A Gift Guide with Heart :023

This Gift Guide Does Not Have Product Suggestions

This gift guide could actually be the start of a gift that keeps on giving; a well-tuned-in heart.

Even when I’ve had very little money to spend, I found ways to give meaningful gifts that make people smile and feel special… but better yet… feel understood!

To know that someone holds you in a special place in their heart is one of the most beautiful gifts in the world to receive! This guide is to help you express those sentiments at anytime… especially during the holidays!


It’s not about the gift… Well, it is, but it isn’t…

To give or receive a gift is initially about the gift, but there is this amazing opportunity for a gift to become a channel of sentiment.

As you begin to imagine what to give a person, connect with the emotion that you feel for them: love, passion, appreciation, admiration, tenderness, fondness, adoration, care, intrigue, fun, elation, etc., etc. It could be that you experience several of these and more!



Connect with the Person

Although the holiday season does tend to focus us on the material things; we are also reminded to connect.

Gift giving is a bit of an art, like interior decorating. If you hire an interior decorator, they don’t just put together a room how they would like theirs to be; they (should) observe you, the colors and patterns you use often in your wardrobe and the lifestyle you lead.

The best gifts are not what you want to give to another person… The best gifts are all about the recipient.


Sounds good, but how do you really know what to give?

Sometimes we are too close to people to really get a perspective on who they are and what they want. Don’t believe me? Go through the following inquiries… I guarantee you’ll learn something new about the people who are closest to you! (And learn how to give a great gift in the process!)


What’s their “Love Language”?

The Five Love Languages is an ever-helpful book written by Dr. Gary Chapman. The principles in this book can be used in all kinds of relationships and encounters, even with children and I have found it helpful in business too!

In the book Dr. Chapman illustrates how we each have two primary “Love Languages” with which we like to communicate and especially to receive our messages of love. They are:

  • Physical Touch
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Acts of Service
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Quality Time

While writing this article I took the quiz again: it’s been quite a few years since I last did it and I wanted to confirm my Love Languages. My top 2 Love Languages are Acts of Service and Receiving Gifts.

Take the Love Language Quiz for yourself and even ask your loved ones to take it. Or, at least through taking it yourself you’ll get an idea for what may be their primary Love Languages.


Another way to figure out their Love Language is

Observe what they tend to give more often. We tend to give what we like to receive. It’s natural that we subconsciously think that others will appreciate what we like.

Also, what do they complain about:

  • Physical Touch: Why don’t you touch me? Hold my hand. Or they are particular about how they like to be touched.
  • Words of Affirmation: You never say you love me! (This may be exaggerated but feels true to them.) Tell me I’m doing a good job for once!
  • Acts of Service: Would you just help out! I do all the work around here!
  • Receiving Gifts: I can’t wait for my birthday, at least I know that I can count on a gift then!
  • Quality Time: Why can’t you take some time for us? When can we have time together, just the two of us?

Note, I am not at all advocating the above tactics!


You can notice their primary Love Languages by what they ask for or treat themselves to:

  • Physical Touch: Massage, spa treatments, hand holding, caressing.
  • Words of Affirmation: Seeking friendships with people who offer praise. Posting social media posts that initiate praise. Bolstering oneself.
  • Acts of Service: Volunteering, offering to help others (even when they are short on time, energy and help for themselves).
  • Receiving Gifts: Giving gifts to others (especially if for no apparent reason). Self-gifting even going as far to wrap and/or put presents out for self.
  • Quality Time: Depending on their personality they will either force Quality Time to happen or seek the Quality Time with the people with whom it is possible. They will use texting or messaging as a tool but not as a true means to have Quality Time. They will settle for phone conversations but prefer face-to-face encounters. It bothers them greatly when you put the phone between you and them!


Now you Should have a Good Idea of Which Category of Gift to Give

Treat him or her to:

  • Physical Touch: Do it yourself if your loved-one also likes Quality Time, or schedule a couple’s massage!
  • Words of Affirmation: Do a fun collage of things you love about him/her, or notes around the house 12-days of Christmas style or some other seasonal theme.
  • Acts of Service: Make a coupon book with redeemable chores you will help with. Leave a few that are fill-in requests. Be sure to honor them! I would suggest you add a line of “will be completed within 1 day or 1 week” for example, for clarity. (Just a hint from experience.)
  • Receiving Gifts: Read the next section on Body-typing to really hone-in on what type of gift to give.
  • Quality Time: Put some thought and effort into it. My hubby is a Quality Time person. This is my least dominant Love Language, so I have to really think from his perspective on this one. Remember, a gift is about the recipient. I will often go to movies that I don’t particularly enjoy because I know he likes to go, together. I find it silly that we don’t even get to talk or interact except for after the movie, but that doesn’t matter, it’s for him. I have found myself looking deeper into movies and we have great discussions afterwards!


One more thing… Go for the Gold! What’s their Body-type?

Really good gift-giving is not simple, but it brings meaning to relationships. As you’ve seen me illustrate, I use the term gift-giving liberally. Sometimes you give of your time, sometimes you give in a type of effort.

This post is not just about “The Holiday Spirit,” it’s about cultivating healthy relationships for the long-run, not just for a season.

As I describe in my book, You-niversal Self-care: Improved Health Through Self-Understanding, we each show dominance in two of the four Body-types.

Take the Body-type Quiz (in the sidebar).


Understanding our Body-type (and that of others) can help us with our health and even relationships!


Earth-types are naturally very grounded and homey. They tend to focus on friends, family, home, good food and often are great crafters or makers. I have observed that many Earth-types really appreciate the Quality Time (Love Language). Truly, for them, one of the greatest gifts you can give is the gift of your presence. The second most common Love Language I see among this type is Receiving Gifts. This type loves collecting and preserving keep-sakes and mementos. A framed family photo, a charm for a bracelet or a mother’s ring would be special gifts. Notice what they collect. Can you add something particularly meaningful to that collection?



This type is always clear on what they want. Often materially oriented, they love gifts, but if they can afford it; they likely have everything they want which can make gifting challenging. If you’re not sure, ask! They will tell you want they want, if they haven’t already made it clear! It’s best to ask this type what they want. If you get it wrong, they’ll let you know- and who wants that disappointment?


Air-type and Water-type

These types can be the most challenging to shop for. These are elements that tend towards instability (as opposed to the clock-like Earth-type). Even if you ask them what they want, you still might not get a clear answer. Worse yet, they may be unsure, or if they’re moody, they might test you by making you guess. Keep asking, and then follow-through to whatever level you can. This will open-up the usually thought-oriented Air-type and earn you huge points- this doesn’t have to be a diamond ring! Maybe what your creative Water-type wants to do is take some dance classes together or a couples painting class with wine tasting: sure, perhaps this sounds torturous to you, but have fun with it! Make fun of yourself! You’ll be amazed by the memories you make by truly giving with the other person in mind!


Still need help?

Comment below and we’ll put our minds together to come up with a memorable, material or intangible gift!