Monday, December 2, 2013

The Five Love Languages of Christmas

The holiday season is almost upon us and as usual there is a lot of discussion about gifts. A big dilemma for me when my children were little was what to get them and how much to get them. The lists they gave me seemed endless and changed continually, depending on the current toy being advertised on television. Just when I thought I had a plan, the number one gift suddenly plummeted to number twenty and something new was number one. I was frustrated and bewildered.

What Message Are We Sharing with Our Children? 

Christmas can be a time of blessing our children or spoiling our children. It's hard to draw the line as to when blessing becomes over indulging but many adults would agree that children today in many households are growing up with a sense of entitlement rather than a sense of empowerment and responsibility. Here are some messages that gift giving can communicate:
  • the way to demonstrate love is through things
  • the way to make up for parenting neglect is through things
  • the way to manipulate children into behaving is through providing things
  • the path to happiness is accumulating things
Notice how the word thing is in every sentence?  Learning to give and receive is an important part of the holiday.  Making sure that things don't become the focus of Christmas is important.

Recognizing the Five Love Languages

Recognizing our children's personality or temperament is one way to give positive messages throughout the year but especially at Christmas. As parents we connect best with our children when  we speak to them through the five love languages. They are:
  • Words of affirmation--Could you write your child a Christmas letter that expresses gratitude for all their unique qualities?
  • Acts of service--Could you share a service project together? It could be something that helps the community, family members or even the world.
  • Receiving gifts--We all focus on this one at Christmas! One suggestion for managing this aspect of Christmas is to buy your child three gifts: one gift that the child wants, one that they need and one that is a surprise. I think this suggestion is fabulous and it covers all the possibilities. It has an element of fun, an element of practicality or educational value and it also gives the child a choice but forces some prioritizing of items.
  • Quality time--Could your gift be spending some special time enjoying a particular activity together?  Could you make some family memories?
  • Physical touch--Hopefully this is a part of every day but a gift could focus on a relaxing back rub before bed or an evening of snuggling in front of a movie as a family.
Teaching children to become other-focused rather than self-centered and me-focused is an important step in making sure that our children grow up to be caring compassionate adults. There are many ways to encourage this in our children, but Christmas is a season especially rich in opportunities to bless our children.

Looking for a great book to help you understand the five love languages and how they can relate to children? Check it out here:

Looking for a great book to help children understand the difference between getting and giving?  Check out:


  1. Lynne, this a fantastic reminder of how we should be raising our children and grandchildren to be grateful, responsible, and empowered. I will be sharing this one!
    Oh, and thanks so much for giving a set of my books to Lange. She told me about it at the staff luncheon on Monday and says she and her family are enjoying the read. You are so thoughtful and such a wonderful friend and supporter.
    Love and blessings!

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