood and my relationship with my siblings, how my parents have expressed love to me, whether I’ve felt loved; how I have expressed love and appreciation to my siblings, and whether they have felt loved by me.
Now to my children and Christmas time. It’s often that we first and foremost express love in accordance with our own love language, but that doesn’t mean that we’re meeting theirs. Even the pile of presents they might be getting in a week or so isn’t really going to cut it for a 10 year old who needs to hear how fantastic you think that they are, how you’re so proud of what they’ve been doing lately and how kind, generous and thoughtful they are; or a 7 year old that just wants to wrestle with you, be tickled, cozy up and read their book. A 3 year old that’s longing for 10 minutes of your undivided attention in the midst of it all; a 6 year old that wants your help to get their Christmas present out of its packaging and help them to actually get it going. A 4 year old that loves just being with everyone, opening presents, eating, whatever it is. A 5 year old who is totally delighted opening a present and seeing that you were really thinking of them and what they like when you wrapped that for them.
It’s not hard to start to think about and figure out the love languages of the people around you, and even for your children. I really hope I don’t loose sight of prioritising individually expressing love to each of them in the midst of this holiday season. The wonderful thing about children at least, is how quickly you may be able to identify what may not be their foremost love language 😉
There are some great tips about figuring out your child’s love language at the official website here
You can also take a love language profile test here (takes just 10-15 minutes)