Something about the Christmas season is just so beautiful. It’s a time for love, joy, patience, and family.
The past few years I haven’t been in the Christmas spirit as much. It’s always been tied with Valentine’s Day for my favorite holiday, but I think I just Christmassed myself out after years of starting to listen to the tunes the day after Halloween and jumping into the season a little too early. I always love spending the day with my family, but leading up to it just hasn’t been as thrilling as it usually is for a few years. My family and I have little traditions I’ve looked forward to — like driving around our neighborhood and looking at lights and going to the Japanese steakhouse for hibachi on Christmas Eve — but I haven’t been going nuts about the holiday for more than a month in advance like I usually would.
This year I’m really excited about all the beauty Christmas has to offer. I’m excited to see all the beautiful lights and decorations, I’ve found some Christmas albums I’m not tired of, and I want to do lots of little acts of kindness this season.
I started my shopping early this year and have already found gifts for several of my friends and family. We are going to New York City soon, and I am just dying to go to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree and ice arena. I haven’t ever been to the Top of the Rock, but I hear the views are spectacular, and arguably the best in Manhattan. I want to go to Macy’s to see the Christmas displays in the windows, and I want to visit the new cafe to see what it’s really like having Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
This season I want to build gingerbread houses, bake cookies for people who have touched my life in one way or another, and drive around looking at lights at least twice a week. I am going to drink lots of peppermint hot chocolate, sit in front of the fire with cozy wool socks and my puppy, and watch as many Hallmark Christmas movies as I can handle. I feel like my list is getting incredibly ambitious, but I think we need to celebrate the things that make us excited in this life. Christmas is a time of the year we can really feel the magic of other people, and despite hating the cold, I always have a warm heart this time of year.
What makes you the most excited about the season? What are more fun things I can add to my list? What should I do to give more this holiday? I would love to hear some ideas in the comments!
The first Love Language I want to touch on is “gift giving” because although it seems incredibly simple and is arguably the “easiest” of the five, anyone with this as a top LL will tell you otherwise. It’s not at all materialistic or about the amount of money you spend. Gift giving as a love language is never about money; it’sall about the time you put into thinking about your partner for picking out something you know they’ll love.
I would definitely argue that nurture plays a large role in developing your Love Language as an adult. Ever since I was teeny tiny my mom has always loved surprising me with little goodies and treats. When I was a kid I would sometimes crawl into bed at night and feel something fuzzy against my feet. I peeled back the covers to find a little stuffed animal with a note attached, telling me that I was special and incredibly loved.
When I reached high school she still loved me this way and often left little cookies and notes scattered in the kitchen for me to find when I got home from cross country practice. I still have some of those cards to this day, and I have a really hard time throwing away letters because they are one of the most special things to me.
Even at 26 I will sometimes come home to find a little tube of lipstick or another fun cruelty-free beauty item on my bed. It makes my day every time, and the notes always give me a smile and my heart joy, too. Just knowing someone is thinking about you when you are away is a really special feeling.
Since I feel well-versed in gift giving, I wanted to come up with a little list to help people who might not be fluent in this love language yet. Just because one of the LL’s isn’t important to you, doesn’t mean it isn’t to your partner! It’s great taking this quiz and knowing your significant other’s results, as it can be hard to use LL’s that feel foreign to you. Working on speaking your partner’s language, though, can be a really rewarding task. I highly recommend reading the 5 Love Languagesbook if you haven’t! It teaches how to love on a whole new level.
Ideas for Guys to implement this LL:
Flowers. This is the answer to so many of life’s relationship problems. If you get in a fight flowers are great to say you’re sorry, but they’re also amazing for anniversaries, birthdays, sick days, and even “just because.” When gift giving was my top love language I used to always say that someone could go outside and pick me a bouquet of dandelion weeds and I would still find the gesture incredibly sweet. As I said before, it’s not the price sticker on the bouquet that we find so charming, rather it’s the sentiment that goes behind the gift that really matters.
Bring her favorite dessert home. This is one of the most underrated things, but I’m going to give my mom props in this post for always bringing me a new dark chocolate bar to try. She keeps my “chocolate drawer” (Yes, this is a thing in my household) stocked with my favorite Trader Joe’s 73% dark chocolate, and often brings home little treats from trips to the grocery store or when she goes to the neighboring town that holds the best gluten-free cupcakes around. The chocolate is great, and it always makes my heart so happy that she thinks of me even when I’m not around.
As a special treat girls love jewelry, but we know it’s expensive. Robert happens to be the best guy I’ve ever known about picking out beautiful jewelry. I’m always wearing something that he gave me, and it makes me smile and think of him when he’s not around. When we first started dating I wondered if this was Robert’s LL, as he always seemed to have a new little present for me. Two favorite stories come to mind with Robert. First, was a journal he bought and gave to me on our fourth date. It was a really beautiful leather journal — the kind I had always dreamed about getting, but could never justify buying for myself. I wrote in it the entire time he was deployed, and I just recently finished the last page. The second was actually a really goofy gift. I told Robert about someone calling me a mean name on my blog when I first started writing it, so he got me a book called, “Insults And Comebacks: Lines for All Occasions,” and told me to flip through it the next time someone got nasty with me. I’ve never actually used it for that purpose, but it made me laugh and cheered me up — and prepared me for the very few nasty comments I got during the Tom Brady YouTube video going around (Listen, I’m sorry I don’t watch football and had no idea I was “interrupting playoff season — I was just trying to do something nice for someone I love!). I still keep this book on my desk as a reminder that I am loved by the people who truly know my heart, and to write about things that scare me, even if I know everyone won’t be a fan. I’m still working on that.
Leave a sweet note on her pillow. This melts any girl’s heart, and whether she goes to sleep before or after you, it’s great to fall asleep with a smile on your face or wake up to a bright “good morning” from a loved one.
Ideas for Girls to implement this LL:
Since I feel very familiar with gift giving as one of my love languages, I’m going to use all personal examples. Please feel free to sound off other ideas in the comments! I am always looking for new ways to love, and would appreciate your tips.
“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” There is a reason this is such a popular idiom that is thrown around — because it’s so true! I am going to make a massive generalization and say that 95% of men love to eat. Bringing him his favorite dinner, surprising him with a treat, or packing a Snickers or Almond Joy (Yuck! That’s Robert’s favorite and I always feel funny buying it; I wish we were friends when we were younger, as he would have been the best person to trade candy with after a giant Halloween haul… “Here, I’ll trade you all my Almond Joys for your Peanut M&Ms and Junior Mints!”) in his lunch is a fantastically simple way to show him he’s on your mind. Add a note for extra sweetness!
Guys are so darn hard to shop for — at least the men in my life are — because they seem to buy the things they want. Pay close attention to what might be old or worn. I gave Robert a gift from Tom Brady and the Patriots on his 30th birthday this year (Oh gosh, I need to tell this story soon! I can’t believe I keep forgetting), but it was so darn hard to figure out what I wanted to buy him this year. I treated him to dinner and gave him a present 4 months late because no matter where I looked, I couldn’t find anything that screamed “Robert” to me. I ended up realizing the answer was right in front of me when he pulled out his worn leather wallet to pay for a toll to Boston. In that moment I smiled widely and decided that I needed to get him a nice new leather wallet. Not only would he think of me because he would see it every day, but he deserved to have nice things that were used as often as a wallet. I think this is hilariously enough one of the proudest presents I have purchased, as it took me such a long time to come up with it.
An experience can be a great gift to give a guy who is difficult to shop for. Whether it’s tickets to a football game or concert or an impromptu date night, he’ll be excited that you took the time to come up for a special day just for him. This is a great gift for guys who really value quality time as another love language.
Jerseys, event tickets, and video games are all nice presents, but they can be expensive to do on a really regular basis. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, get creative and make little surprises that he’ll love. Whether you go back to my #1 tip about food and decide to bake his favorite food or put together a nice picture frame for his room, you can always get creative with your presents.
For girls and guys:
Let’s mix 2 love languages and add a pinch of “Words of Affirmation” to gift giving. Cards and letters are incredible everyday gifts, as they hold a little piece of someone’s heart inside. I have an enormous box next to my bed that holds some of the most special letters I’ve received from friends, family, and Robert. I call this box my “happy box,” and will sit on the floor and read a handful when I’m feeling lost, sad, or just want to smile a little before bed. Several of the letters have become worn from use, but they are some of my most prized possessions. Each card couldn’t have cost more than $5, but the words painted on the page are what really hold value for me. This is the perfect example of gift giving not being about the money spent, rather the thought put into the gift that really matters.
Lastly, pay attention to the things your significant other loves. This is the easiest way to choose a gift, whether it’s a food or drink or a gift from their favorite store. People who have gift giving as a primary love language don’t care so much about the item you give to them as they do about the thought you put into the present. Instead of spending a lot of money on something just for the heck of it, feel free to choose several small tokens of love to spread out through the month. Giving to your loved ones won’t just make them happy, but I find that giving the perfect present makes my heart even more joyful than receiving things.
This is my first post about The Five Love Languages cheat sheet. Come back tomorrow for tips on using another LL. 🙂
I love a good deal. Having a chronic illness is expensive — especially since it doesn’t give me enough time (Or energy. Or strength.) to have a real job. My catch 22 to this is that I absolutely love buying people presents.
I’ve found a few great money saving hacks for my fellow college and grad students, high schoolers, and whoever likes to save a little money. I figure even if I was rich I would try to save money here and there, as that leaves more to donate or have to spend on little treats that I don’t need!
First, let’s talk cashback. Cashback websites are all about paying you to shop. Yes, that sounds too good to be true, but no, it’s not sketchy. Here’s the lowdown: stores pay these companies to advertise. These companies keep part of that money, and pay you the other part. This kind of advertising actually works really well because even I’ve found myself going to sites that are offering a special cashback deal to see if there’s anything worth spending money on. Here are my favorite sites (And if you decide to sign up, use my links, as we each get bonus sign-ups for the referral!):
Top Cashback: This website is almost always the best one for cashback percentages. They’ll give you money into a Paypal account, Amazon gift card, or American Express rewards card. I usually use the Paypal option, as I just use it again for other online purchases.
Ebates: This website offers great referral bonuses, and they send you a check in the mail instead of the options Top Cashback uses, and often offers bonus offers along with the cashback (Such as a $5 or $15 incentive to shop at a specific store).
Who Should Use These Sites? Just about anyone who does a decent amount of shopping online or if you’re purchasing something big like a computer, an iPhone, or a television! The purchases really add up, and the way I see it, these checks I get back can go into the “TREAT YO SELF” shopping fund.
Rewards and Subscriptions and Shipping — Oh my!
As I’ve mentioned before, I love giving presents… But I also love getting them, too! There are a few places I really love being a rewards member of, but I would encourage you to ask about any of your frequented shops having a program you could join.
Let’s talk Sephora. Ahh, how I love makeup. I have very high expectations for Sephora’s cyber Monday sale, despite them hardly doing anything for Black Friday (Online at least!). If you plan on shopping at Sephora more than twice this year, you have to join their Flash 2 day shipping. This is such a great secret on their website, and I don’t know how it isn’t really the talk of the town. Basically you pay $10 for free 2 day shipping for a year. A YEAR!!! Like, how could I not sign up?! I have purchased things as little as an eyeliner and gotten it shipped to my house quickly with the free samples they let you choose with any purchase. It’s seriously so amazing. This is the main reason I choose Sephora over Ulta now.
I’m not done with our Sephora conversation, though. Join their beauty rewards program ASAP! Not only do you earn free products, but you also get a gift on your birthday… And they’re usually really nice! This year I believe I will get a Marc Jacobs lipstick and eyeliner. I’m excited to try them out since his makeup is cruelty-free! My birthday is December 3rd, so I’ll definitely be back to talk about that if I love it.
Ulta does have a great rewards program too, as I feel like I’m always getting coupons in the mail. Sign up with the link above or in stores, and they will also give you a birthday gift during the month of your special day. This year I’ll be getting an Urban Decay eyeshadow, which is also a cruelty-free brand… Hooray!
FabFitFun is a new favorite subscription box of mine. I have some exciting news regarding this, but I’ll be sharing that a little bit down the road. Use this referral link to get $10 off your first box (so it is only $39.99), which is going to be kind of amazing. The thing I am most excited about is the Modcloth blanket scarf, which is going to be great to have all winter long. Robert’s family lives up in Massachusetts where it is absolutely freezing (though he assures me it’s “only a few degrees” colder than DC. A few degrees in the winter make all the difference!), so I’m definitely stocking up on some warm clothes for my visit this winter.
Not so into makeup or girly subscription boxes? A billion other places have reward programs, but I figured I would just touch on another favorite of mine — Starbucks! I love their mobile app, and get rewarded for all of my purchases. Not only do you get free coffee just for drinking coffee (Or peppermint hot chocolate if you’re a kid at heart like me), but you also get a free birthday drink and random deals Starbucks decides to send your way.
Lastly, my friend Robin has a company that works to help animals in need. She’s offering $5 off your purchase of $30 or more today only, so check out her website here! My favorite item is definitely the anchor toy for pups.
That’s all I’ll touch on today, as I feel like I kind of rambled, but these are some of my very favorite sites I use all the time. Feel free to let me know about others in the comments, or ask any specific questions and I’ll do my best to answer! 🙂
One of my favorite things in life is giving gifts. It’s easily my first love language and whether I write someone a letter or buy them a present, this is one way I absolutely love showing people how much I care about them. It doesn’t have anything to do with money; rather it is all about the fact that I take time out of my day to think about that person, and try to do something that I know will make them happy.
This summer my babysitting has been cut back, my physical therapy is at full throttle, and I am spending much of my time running from doctor to doctor. I am trying my very best to get better so that I can continue to chase my dream of becoming a writer. This means that I don’t have a lot of extra cash floating around, but I decided I wanted to extend my love language to you!
How? Well, a second favorite thing of mine is seeing women support other women. I may be incredibly competitive when it comes to strategy games like Settlers of Catan, but when it comes to friends pursuing their dreams I love helping in any way I can. Although it’s been a very different kind of dream, I have so appreciated each and every friend who has supported me and my writing. People I barely knew have become good friends after meeting to chat about dating, some of my close friends have “liked” and shared every post (I’m looking at you, Kalika!), and many of you have sent new followers my way.
These little gifts I’ll hand-pick depending on the person will just be my way of saying thank you for reading my writing and helping my blog grow so much. I’m going to hand pick people every couple of weeks to give little presents to for being so supportive. To be eligible to win, I just ask that you like my Facebook page, as that will be the place I’ll look through to choose people who I feel like have been extra great to SITS that month.
I have already figured out who I want to thank this week, and will be announcing it on my Facebook page tomorrow. In the meantime, thank you if you are reading this — I appreciate each and every one of you and am excited to give back a little.