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It’s love season, which means it’s also love language season. With hearts aglow and grand gestures of affection littering the air (and the Internet), ‘tis the season to make your devotion known. While flowers, chocolates, and sappy notes may be classic for a reason, they may not be the optimal choice for a recipient who prefers acts of service or quality time instead of gifts and words of affirmation. Lucky for us, there are many brands out there that make it easier than ever to tap into someone’s preferred way of feeling loved.
What Are The Five Love Languages?
The Five Love Languages philosophy is a widely-adopted insightful outline of five ways that people (especially romantic partners) express and receive love. They include physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, and gift-giving. Here’s a brief breakdown of each:
Physical Touch: self-explanatory, right?
Words Of Affirmation: verbal expression of affection or praise.
Acts Of Service: actions speak louder than words (i.e. making someone’s day easier).
Quality Time: undivided attention.
Receiving Gifts: gift-giving can often feel like the *extra* touch that means someone went above and beyond while thinking about you.
Your love languages may change over time, depending on circumstance. Everyone loves feeling loved in all of these ways, although your proportion of each may change.
Craving physical touch as a love language doesn’t only mean sexual touch, but rather the physical presence of a partner or loved one. A hug, a touch on the shoulder, sitting beside each other for a movie. If you are seeking the sexual breakdown, try our Sex Talk series for the latest and greatest in intimacy products.
A guaranteed winner is the Soy Massage Candle ($25) from maude, an innovative intimates company. This skin-softening jojoba oil-based massage candle is encased in an attractive amber glass. Light the candle for 10-15 minutes and, once melted and extinguished, pour on skin or apply with your fingertips.
A similarly buzzy gift is Parson Brown’s Citrus Bergamot Full Spectrum CBD Body Cream ($78), which revitalizes dry skin with a relaxing tingle. It’s an excellent choice for your athletic or WFHer who’s complaining about soreness or stiffness.
ACTS OF SERVICE
If you’re gifting someone for an acts of service love language, you’ll want products that actively solve a problem. What makes their life easier?
Try a meal prep service. If your loved one is normally in charge of meals, or going through a stressful period, gift them a subscription of easy lunches or dinners. It gives them time, nutrition, and energy. We’ve done a roundup of our favorites in 2020 -- with the 2022 edition coming! -- and recommend HelloFresh ($70 for 6 total servings) for a friendly entry-level brand to try.
Buy them a to-do journal and do one thing on their list per week. You could opt for a paper planner like this 12 Month Runwell Planner ($26) from Shinola or a virtual meeting organizer like Motion ($19 per month) which uses AI to automatically reschedule meetings and top tasks. Our recent adoration? The thoughtfully designed, American sourced, and oh-so-festive Heart Notebook ($24) or Heart Workbook ($24) from Appointed, a limited edition set perfect for Valentine’s Day. You can look at their backflow and take on a task or two they keep meaning to get to but don’t have the time to prioritize.
Organize a cluttered space for them. Studies show that a decluttered environment has the bonus effect of actively decluttering your brain too. You can put chaotic toiletry assortments into Cadence pods ($14 per pod) -- especially helpful for travel -- and items or clothes into attractive Folden Lane bins ($98 for 3).
WORDS OF AFFIRMATION
If you value words of affirmation, you value others verbalizing what they value and appreciate about you. A compliment goes a long way.
First in mind is Storyworth ($89), which emails you a prompt each day to fill out. You can customize the questionnaire and time frame. At the end, the account will compile your stories and memories and deliver a beautifully bound book to your recipient, preserving your fond recollections for the years to come.
You can also use We’re Not Really Strangers ($25), which is a card game with prompts and questions. It’s excellent for meeting and connecting with new people, but even better for deepening relationships with those you already love by reflecting on the granular, thoughtful questions you might not have thought to ask. Many of the questions involve sharing what you love about others. There’s also a romantically-specific expansion pack. (The tagline: what’s more romantic than being understood?)
For quality time, all that matters is having uninterrupted and intentional moments with your loved ones. Quality in this sense means that you have devoted time in which you’ve put away your other stressors, ignored the minutiae of your day-to-day, and simply focused on each other. As for the “how” of it, we have a few ideas.
Add luxury to the movie night staple. Cuddle up with the decadent wearable blanket options from unHide’s collaboration with Netflix. Add in this “Jonas Brothers’ favorite” popcorn ($23.99 for 4) from Rob’s Backstage Popcorn and some delightful canned wine ($56 for 8 cans) from Nomadica -- or these non-alc bevs we adore -- to really set the mood.
Go device-less and play a game instead. Our phones can yank us out of the current moment, so try a date in which you either don’t bring them or have an analog activity to do together instead. Opt for an artistic puzzle from Jiggy ($49) or pickleball paddles from Recess ($52 each). Maybe you’ll create a new tradition.
At The Quality Edit, gift giving is our specialty. We often talk about the joy of gifting, and the implied understanding that comes with it.
Give them a subscription. If you love the quality of a gift, a subscription can be a fabulous option to ensure that your loved one is continuously receiving one. I gave my mom a monthly flower subscription from Bouqs for Christmas ($40/month) and she perks up so much when she receives a delivery.
Better yet? Let them choose their own gift. No, we’re not talking about a gift card. The Goody App has DTC gifting by text. The recipient will get a link to the app and swipe through possible options that align with the giver’s budget and ideology.
The season of love is also the season of understanding. Take it one step further with a gift that aligns with their love language.