When your Love Language and Responsibility Collide: Holiday Spending

Hi ladies! I’ve written before on “the 5 love languages” described by Gary Chapman. This is a tool to fill your “love tank,” as one dear friend calls it. The five languages are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Gifts, Physical Touch, and Acts of Service. Of course, you can “speak” different languages depending on your state in life, and even different dialects (gift- giving vs. gift-receiving), but all are meant to explain which ways best help you feel loved. Your mate can then “speak” your language and all will be merry in your loving relationship.

But what happens when your language is “gift-giving”… and you and your husband have a strict budget? And what happens when the wedding season has hit and Christmas is just around the corner?

Trouble, that’s what.

Here are some practical tips for being responsible with your language without breaking the bank or causing a lover’s riff.

  • Take a break from spending to clarify your language. I did this for a month, not buying any gifts for friends or my beau. I won’t lie, it was really difficult. I only spend impulsively if it’s for another person, and I love the smiles I receive when giving the random “This reminded me of you” gift. What I learned was that **surprise** there are OTHER ways to love as well. I gave more of my time, became stronger in my ability to serve, and ultimately realized I can “love” without spending. That being said, I did truly miss being able to find trinkets that told the other person they were present in my daily routine.

  • Keep an Envelope. I did this one year for Christmas. I made an envelope for each of my family members and put $20-$30 in each. When I went shopping, I took the envelopes and kept all the transactions separate, based on which member I was searching for. World Market satisfied Mom, Grandma, and a best friend. Walmart was great for my uncle and brother. A few Baskin Robbins fed my grandpa’s stocking. It was a great way to see, visually, what funds I had left for each person instead of lumping everyone together. That way, if I got more gifts for Mom than Dad, I could be sure that I still spent the same amount and not feel guilty.

  • Make a List. To avoid the impulse, gather a few gift ideas before you hit the stores. Browse hobbies, intellectual pursuits, unfulfilled dreams, and upgrades in quality. My brother loves cars so I head to Kragen Auto Parts for some ideas. My dad wants my time, so a planned picnic and outdoor jazz concert is in order. Mom is happy with anything crafty, so an outing together to gather moss in the mountains with a gift card to Michaels and a bouquet of flowers is a good idea. Grandpa loves travel but doesn’t read much. Grandma loves her grandchildren and learning new things….oh! How about a community center class on shrunken wool projects? No doubt she’ll make something for the kids for next year’s Christmas. Having trouble? Take it as a signal to get closer to the family or friend(s).