Sometimes finding the perfect gift can be a difficult task, even when it’s for someone you love. Our choices are especially limited by the pandemic, with the usual popular selections like dinner at an exclusive restaurant or a romantic movie date off the table for safety’s sake. Just as the past Christmas necessitated a different approach to gift-giving, Valentine’s Day 2021 will have to be tackled uniquely as well.
This guide is also great for anyone who usually has trouble coming up with gifts for this occasion. The difficulty of shopping for others is amplified this year, as restricted movement has eliminated the need for most things that are usually gifted. Why buy a fancy watch for someone who has no workplace to wear it to? Or a pair of cute boots for a person who has no trendy bars to show them off at?
I think this year’s V-Day is the best time to try a different tactic because we’re all in need of the kind of connection that’s a lot more meaningful than usual. Said tactic is gifting by love language, based off the 1992 book by author Gary Chapman, titled The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. This exploration of the individual ways of viewing love is said to have revolutionized the way that romance is performed, so much so that the lessons from it resonate with many to this day.
This year’s V-Day is the best time to try a different tactic because we’re all in need of the kind of connection that’s a lot more meaningful than usual.
So what are the five love languages? Let’s dive into each one a bit to figure out which ones you and your partner identify with.
Words of Affirmation
First up, is words of affirmation. This is for the folks who like to hear compliments, praise, and other forms of verbal affection from their partners. They want love and appreciation from their romantic partners, friends, and family expressed vocally or in written form.
The best gifts for people with this love language are heartfelt greeting cards, love notes, a text to say they’re on your mind, or something like a keepsake book detailing what you love about them.
Next up, is quality time. This love language is embodied by cozy nights on the couch in front of the telly and other intentionally spent moments rather than gifts of trinkets. For people with this love language, this means that they measure love from others by how much time the people who love them dedicate to them. They want someone who will really listen to them and provide undivided attention, demonstrating a genuine adoration and investment in the time that is spent together.
If this is your valentine’s love language, consider scheduling a dinner or movie date just for the two of you. It’s okay if you can’t safely be together in the same location, as modern video chat technology makes a lot possible these days.
And then we have physical touch. These are the snuggle super fans, the ones who love to have some sort of physical contact, even if it’s just a quick brush of your hand against them as you walk by or a hug from everyone they meet. For them, love is communicated through touch and represents an intimate connectedness. My heart goes out to all whose love language this is, who are separated from the ones they love and are unable to receive loving physical contact.
If this is the love language of your beloved, a great Valentine’s Day gift would be a DIY massage at home or an item that you can use together, like a snuggly blanket for the couch or an intimate couple’s toy.
If you or your partner’s love language is receiving gifts, you measure love by the gifts and little trinkets you receive from your loved ones. Gift giving is not about frivolity or extravagance, but rather an expression of how much the people who love them think of them, pay attention to them, and notice the small things that they like.
Just like all of the other love languages, acting on this preference isn’t limited to Valentine’s Day alone. If your friend likes tea, send them a tea-themed package on V-Day, their birthday, or any other day, just so say, “Hey, I’m thinking about you.” Everything from care packages to unique one-offs could make great gifts. Maybe even that one kinda pricey thing that they’ve been eyeing but haven’t been able to splurge on themselves.
Acts of Service
And last, we have acts of service, which is one of mine. If this is your sweetie’s love language, you can tell because they really appreciate it when someone does things to make their life easier or lift a burden off their shoulders. Actions like emptying the dishwasher so they don’t have to after work, helping with the kids so they can sleep in, or taking their car to be serviced.
For Valentine’s Day this year, try to think of something that they need help with, or an item you could purchase to improve their quality of life. For instance, an ergonomic chair to comfortably WFH in, or taking on the job of organizing the Christmas decorations in the garage so that your significant other isn’t frustrated the next time they try to find them.
It’s important to note which love languages your loved one prefers because we naturally tend to give love in the languages that we prefer, which may not match up with our partner’s, friend’s, or family member’s. Taking time to understand what others’ preferences are is a demonstration of the love and affection that we have for them. So this Valentine’s Day, dig deep and be intentional about the way you love the people in your life, as it will surely infuse a dose of sweetness into the celebration of love.