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Psychological Benefits Of Holiday Gifts: Giving From The …


Did you know that giving holiday gifts creates happiness and psychological health? As we perform that act of generosity it nourishes love in our relationships and builds the human spirit. Bernadette Dimitrov noted “research shows that people who give without expectation and who do not feel diminished by the act of giving are the most psychologically healthy in our society today.”

She mentions seven benefits of giving holiday gifts:
Builds Relationships (reinforcing appreciation and acknowledgment)
Deepens Relationships (expressing more of who we are)
Expresses Feelings (such as gratitude, appreciations and thanks)
Creates Memories (as a symbol of our love)
Creates Predictability (the ritual of giving)
De-stressor ( takes focus off ourselves and creates balance)
Creates Miracles (reinforces love in all our lives when we give for the greater good)

Giving reinforces appreciation and acknowledgments of each other. Having related that, have you ever been given a Christmas gift that really didn’t belong under the Christmas tree for you? We can be gracious all day long and grateful for the thoughtful gesture, but with all the gratitude of a loving heart — you still don’t have a clue what you would do with the Christmas gift!

We often times give to others what we wish we could buy for ourselves or think they need. I don’t know about you, but when the Christmas tree ornaments are on the Christmas tree and the fireplace mantel is adorned to emit holiday cheer, I want to know that the relationship I am nurturing by giving a gift is accompanied by something that reinforces love and builds the bond of a treasured relationship. The point of this is that when we give without expecting anything in return we create true spiritual and psychological health.

The holidays are the perfect time to deepen relationships. But, what if your partner has a problem with spending money and you enjoy gifts? Or have you ever wondered how to foolproof your ideas for holiday gifts? Here’s how: by understanding your gift receiver’s love language! The book “The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman, described the importance of learning and speaking your partner’s love language. According to this concept, to develop or maintain a healthy relationship you must learn to love your significant other in a way that he or she can interpret. I feel this can be said for family and friends as well.

Dr. Chapman continues: “if you speak Dutch to someone who only understands English, communication is not taking place. No matter what you say or how you beautifully you say it, that person won’t receive the message as you mean it. By the same token, we all seem to express and comprehend love according to different love languages.” They are as follows: words of appreciation, quality time, gifts, acts of service and physical touch.

Those of you that enjoy a decorated Christmas tree and hanging Christmas ornaments would be considered visual and tactile, especially if you enjoy Christmas decorating with your own hands. Bernadette Dimitrov mentions “by sharing past and future thoughts we give ourselves in an intimate way… we deepen relationship as we share and express more of who we are.” Creating Christmas decorating traditions can start with expressing your feelings. Perhaps a new dimension can be added to your relationships as you lovingly select and give holiday gifts with your new understanding of The Five Love Languages.

The third benefit of giving gifts, as described by Bernadette Dimitrov as “expressing feelings”.
Giving gifts, Dimitrov states, is a way to express and show feelings especially if you are not comfortable expressing them through words. Giving is an opportunity to express a whole range of feelings such as gratitude, appreciation and thanks.

In The Five Love Languages Dr. Chapman identifies “Words of Appreciation” as one of the love languages. This love language includes statements that express words of love, adoration, appreciation and devotion — a simple “Thank you for being there for me” or “Dinner was so wonderful”, may be just what you’re longing for, if this is your primary love language. This may feel a little awkward at first for those who are not comfortable expressing their feelings aloud.

Here are a couple of holiday gift ideas inspired by The Words of Appreciation Love Language. Consider love notes as holiday gifts. Expressing yourself to your loved one with either a letter under the Christmas tree or a love note of gratitude rolled into a Christmas tree ornament will surprise and delight those that long for that gesture. A custom coupon book redeemable for kind acts and/or words that express appreciation may be the perfect gift under many decorated Christmas trees. Remember, Christmas decorating ideas and gifts come in many shapes, sizes and words!

Christmas tree ornaments inscribed with words have become very popular. Write words of appreciation and love and tape a note to the word such as the word “Faith” (Example: Honey — I have faith in you and our love, with a heart or XO XO at the end) or for the word “Hope” (I hope you know how much I appreciate everything you do… You amaze me!) The ideas are endless, think about it — I am sure you will come up with your own way to express yourself for your partner and loved ones.

Stay tuned for the second installment of Psychological Benefits of Holiday Gifts: Giving from the Inside Out where we will explore the final four benefits of giving holiday gifts.

Have you ever wanted to decorate your home for the holidays like a pro? Kristina teaches the elements of interior design and holiday decorating by sharing knowledge she has learned over 25 years working with everyone from celebrity personalities to kindergarten teachers. She empowers people to create beauty in their homes with their own hands and personal style at a fraction of the cost of hiring a professional designer. Visit Kristina.

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Listed: January 5, 2012 4:38 pm