It is December and the holiday season is no longer sneaking up, it’s here! Stores are crowded and people are buzzing about doing their holiday shopping. 

Couples are whispering around each other and parents are sneaking around their kids all asking “what are you going to get them for the holidays”. So often we use the phrase “get for”, implying this gift must be a physical manifestation of your care for this human. Talk about pressure! Now you have to think of this person, save money, come up with an original idea, and battle the crowds to get the perfect gift. I wonder what it would look like if we asked “what can I give to someone”?

During my time in school, we talked often about The 5 Love Languages. These are the five most common ways that people like to show and receive care. Though they are obviously not all encompassing, it provides a fun map to learn about others. By looking at these different areas you might even be able to tailor a “gift” that is sustainable and will really make your loved ones feel seen!

1. Words of Affirmation

Who doesn’t love being told how wonderful they are? Maybe you have someone in your life who means a lot to you and you don’t always have the opportunity to tell them. The holidays are a great time to show care through words. Try writing a song, writing a letter, writing a poem or a list of things you like about someone else! 

Check out Noteworthy Paper & Press for local cards to hold all of your warm thoughts. 

2. Quality Time

The holidays provide great opportunities to spend quality time with loved ones. Maybe this year you can carry on that joy of intentional time and give the gift of an experience together! Plan a ski day, take your friend for a walk and stop into your favorite bakery to grab a treat, cook dinner with someone, go ice skating, or buy tickets to enjoy the arts together!

Check out Missoula Events, The Roxy and The Zootown Arts Community Center for fun events to enjoy with others!

3. Physical Touch

Maybe your loved ones love a good hug and some crisp high-fives. Spending time with and feeling close to others is very important, especially in the winter months. Think about working on a project or trying something new with someone else, while throwing in some hugs and high-fives!

Check out MUDs Workshop offerings or classes at The Lifelong Learning Center for inspiration!

4. Acts of Service

There are many ways to show up for others and giving your time can be a wonderful holiday present. Maybe you help a friend with a project they’re working on, cook a meal for a loved one, or use a skill you have to help someone else! The Missoula Food Bank, Western Montana Humane Society, and so many other nonprofits can also be great places to lend a helping hand this season.

5. Gifts

Receiving and giving gifts can often bring lots of joy. This year you could try to handmake a gift or buy from local and sustainable organizations!

Here are a few examples of some great options in the Missoula community:

Upcoming Local Craft Fairs:

December 16th, 9am-3pm: Jungle Bash Craft Fair @ Missoula Senior Citizens CenterDecember 22nd, 5pm-8pm: Holiday Market @ Imagine Nation Brewing

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