Whenever I think of the love language of gifts, I always think about my interpersonal communication professor my sophomore year. She said that gifts were never that important to her, but that’s how her mom showed love…so now she has a gazillion trinkets and other stuff from her mom.
I want you all to think back to when you were a little kid.
Picture it now, you’re seven, it’s snowy outside, you wake up way earlier than you normally would because it’s Christmas. You run to your parents’ room and you jump on their bed, begging them to wake up.
You and your family sit together and empty your stockings and open your presents. You are so excited, even the socks or pajamas are exciting because you know that someone—your parents, Santa, maybe your dog, they all cared about you so much that they gave you gifts.
Fast forward eleven, twelve years, maybe you’re in college now, maybe you’re setting out on your own, trying to be independent. Your dad calls you up, “Did you make sure you got your oil changed?” Or maybe it isn’t your dad but your mom, “Honey, do you have enough food? Do you want to go on a Costco run with me, we can go fifty-fifty.”
Part of you might feel a little resentment or exasperation, maybe these questions make you feel like your parents don’t trust you. But you know they’re asking because they care. These are just a few examples of connecting through giving.
True, asking about your car’s oil levels doesn’t necessarily seem like the gift you got when you were seven, and it’s not. It’s different because you’re different; because they are. It’s a gift of experience because maybe your dad had a bad incident where his own car’s oil ended up interfering with his plans.
It’s a slightly more literal gift from your mom because she knows what it’s like to be too stubborn to ask for help, especially with basic chores like grocery shopping.
However, parents aren’t the only people who often connect and show love through gifts. We all do it too. I have a friend who loves raccoons, every time I see a raccoon gif or meme online, I think of her and send it just to let her know I care.
Of course, there are the “obligatory” holiday and birthday gifts. Even though you may not like shopping, there’s some pressure to make sure that the gift is appropriate, that the recipient will like it. Whether you realize it or not, when choosing a gift, you might think, “I hope they like it.” But what you often, subconsciously are thinking is, “I hope they see that I care.”
Gifts don’t have to be tangible, they can be experiences. The greatest gift I ever received was arguably when someone very close to me took me on adventures—around the state, around the globe.
Then, you often hear parents talk too about how their greatest gift is their children.
To go back to “quality time,” that, in and of itself is a gift.
It might not seem the most important form of connection. It might not even seem to be the most obvious form of connection. And I’m sure many of you think that gift giving is overrated and superficial, but I’ve already given you a few examples of deeper gifts.
What are others? Why might it be so important?