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How to Give Gifts Like It’s Your Love Language

“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving”

Mother Teresa

With the winter holidays quickly approaching, gift guides are coming out giving us advice on what to give to who. Any time you talk to someone about gift giving, most people have a particular person in their life who is difficult to shop for. Many say the men in their lives (i.e. boyfriend, brother, father, grandfather) are the most difficult to shop for. Sometimes even after going through countless Pinterest boards and Google searches, you still don’t have a clue of what to give to someone, but you refuse to just give money. Here are some tips for how to give gifts like you’re an expert aka your love language is gift giving. I will also add examples for each tip (some may or may not be based on real gifts given…)

Think about things that person buys for themselves

This tip usually works for people you know very well. Does your best friend get a particular cologne/perfume for special occasions? Do your parents get gas or coffee from a specific place over others? Does your sibling have their favorite artist currently selling merch or concert tickets? We buy things for ourselves without thinking about it, but when others buy the products we repeatedly buy for ourselves, it shows that they pay attention to our life.

Real life example: My sister really likes tea, so I bought her a variety of tea, as well as the tea she usually buys.

Think about their day to day life

If you want the gift receiver to frequently use your gift, think about where they go during their day to day life. Think about their commute to work or school. Think about the hobbies they indulge in. Think about areas in their life where they may need improvement (i.e. trouble sleeping, body pain, self care) and encourage the improvement with a gift. Getting friends with chronic pain products to help remedy it, or giving a stressed out relative a journal and bath bombs are ways to encourage self improvement and overall happiness.

Think about what they may ‘need’

Even though the main things we need as humans are food, water, shelter, clothes, and air, there are certain things we may not want, but could slightly improve our lives or just daily experiences. If you have a friend that has been talking about a hobby or subject they are interested in (i.e. cross stitching, resin art, tarot cards, DND gaming), getting something that is a ‘starter kit’ can show that person in your life that you are supportive of their interests. We also have mini annoyances in our lives that could easily remedied with a little thought. If you have a friend whose phone is always low on battery, getting them a portable charger can help that issue. Thinking about the gift receiver’s small inconveniences and buying gifts tailored towards fixing or improving these issues is a great way to show genuineness.

Real life example: My dad works third shift at a hotel, and packs lunch each night for himself. He used to just bring Kroger bags as his carrier, so I bought him a lunch box.

add personalizations

One of my favorite parts of making gifts is thinking of ways to add little personalizations as a way to further the care in the gift. Specific wrapping paper, adding bows and stickers, can make the first part of the gift giving experience an enjoyable one as it excites the receiver as to what is under the intriguing wrapping. Another way to add personalization is making mundane items personal. Adding someone’s initials to things such as ornaments, socks, a blanket, or any other simple product that can be made personal because of its simple base.

Real life example: Instead of giving my father a regular lunch box, I got him a Star Wars lunch box, as it’s his favorite franchise.

Ask people close to them

If we have someone who we want to give a gift to, but are not very confident in our overall knowledge of what they would like, there’s nothing wrong with asking their significant other or close friend or relative what some of their favorite things may be or something they’ve been talking about for the past few months. Even just asking small others small details like their favorite candy as a stocking-stuffer or second opinion if you’re choosing between two shirts. The added opinion can even help confirm your gift choice and its personalization to the specific person.

Real life example: I asked my best friend’s significant other about scents for a candle for my best friend. I sent them the same list I saw and I chose one of the scents we both agreed she would like.

Give an experience instead of a gift

When all else fails, giving someone an experience is a great gift. Massage parlors and spas frequently sell gift cards and vouchers. Day passes at amusement parks, concerts, or festivals are great experiences for all ages. They’re different than regular gift cards to stores because instead of products, they receive an experience, whether a relaxing experience at with a free facial, or a fun experience at a laser tag area. Experiences are as personal as personal gets, because the receiver is immersed in the gift, reminding that person of the opportunity you gave them.

Maria Duffy

Bowling Green '22

Maria Duffy is a fourth year Communication student at Bowling Green State University with a minor in Women's Studies. She hopes to get her Masters soon. Duffy has a passion for learning, writing, and empowering intersecting identities in terms of race and gender. They hope to inspire and work towards a more inclusive world.
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