Holidays and Love Languages

I’ll admit it: I’m a Scrooge 

Christmas, and the holiday season in general, puts a sour taste in my mouth. The same old holiday music blasting in the overcrowded shopping malls, the endless promotional emails from stores I’ve never been to, the out-the-door lines at the post office. No thank you.

I still celebrate Christmas, mainly because I’ve been socially conditioned to do so, and because I don’t want to be responsible for causing my Christian missionary grandmother a great deal of sadness. This year, while I have had extra time to sit and ponder during the pandemic, I think I’ve figured out the root cause of my general lack of enthusiasm for this time of year. 

“Receiving gifts” is last in line of my preferred love languages 

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy receiving gifts. I enjoy giving gifts even more. But when it’s obligatory, I get all panicky about it. I get the same anxiety about the other must-give-a-gift events, like bachelorette parties and Valentine’s Day. Some may say I’m just being a selfish party pooper. But the level of anxiety it gives me tells me it’s my least preferred love language. 

I can’t be the only one! So I’m writing to help out those who share my holiday woes. Let’s first take a quick look at love languages without mixing in the holidays. They consist of:

  1. Receiving gifts
  2. Words of affirmation
  3. Quality time
  4. Physical touch
  5. Acts of service

A love language is the way in which you best receive someone’s love. Their love for you is loudest when they “speak” your love language. Everyone has a primary love language, and for some, a close second. For example, my primary is words of affirmation, followed by physical touch. I feel my partner’s love for me the most when he tells me he appreciates me and puts his hand on my knee in the car. When he buys me a gift, of course, I’m thankful and enjoy it, but it doesn’t speak quite as loudly as telling me he loves me. 

To find out your primary, think about what you do to show your love. People typically default to showing love the way they wish to receive love. Do you find yourself giving a lot of your undivided attention and time to your friends? Perhaps your primary is quality time. Does your friend frequently get you a little gift just because? Her primary is probably receiving gifts. 

You want to show your love and appreciation for someone using their love language. Of course, you can show your love in all love languages. But to really make an impact, speak their language. 

Got it. But how does this help me during the holidays?

Give them the gift of their love language! Here are some gift ideas:

  • Words of affirmation – watch or jewelry with a personalized message engraved on it
  • Quality time – bottle of wine with some glasses and a note saying you’ve scheduled a wine tasting with them at a nearby winery
  • Physical touch – gift certificate for a massage, or a new vibrator from MedAmour
  • Acts of service – voucher for a cleaning service for their home
  • Receiving gifts – easy! Almost anything physical item that they might like. The holidays are their personal heaven. Perhaps a new toy for the bedroom!

If you share my Scrooge-y feelings around holiday gift giving, keep in mind, it’s really about spreading the love. 

Liz Mallers is a Charlotte-based sex educator with an M.Ed. in Human Sexuality Studies from Widener University. She specializes in women’s sexual health, intimacy, and pleasure, with an overarching goal to help people embrace their sexuality as a vital part of their overall health and well-being. Liz is often described as informative and entertaining with an upbeat and trustworthy personality. When she isn’t talking about sex, you can find Liz dancing at rock concerts, creating and appreciating art, and trying desperately to keep her plants alive.

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