In a world full of impressive technology, cool kitchen gadgets you never thought you needed, and so many trends of clothing, there’s so much to choose from when gifting a loved one this holiday season. I myself have received some awesome gifts, some of my favorites including my apple watch and my Instant Pot (yes, they ARE that amazing). While I loved all of these, the absolute best gift I’ve ever receive wasn’t like any of them. It didn’t even cost a fraction of these and no one else would think twice about it. The best one made me cry, it made me hug my husband so tight, and it made me fall so much deeper in love with him. All over an apple crisp.
The “Task” of Gift-giving
Giving gifts was never meant to be dutiful and viewed as a task. However in the fast-paced world we live in where everyone just wants easy, that’s the attitude we acquire. Too many times are we dreading picking out a gift for someone. Too often do we struggle for weeks having no clue what a friend would enjoy. All to end up, grabbing something without much thought — something safe, something easy.
I’ve learned I don’t want my gift-giving to become easy and thoughtless. It’s not supposed to be just a checked off item on our holiday to-do list. I don’t want it to become an obligation or a need to do, but rather a want to do. Gift-giving is meant to be kind, selfless, and thoughtful.
A thoughtful gift I received from a friend
I received this beautiful handmade and hand painted ornament from one of my best friends, Bekah. I’m so excited about and LOVE this ornament. Bekah is so sweet and her thoughtfulness inspired me to put a little more intent into my giving this year. If anyone is interested, this ornament was made by Brittney Norton. Her shop’s Instagram is @art.britt.t.n and everything is so darling!
Gift-giving as a love language
One of my all-time favorite marriage books is The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. In the beginning of our marriage, we struggled most with loving each other, ironically. Not like having feelings of love for each other, but showing and demonstrating that love. Moving in together after marriage quickly taught us that more efforts was required to make the other spouse feel loved than what was needed while dating. I learned about the five love languages and it all made sense. If someone felt most loved by their spouse physically demonstrating it with touch, they wouldn’t choose to have their spouse do the dishes instead of cuddling with them. To best making someone feel loved, in my opinion, it’s imperative to know how they feel love.
Among the five love languages, one of them is gift giving. In fact, my love language is split between gift giving and acts of service. I don’t mean that in a honey-do way at all, but I feel my husband’s love for me most emphasized when he puts some thought behind it. When he notices I’m busy and occupied, so he cleans up a mess for me. When he knows how stressed I get about an exam, so he buys me a Starbucks drink to show me he loves and supports me. To me, the thoughtfulness is so meaningful and special.
What apple crisp taught me about gift giving
In our little town, the ONLY chain restaurant, excluding fast food, is Denny’s. Needless to say, we eat there pretty often. About a year ago, I went to Denny’s for dessert with a friend. I had their apple crisp and fell in love! I’m definitely a homemade pastry kind of gal, but guys, Denny’s apple crisp is bomb. After that I’d get random cravings for it all the time. Over the next few months, Donovan and I went back multiple times, usually after working out at the gym (figures), to get dessert. Every. Single. Time. They were out of apple crisp. I was so peeved. I know it is so silly, but you know when something just sounds so good and you have to have it?! And I was disappointed time and time again, because I had gotten my hopes up. Eventually, I made my peace with Denny’s and stopped trying.
A few weeks later in March, it was my birthday. Donovan had gifted me with a bike, which I had talked about wanting and was really excited about. He’s pretty good at gifts! Then he surprised me a bit more. After going to lunch with a friend, I came home, walked in the door and into the kitchen and just cried. There my husband stood there sweetly smiling, with a warm pan of apple crisp that he made for me. He had texted one of our girl friends to ask how to make it, searched Pinterest for the best recipe, went shopping for the ingredients and tried his hand in the kitchen, just because he knew I had been craving the darn apple crisp. Guys, he had never even heard of apple crisp before this all went down. If this didn’t show his thoughtfulness in wanting to give me something that would bring me joy, I don’t know what would. I hugged him tightly with my damp face, not because I was finally getting my apple crisp, but because I have the kindest, sweetest, most thoughtful husband, and I’m so lucky to have him as my partner.
A new perspective on giving gifts this Christmas season
Apple crisp taught me not to stress over impressing someone with a gift. It helped me realize that I shouldn’t feel pressured by the trends or the price tag. The best gifts really aren’t the most expensive ones. They aren’t the newest or trendiest. Any gift at all is sweet and generous and full of love. As I shop for my loved ones this season, I hope to not get caught up in hustle and bustle or in the never-ending rut of meeting society’s expectations. I simply hope to make to make them feel what I felt when Donovan baked me an apple crisp for my birthday, and that was love. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?