Saturday, December 10, 2011


December is definitely a month for gift giving. There are more days to celebrate religious and social rituals in December than any other month of the year: Hanukkah, First Day of Winter, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve as well as my grandbaby’s birthday and nephew’s wedding anniversary. There is the lighting of menorah candles, singing Christmas carols, observing the African harvest and Santa’s arrival. It is the perfect time for giving and receiving gifts – especially gifts with love.

You may be expecting diamonds, an Ipad or a Mercedes-Benz but it’s the thoughtful consideration of giving and receiving that can fill your heart and life with joy. I recently discovered Dr. Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages (pub. 2007) and its helpful guide to giving a gift with love.

Words of Affirmation. Honest praise and compliments are gifts appreciated long after they are received. Saying ‘I love you’ is a treasure when offered with heart-felt endearment.
Quality Time. The gift of your time may be worth more than any material it you could give. Children, parents and friends relish company and undivided time and attention.
Receiving Gifts. Whether tchotchkes or flowers, jewelry or season tickets, the recipient feels loved when you present them as a token of your affection.
Acts of Service. Doing chores, helping to lighten the load at home or away is a message saying ‘I respect you, admire you and appreciate you.’
Physical Touch. a gentle touch, a warm embrace or sitting close beside a grandma, child, friend or lover makes you feel appreciated and loved.

Being a child of the great depression, I grew up with the rewards of hard work, appreciation and a loving family. I believe Dr. Chapman got it right with his five point guide. The most valuable things I ever received came to me when money was scarce and times were frightening; honest praise for honest achievement, undivided attention of parents, siblings and teachers, tokens of respect and willing assistance in ordinary activities. I remember well the closeness I felt with my parents – even sitting on my mother’s lap when I was a grown woman and, remarkably, vividly recalling the unique ‘imprint’ of holding each of my children as babies and toddlers.

Perhaps Dr. Chapman can help you give ‘a gift with love’ to someone special this holiday. It could be worth more than money can buy…

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