Speaking Their Language: Loving Your Family at Christmas

The Christmas season is full of light, joy, and merriment, but, as the busyness of the holidays grows, the intentionality of loving our family well can get crowded out. Showing love to the individuals in my family doesn’t always look the same way, either. I have four kids, and they all have different “love languages.”

The book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman describes five love languages by which people speak and receive love, and there is a version specifically about children. (This post is a quick overview.)

These are important to keep in mind every day of the year, but holidays are especially fun and important times to help our kids feel loved. If you know your child’s love language, here are some special ways to love on them this season.

Gifts – This seems like an obvious one at Christmas, but it’s much deeper than a bunch of presents under a tree. What matters here is thoughtful selections, not quantity or money spent. Find meaningful gifts that show how personally you know your child.

Words of Affirmation – Put Christmas cards in their lunchbox. Praise them around others. If they have holiday performances, be specific in your praise, not just “good job.”

Quality Time – Do holiday events like ice skating or driving around looking at lights together. It’s especially important to find one-on-one time with them since it’s hectic with everyone out of school.

Physical Affection – Snuggle by the fire, read holiday books together, and give them an extra squeeze as you’re zipping their coats.

Acts of Service – Do random acts of kindness together. Decorate your kid’s door with a holiday theme. Make their favorite cookie or treat. Volunteer in their classroom for a holiday activity. Make a Christmas music playlist for the family together.

Christmas is certainly not a time to keep love in our families. It’s a great opportunity to extend love to others as a family:

Gifts – Take treats to neighbors or a fire station. Shop for Toys for Tots or another local organization and donate gifts.

Words of Affirmation – Write personal notes on Christmas cards. Leave a happy sign for the mail carrier or UPS delivery person.

Quality Time – There’s a lot of extra family and social time during the holidays – put down the devices, make eye contact, and listen attentively.

Physical Affection – “Baby, it’s cold outside.” Don’t forget the husbands need some love, too! But do not buy the $7 Santa-style lingerie off Amazon. It is a sad ripoff and will go right back in the envelope to be returned. Or so I hear… from a friend.

Acts of Service – Shovel snow for a neighbor. Help clean up after Christmas dinner. Churches often have extra service opportunities or know of special needs during the holidays, so just ask what you can do.

Our family celebrates Christmas by talking about how Jesus came as a gift from God to demonstrate love and hope. When we love our kids, family, and community, we’re demonstrating that to those around us. Using our loved ones’ love languages is the “loudest” way to spread light and love during the holiday season.

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