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Giving the Gift of Love

Whether you say je t'aime, te quiero, te amo, or I love you, the way you say it varies just as much depending on who you’re saying those magical words to. So, when Gary Chapman first published his bestselling “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts” in 1992, his guide to giving and receiving love became a revolution with more than 20 million copies sold to date.

Although, the type of love doesn’t matter in this equation.

Dr. Berrylin Mangin, a psychologist and coach, says that, “The basis for giving gifts to people we love no matter what type of love, it’s all the same basis. It’s just the applications that may vary when thinking about what to give them.” If your love language is primarily physical touch, for example, a full body massage may be great for your significant other, but maybe not so much for your boss. 

Keeping in mind that how you like to receive gifts can differ from how you like to give, the same is so for the recipient. Mangin suggests, “Just put your heart into what you give to let that person be seen and known and celebrated in this way.” And, if you’re giving out of guilt, she recommends examining what healthy boundaries look like. The key is in “Knowing yourself and being able to communicate it, which are both practices. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will become,” she adds. 

She helped us understand Chapman’s five love languages in order to say “I love you” this holiday season with these gift ideas in mind.  


Words of Affirmation 

Mangin recalls the Jane Austen quote, “Let us never underestimate the power of a well-written letter.” She recommends designed prints with words or phrases that apply to the recipient. She says that a “really lovely note to describe why you chose those words and what the person means to you,” will feed the spirit of those who respond to affirmation.

Hester & Cook boasts an array of beautiful paper placemats, table runners, kitchen accessories, stationery, pencils, art prints and gifts for the home. And, if you choose to mail your words of affirmation, the postage is on them. 

If you’re not sure of your letter-writing capabilities, a new, old, or rare book from Landmark Booksellers with a personal inscription offers a unique vehicle to give the gift of affirmation too.  


Acts of Service

While you may not be able to wrap this gift up in a big red bow, “looking at someone’s plate to see what you can take off will be helpful. It needs to be things that they actually feel served by,” says Mangian. 

If someone on your list has way too many daily responsibilities, coming home to a clean house can free up time for more important tasks. The Maids offers a 22-step cleaning process for households in the Brentwood and Franklin areas. 

For those just too stressed to be blessed, CATCH Salon and Spa services specialize in anti-aging, natural products and technologies for facials, body treatments, and hair.


Receiving Gifts

For the person on your list that loves to receive presents, heads up. They’ll undoubtedly drop hints. “Notice what they’re getting excited about,” Mangian notes that sometimes it’s even about the presentation.  

Consider Paper Source your one-stop shop for personalized gift giving. From the actual gift to the wrapping and card attached, they’ve got you covered.

If you’re sending the gift from a distance, High Note Gifts can send curated luxury gift boxes beautifully packaged and made to order. Just make sure to order in advance to compensate for holiday delivery. 


Quality Time

This one’s easier around the holidays because there are plenty of experiences at your fingertips. “Pay attention to what the receiver identifies for quality time,” suggests Mangian. For example, in a friend group maybe there are two that are closer than the others who want more one-on-one time.  

From date night to family night, The Golf Sanctuary will hit a hole-in-one for the golfer in your life that craves quality time with you. Offerings include 6 private Trackman suites, a full bar, and dining by The Magnolia Restaurant featuring Executive Chef Joey Ray. 

No holiday is complete without enjoying holiday movie classics like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “White Christmas” with your loved ones. Check The Franklin Theatre’s show listings which also feature a host of live music performances for the holidays and throughout the year.  


Physical Touch

Releasing the feel-good hormone, oxytocin, physical touch isn’t always within reach because not everyone likes to be touched. Mangian notes that knowing whether your recipient is open to physical touch is crucial with this specific love language. 

Utilizing a wide variety of massage techniques such as connective tissue massage, movement and stretching, trigger point therapy, reflexology, and raindrop massage, BeSimple specializes in therapeutic massage and yoga for pain management, relaxation, and healthy living. 

If the person you’re giving the gift of touch can't tolerate physical touch, Franklin Reiki and Sound Healing offer therapies such as biofield tuning, reiki, and bioacoustics for healing pain and stress that traditional massage modalities can’t achieve in this case.  

  • CATCH Salon and Spa
  • The Golf Sanctuary

Experiencing grief this holiday season? Dr. Berrylin believes grief and gratitude flow into one another. Follow her Instagram @drberrylinmangin for the path to making those connections. She also will offer “Cared For” retreats in 2023 that could be the best gift of love you ever gave or received.