Are you feeling dismayed by the swirling, materialistic, stuff-purchasing vortex of the holiday season?
Are you looking for another way to connect with the ones you love?
Do you long for a more heart-felt, meaningful way to express the spirit of the season?
Yes?! Then creating a LOVE LIST might just be the perfect, soulful gift for you to bestow on the ones you love.
A Love List is just what it sounds like – a written list of all the aspects you love, adore, and appreciate about someone in your life: a friend, a parent, a sibling, a child (or niece or nephew), a spouse or romantic partner.
The Art of the Love List: Four Easy Steps
One: Gather Supplies
The beauty, in creating a Love List, is it doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated. It can be as simple as writing your thoughts down on a sheet of white, office paper, using the free pen you got from your bank.
Or, you can go all crafty and creative with colored paper, fancy markers, and perhaps some glitter if you really are into bling.
Two: Block Time
Truly, all you REALLY need is to set aside a small block of undistracted time, focused thought and energy, and lots of love in your heart.
You may want to turn off the TV or your phone and light a candle while you ponder all the good points of the person you want to honor with a list.
Then, spend time thinking about this individual for whom you want to show your love and appreciation.
Three: Write the List
You may want to set a target for yourself, like writing down 25 things, or 50 things you love. You may want to set a challenge for yourself (and a pretty amazing gift) of creating a 100-item list of things you find special or adore a about the one you love.
Your list can be funny or sweet or silly. Be honest with yourself and be willing to be honest with the person for whom you are you are creating your list. Truly, some of the attributes may seem a little corny, and yet, they may be just the things which you find totally endearing.
Here are some areas to consider:
Their strengths of character.
Things they do.
What they value and how they express it (actions/deeds).
Things they say.
Where and how their personality shines.
What activities they’ve committed to and why.
Favorite times you’ve shared and how they made that memory special.
Consider, if this person was not in your life, what would you miss?
Ordinary, everyday things.
Those standout moments.
Think of the big things. Then, see if the big things are combinations of little things, and can be broken down that way.
Here are some examples of “she’s a great mother” (other qualities may be broken down the same way).
- Her willingness to make my favorite homemade mac & cheese dish.
- Her thoughtful reminders help keep me organized.
- She is a good listener and always on my side.
- Her smile can light up a room.
- Her laugh is what makes our home feel happy.
Give thought to the things the person doesn’t do. You may appreciate the absence of criticism, complaining, or other negative qualities. These characteristics, being absent, do not lend themselves to obvious recognition.
Think about what you feel when the person is away, traveling, or simply not physically present. This may clue you in to things about them you never think about, but miss when they are not present. This could be the scent of their hair or perfume, or the sound of their voice.
Try to remember the practical points; these are qualities you may value greatly, when you consider them. Things like cleanliness, punctuality, or moderation.
Four: Present the List
If you kept the format simple, like white, office paper, then you can roll up the pages like a scroll and wrap with a ribbon and present as you see fit – perhaps as part of the holiday gift-giving ceremony.
Of course, you may want to re-write the list into a beautiful card (handmade by you or someone else), or create a small notebook, or try some of the ideas offered by Sherry Richert Belul who has taken the idea of creating a Love List and really gone to town with it, including providing you with a couple of templates.
And, of course, there are ways to expand the concept of a Love List and make it a daily practice for select people in your life.
For example, Gay and Katie Hendricks have long encouraged people to create lists, every day, acknowledging the things you love, adore, and appreciate about the people closest to you.
This can be especially effective for shifting a perspective for a tricky relationship, like with a teenage child, or infusing a long-term relationship with some new zest.
Darren Hardy, former publisher of Success Magazine promotes the idea he found successful: keeping a daily, on-going list, for an entire year, of all the aspects of his wife which he appreciated and loved. Ultimately, he gave her this notebook filled with a year’s worth of appreciations as a gift.
A daily practice lends itself to a notebook. Commit to keeping it with you so you can immediately and easily note what you’ve just found note-worthy.
Pay special attention when this individual is around and begin to take note of anything that gives you a warm, tender feeling. (If you are making your list secretly, take mental notes to write down later.)
Listen to what their friends say. They may notice things or qualities that you really love, but are not even aware of.
Pay attention to the acts of service. These are REALLY easy to take for granted, like how your sister calls you every Saturday morning, how she remembered which red wine you love, how she gives deep, solid hugs.
No matter how you go about creating your Love Lists for the loved ones in your life, you and they are in for a special, heart-felt experience.
Be Love. Give Love. Feel the Love.