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Gifts That Money Can't Buy

Ask anyone to name a favorite gift that he or she has received and you'll probably hear "the drawing my child did of me" or "the poem my husband wrote to propose." Handmade and creative presents are often the most meaningful.

So if you'd like to lavish your spouse with simple, thoughtful gifts this holiday season, consider a few suggestions:

  • Framed affection. Frame a picture of your spouse in a blank photo mat. Surround the picture with written compliments. List the qualities you adore about him or her, including the little things that usually go unnoticed.
  • Clever notes. Leave short missives of love around the house — "you warm my heart" on the oven, "thanks for putting up with me" on the coatrack, and so on.
  • A love song. If you're musically inclined, compose and perform a song for your mate. Are you a ham? Consider surprising your spouse with a performance in front of other people.
  • Caring service. Does he usually clean the kitchen after you cook? Do both chores one night, and let him put his feet up. Is she the carpool and breakfast-and-lunch-making queen? Volunteer to take her shift so she can sleep in.
  • Audio romance. Remember "mix tapes"? Do the same thing with a computer or digital recorder, alternating favorite songs with spoken memories.
  • Poetry. Write a love poem — it doesn't have to be a masterpiece. Try an acrostic: Write your loved one's name vertically and list adjectives that begin with each letter.
  • Prayer. Make a hand-written prayer journal that specifies requests you've made for your mate.
  • Personal lessons. Share your talents and skills. Teach your spouse to bake a special dish, knit or swing a putter (and be sure to lean in close to demonstrate certain techniques).

I love blessing my husband with creative presents, and he's gotten good at doing the same for me. Coming up with personally tailored surprises is a fun way to demonstrate our affection. Try it; I bet you'll be hooked, too.

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This article first appeared in the December, 2008 issue of Focus on the Family magazine. Copyright © 2008 Dena Dyer. All rights reserved.