Holiday Gifts

Lifetree News
Creating Prosperity with Harmony
Alice G. Vlietstra, Ph.D.
December, 2009

Holiday Gifts

In This Issue:

1.  Welcome
2.  Holiday Gifts
3.  Making Your Gifts Special
4.  More Than Material Gifts, We Need Each Other
5.  Announcements

1.  Welcome

The holiday season is a time for giving, sharing, celebrating, and creating
new visions for the upcoming year. When you look over the last year, what
has touched you the most? How has this impacted your intentions for the next
year? What I received was better than I expected. It was the joy of seeing
the rebuilding of community and our relationships. A key to it is
appreciating the gifts we have of each other. This is the focus of this
e-newsletter.

As of last month, I have changed the name of my newsletter, Successful Relating, to LifeTree news, and have given it a new format.  I hope you like it.

2. Holiday Gifts

The Holidays are a time for sharing gifts. Often, we see gifts as material items
and search for the perfect one, only to feel tired and drained. Actually, far
more important than the material item is what it means to us. We want to express a grateful heart and love. There are many ways you can share with the loved ones in your life. This year, I encourage you to take a moment to discover the priceless gifts that have no price tag,and do not wear out. Even better, you can give them anytime, even at the last minute.

Gary Chapman, in his classic book, The Five Love Languages identified five
ways through which people share their care and good will. Their love language
is their primary way of expressing and interpreting love.

Here are the five love languages:

• Acts of Service
• Quality Time
• Words of Affirmation
• Receiving Gifts
• Physical Touch

The five languages of love can help you discover ways of sharing holiday cheer
that are special and unique for each person. Moreover, once you identify their
love language, you can continue to build on them throughout the year. Watch your
loved ones. See if you can determine the languages that resonate most with them.
If possible, ask them about their love languages. Then give a gift in that
language.

Making Your Gifts Special

In order to make your gifts special, you want to observe your loved ones to
discover what they actually like. So many times, we give what we like, and assume they like the same. Actually, what they like may be very different. A gift is
appreciated more when it is special for them. Below are examples of how the love languages show up.

Acts of Service - First, check out if your loved ones enjoy acts of service as
a language of love. Do they like to do things for you and others? Then design
an act of service in their special area of giving. For example, if they enjoy
cooking, you might what to have a baking or a cooking party. Notice where your
loved one's seem most enthusiastic and engaged. Tell them what you appreciate. Another way can be helping out in the community by giving to a needy family, a neighbor, or to a food pantry. All of these celebrate your loved ones whose love language is acts of service.

Quality Time - Watch to see if your loved ones appreciate your undivided
attention. Then create a special time for them. Often quality time is not
considered, especially during the holiday season. Yet, you will find that
it is deeply appreciated and enjoyed. It could sharing a special meal, and
sharing your stories, or the photos of the times you have enjoyed. Being
there for this type of person is critical. The TV off, chores and tasks set
aside, is especially important for this person to feel special and loved.

Words of Affirmation - If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments
and encouragement can mean the world to you. You can see it in your loved ones by their response to your good words. If they smile and say how much they
appreciate it, it is a good clue that it is special for them. You can make
your appreciation special with a note or a poem describing what you have seen.
It is especially helpful when you are acknowledging their effort in completing
a difficult task. Notice how it builds your relationship and your joy of giving
and receiving love.

Receiving Gifts - Carefully selected material gifts can be deeply meaningful.
These gifts do not need to be pricy to become priceless. Much more than the
cost of a physical item is the thought and effort behind it. As we become
older the novelty of material items has often worn off. A meaningful gift
might be a special memento acknowledging your loved one. Or it may be a
material item they really enjoy or need. For young children, rather than
buying numerous toys, why not try a gift as such as blocks that stimulate
their creativity. Too many material items can inhibit children's attention,
whereas creative items builds their resourcefulness.

Physical Touch - Notice how your loved ones respond to physical touch. Then
give as you see appropriate. Some people are comfortable with open expressions of affection. Others may like affection that is more discrete. For example, a cool teenager might like a hug or an arm around the shoulder, as long as their friends are not looking. Little children often are more open in
receiving hugs. Tired adults might appreciate physical touch with a back rub,
a foot rub, or a coupon for a professional massage.

All of these ways are of sharing gifts that build our sharing and our
appreciation of each other.

More than Material Gifts, We Need Each Other

This last year we have seen the fallacy of an economy that places an emphasis
on materialism. It has not always served us. In the study of happiness, getting
more stuff has only a transient effect on our well-being. After the novelty of
material items wear off, real happiness and well being comes from our sense of community, working toward a higher purpose, and engaging our most prized and individual talents.

This holiday season, you might consider the gifts that are enduring,that have
no impact on our environment, and do not drain your pocket. Discuss it with you
loved ones, ask them what they would like. You may enjoy your material items
more, when they are continually balanced with the priceless ones.

5.  Announcements:

Women's Growth Group - Learn how to change your stress to success by discovereing what you really need and want.  Experience support from other women as we release old limiting relationship patterns.  This group will be held at 1:00 PM Saturday, January 30th at my office.  Email me for a flyer.

May You Have a Joyous Holiday Season,


Dr. Alice

Reference

Chapman, Gary.  The Five Love Languages. Chicago, IL:  Northfield
Publishing, 1995.

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