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‘Twas the night before Christmas

I am a gift giver...

Well, at least I thought I was.

A long time ago, I read a book called, The Five Languages, by Gary Chapman. The book talks about the way we show love to others, as well as how we would like love to be shown to us. If you go to his website, you can take a quiz to find out what your love language is.

Of his 5 languages, my primary love language is "Words of Affirmation". I feel love when someone tells me I did a good job, or that they appreciate me using words. A very close second is "Acts of Service". Who knew that helping out with the daily "chores" can be a turn on. These 2 languages are almost equal in their scoring for me.

Next, and this time absolutely equal in their scoring, is "Quality Time" and "Receiving Gifts". I'd agree. Who doesn't like spending time with their loved ones, or getting gifts. Last on the list, and far at the bottom is "Physical Touch".

Ask my family...I've never liked to be touched.

So what does this have to do with Christmas, and the holiday season?

I love giving gifts. I probably give too many gifts. I put $ in every donation bucket I see. I also enjoy getting gifts too. But the quiz says otherwise. And the quiz is actually correct.

In thinking back over the book, and recently taking the quiz on Chapman's website, I wondered if these "love languages" could help me choose presents for my family this year.

The more I think about it, the more I believe I have overcompensated giving gifts because I did not get a lot of affirmation as a youngster. I received tons of gifts, just not very many "nice jobs".

In fact, "negative motivation" was the means my dad used to inspire me.

He was not abusive or anything like that. He was a good father, providing us with anything we wanted. He just wasn't a very nice person.

Words of Affirmation were rare in my house.

In fact, I can't recall a time when I was told, "good job" by my dad.

I do remember after making a diving catch in the outfield in a high school softball game, preventing a home run, and all my teammates were slapping me on the back, saying "great catch." Of course, I went to my father afterwards. He said to me, "you didn't have to dive for the ball."

Um, yeah, I did.

My mom was the opposite, always telling me good job, and doing everything for us. Lots of affirmation and acts of service from her.

Now, my kids...they know my love language! I am told constantly that I am doing a good job and they always ask how my swim (bike, run, workout) went when I return. When I complete a race, they are there cheering me and encouraging me all the way. They definitely show me love!

If I could only get them to clean up their rooms (an act of service), then life would be perfect!

This year has been tough...I think we all know that. And one thing that we have been given this year (whether we like it or not), is the Gift of Time [see previous blog post]. And even though that it is not my primary love language, it has been wonderful.

I have yet again gone overboard with gifts this year. Guess I'm still compensating, but sometimes I feel like I am not "heard" when I show love. I know my husband and B both have physical touch for their primary love language. J is a little more difficult to figure out, but I think it is quality time. He enjoys having me just hang out with him doing what he wants to do--usually watching videos of trains.

Luckily, both boys have good heads on their shoulders, especially B. Anytime there is a food drive or fundraiser at school, he wants in. Bring in canned goods for the "turkey trot" before Thanksgiving? They are all over it. Bring in hats and mittens for the kids that don't have any before Christmas break? B is digging through his stuff to see what he can give. Bring in a a couple of dollars for the food bank. They both want to help. Acts of Service may be their secondary language.

Part of me thinks it is because they reward the kids at school with, "Pajama Day", or some other fun event, but it doesn't matter. I'm all for helping others.

Tis the season for giving. And I love that. I am sad that there are no Salvation Army buckets to put a few dollars in every time I go to the store. It breaks my heart that there will be more people than ever going without this year. I try to do what I can, but the need is still there.

It may not be my primary love language, but I am a gift giver...and still probably overdoing it.

Regardless of how you show your love to your family, SHOW IT!!! Give hugs for no reason. Tell someone you love them out of the blue. Do the laundry. Ask if you can help them with their project. Go outside and play in the snow with them. Make cookies together. Give them a card or some small gift (chocolate?). And this year, make a phone call, or Facetime them. Do something. They will appreciate it.

So on this Christmas Eve, I am going to relax with my family. Maybe we will watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" or if J has his way, "The Polar Express". Maybe we will enjoy some hot chocolate. I will read the Christmas Story to them before bed. And then wait for Santa to arrive.

Just some quality time with my guys.

And for a few moments before I go to sleep, I will be like Mary and "treasure up all these things and ponder them in her [my] heart" (Luke 2:19)

Enjoy the time with your families. Show the spirit of the holidays by being present with your loved ones. And show them you love them, in whatever way you can.

Because in the end...isn't that what we all want?

Merry Christmas!

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