Brief history lesson, in 1995 (or forever ago, as my six-year-old would say) relationship counselor and author Gary Chapman developed what he defined as the five love languages. They are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. These are the different ways that you and your significant other communicate and receive love.

Chances are very good that you both “speak” a different one of these languages. This time of year, (and really all the time if you value your relationship) it is especially important that you understand how your partner conveys love.

With the holidays quickly swooping in, the pressure to find the perfect gift can be daunting. However, have no fear! I am here with ideas for the perfect gift, no matter which love language they speak. Bonus points because each one also supports a local small business!

Words of Affirmation

This language is characterized by feeling and showing your love through words of praise and affection.

Now, if your partner feels most loved with Words of Affirmation, may I suggest a trip down to Paper Skyscraper. This adorable store has been a fixture in Charlotte for over 25 years. Once inside, it is easy to become enamored with all the unique products.

We’re ready when you are. Come browse, shop, laugh and enjoy checking all of those names off of your holiday gift list.

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For this piece though, owner Ron Wooten suggested a distinctive journal called “Q&A a Day” by Potter Style. This book allows you and your better half to answer a different question about each other and the little details in your life every day for three years. It is a wonderful way to spend time together, while making daily reminders of how you each bring value and light into each other’s lives.

Quality Time

Quality time means showing love by giving your partner your undivided attention.

If this is what your partner craves, look no further than a good old-fashioned date night. A wonderful way to do this is to spend an evening out is with tickets to see The Nerd at Theatre Charlotte, which will have showings in both January and February.

Introducing Theatre Charlotte’s 90th season! Details at TheatreCharlotte.org. #cltarts #clttheatre #TC90

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After the play, you can keep the romantic theme of the evening going by satisfying your hunger with an amazing dinner at one of the area’s best restaurants, Fork. Little tip, quality time is best spent without a phone screen between your faces.

Receiving Gifts

For people who speak this language, giving and receiving gifts is synonymous with love.

While receiving presents is delightful to pretty much anyone, there are some people who truly feel most loved when they are being given a gift. If you find yourself looking for something your spouse will treasure, look no further than Green With Envy, located just a mile from Uptown.

This boutique has a plethora of gifts to suit every taste and style. While speaking with Tina Nardoci, who owns the shop with her sister Barbara Blackburn, I was told about some of the 60 – yes, 60 – local artists whose work they showcase. In our conversation, Tina said four magic words that I just know will excite you like they did me, “We wrap for free!”

Acts of Service

This is my personal language. For those of us who communicate this way, actions will always speak louder than words.

For example, I feel most loved when I come in after a long day and see that my husband has cooked dinner and done the dishes (swoon). A wonderful gift for someone who speaks this language could start with taking a trip to The Butcher’s Market or The Organic Marketplace.

Did you know that we make all of our sausages in house? Come on in and try some!

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Pick out the ingredients for their favorite meal, go home, put on your chef hat, and make it for them. If you have kids, try to arrange a babysitter for the evening and spend some special one-on-one time together. By doing so, you show how much you care about what is important to them, while making a memory that will last a lifetime.

Physical Touch

Disclaimer: This one can be a tricky line to walk and, unfortunately, I feel like it should be noted that this should always be something that is consensual between both parties. Now, physical touch involves using well-timed, skin-to-skin contact to communicate your feelings.

A creative way to show your love in this language is to make your partner their own massage oil blend before spending some quality relaxation time together.

A really simple DIY recipe is a quarter cup coconut oil and seven drops each of lavender, jasmine, and sweet orange, or create your own combination of essential oils. If you are interested in purchasing these oils, or any others, look no further than the amazing Liz Logan — you can find her shop here.

🌿Modern day apothecary 🌿

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So, when you begin thinking about what you will do for the person who brings passion into your life, think local. Your significant other will know how much you truly care because you took the time to understand what love language they speak.

Photos: Nicole Rivera, Liz Logan, The Butcher’s Market, Green With Envy, Theatre Charlotte, Paper Skyscraper

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