(Note: This is the second installment in a four-part series on giving gifts that match each personality. Here’s a quick online personality assessment if you need to figure that out first!)
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Black Friday is in the past.
On this day, many normally sane humans forfeited sleep, joined frenzied crowds, and forked over funds for stuff nobody needs. Then they bragged about what great deals they got and how much they “saved.”
Gift-giving shouldn’t be frenetic; it should be fun!
In yesterday’s blog, I shared gift ideas custom-tailored for the Melancholy/Analytic personalities on your shopping list.
Today, I’m focusing on our Phlegmatic/Amiable (the “Peaceful Personality”) loved ones because many of these gifts may require some changes in plans (unless you, too, are a Phlegmatic/Amiable, in which case your holidays are probably pretty low-key to begin with!)
Keeping in mind that your Phlegmatic/Amiable’s primary goal in life is peace, and that her primary emotional needs are self-worth, respect, lack of stress, and comfort, a real gift from your heart could be…
10. Together Time.
Just “hang out.”
No plan. No agenda. No expectations.
Phlegmatics/Amiables love “doing nothing” with friends and family for extended periods of time.
For non-Phlegmatics/Amiables, “doing nothing” is an oxymoron: if you’re doing nothing, you’re not actually doing!
Embrace the paradox.
“Doing nothing” with a Phlegmatic/Amiable is a gift that gives back to the giver. You’ll receive the gift of learning to be a human being — even for a little while! — instead of such a human doing.
9. Spotlight Strengths.
Because the Phlegmatic/Amiable is the most balanced Personality, she is often overlooked.
The Down-to-the-Last-Detail Melancholy/Analytic outdoes Martha Stewart with holiday home decor. The I-Won’t-Play-if-I-Can’t-Win Choleric/Driver receives year-end awards for outstanding work achievement. The Life-of-the-Party Sanguine/Expressive keeps everyone howling with laughter at the New Year’s Eve bash.
And what is the Phlegmatic/Amiable’s claim-to-fame? Exactly what does the Phlegmatic/Amiable do best?
Why is it so hard to come up with a quick answer?
Because it’s the wrong question. The Phlegmatic/Amiable’s greatest contribution to his relationships is not what he does; it’s who he is.
In a world which sings praises only for measurable accomplishments, your Phlegmatic/Amiable needs you to reflect back to her the invaluable qualities you see in her and the inestimable contribution she makes to your life.
Give your Phlegmatic/Amiable her red carpet moment. A few words from you will mean more than any public ceremony. After all, the only audience she cares about is you.
8. Accept Answers.
For years, I just knew Daniel was holding out on me. I’d ask, “So, where do you want to go to dinner?” and he’d respond, “Whatever you want” or “I don’t care.” For the next hour, I’d badger him relentlessly, trying to pry out of him what he really wanted.
Since Phelgmatics/Amiables possess a will of iron, I never successfully cracked his encrypted communication. We’d end up at dinner with me silently fuming because I just knew he hated my choice but still refused to tell me what he really wanted.
Turns out, what he really wanted was for me to quit trying to decode non-existent secret meanings and take him at his word. He really did. not. care.
So, when you ask, “Where do you want to go for dinner?” and your Phlegmatic/Amiable says, “I don’t care,” you can happily say, “Okay, then let’s go to Panera Bread!” Enjoy your soup and bagel…and trust that he’s enjoying his!
7. Clear the Calendar.
The holiday season brings myriad options for places to go, things to do, and people to see.
Christmas concerts; Scrooge plays; Santa Claus Lane. Classic movies to watch; cookies to bake; gifts to wrap. Friends; family; work associates. None are likely bad choices — most are actually good or even excellent!
But for a Phlegmatic/Amiable, the best place to go is nowhere. The best thing to do is nothing. And the best people are beloved family members and friends who come to the house to visit.
Crammed calendar = a distressed Phlegmatic/Amiable.
Cleared calendar = a de-stressed Phlegmatic/Amiable.
6. Favorite Foods.
My mother’s holiday menu always honors my father’s Armenian heritage: tebulah, rice pilaf, cheese barek, and falafel.
My husband’s family has mid-western roots, so for the last two decades, every time Daniel and I have spent a holiday at my parents’ home, I’ve brought along mashed potatoes and stuffing.
And every time, my mother has masked her horror by asking, “Are you sure that’s necessary? We already have so much food!”
Even though Daniel is the only one who eats the mashed potatoes and stuffing, I respond every time, “Yes, they’re absolutely necessary!” For my Phlegmatic/Amiable husband, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving (or Christmas or Easter) without them.
Phlegmatics/Amiables so rarely express needs, let alone wants. When they let you know what they like, follow through…even when it doesn’t fit the menu.
5. Commitment to Calm.
For many Phlegmatics/Amiables, the emotional ups-and-downs of the holiday season feel like being in a small boat — with no oars, no sail, no motor — on choppy seas.
I’d come home from shopping, excited about finding a special gift, but mad about rude treatment from a cashier. After school, I’d gush over a gift from a student, but complain about the petty arguments about what we should and shouldn’t do for our class Christmas party. Getting off the phone with family members, I’d anticipate our upcoming holiday feast, but fret about someone’s unrealistic expectations.
It took me years to realize that my responses to typical holiday situations made my Phlegmatic/Amiable husband downright nauseated. (And it took many more years to learn how to “just let it go!”)
“Let there be peace on earth” is every Phlegmatic’s/Amiable’s Christmas song and plea. I give a gift of infinite value when I “let it begin with me!”
4. Esthetic Expression.
In my twenty years of teaching, I’ve noticed that my Phlegmatic/Amiable students are often drawn to musical, artistic, and/or kinesthetic involvement.
When I was a teenager, my Phlegmatic/Amiable grandmother loved nothing more than for me to play “Oh Holy Night” on the piano while she sang along in German. Tears would twinkle in her eyes when we were through, and after she went home, I always found a dollar bill on the piano keyboard.
Although my singing makes angels weep, I still pull out my Christmas music this time of year. Daniel brings down his guitar (or ganjo or mandolin or harmonica or…!) and we sing to his heart’s delight.
Your Phlegmatic/Amiable might appreciate your participation in an arts or crafts project: making new holiday decor or building a Christmas display. A walk or workout together; slow dancing under the mistletoe.
(A word of caution: dabble. This isn’t the time to “dive all the way in.” Avoid activities that involve terms like “competition,” “renovation,” or “marathon” — see #7.)
3. Champion Choices.
Over two years ago, my Phlegmatic son, Jonathon, wracked up almost 30 hours of flight time when he helped fly a small aircraft from Milwaukee to Monterey.
He had a wonderful experience and determined to earn his pilot’s license before his driver’s license.
As of today, he has neither.
Jonathon completed private pilot ground school in more than a year ago. During the last two summers, he had lots of free time –and plenty of money — to pay an instructor and rent a plane. He did neither.
Every now and then, I checked in with him, knowing how much more expensive it would be if he waited.
But wait, he did. So bite my tongue, I did. And still do.
Yes, it’s tempting to drop hints: “Wouldn’t it be great if…” To offer to help: “How about if I…” And to outright question his judgment: “Don’t you realize…”
But even though I disagree with my son’s choices, I choose to respect him. By not meddling. By not questioning. By getting out of the way. By letting him make — and live with — his own choices.
2. Decelerate & Desist.
This gift can overlap with #10, 7, and 5. But it’s so specific — and so vital — that it deserves a number all its own.
Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life during these holy-days.
Saunter, especially when you’re with that special Phlegmatic/Amiable in your life. Stop and smell the pine needles together.
Meander through the mall. Pause for a cup of hot chocolate together.
Give yourself plenty of time to prepare the big meal. Linger over the table to enjoy every morsel of nourishment and conversation.
1. Easy-going Environment.
When I saw Daniel bee-line toward a hideous old chair at a rummage sale years ago, I knew I should have left him at home. My protests were futile; he loved the chair, and he was going to have the chair.
Over the next twenty years, he lounged in that behemoth daily. When it deteriorated beyond use, he mourned as if he’d lost a dear friend.
In a way, he had. He’d lost his “soft place to fall” at the end of each hard day. Realizing the importance of the comfort chair, I suggested a shopping trip, and we returned home with a new favorite chair.
You don’t have to buy a new chair. Find what equals comfort and comfort-ability for your Phlegmatic/Amiable.
Ideas: Comforters. Quilts. Blankets. Over-stuffed pillows. Bean-bag chairs. Fuzzy throw rugs. Cushiony couches. Sweatshirts. Over-sized T-shirts. Elastic waistband pants. Leggings. Slippers. Moccasins. The World’s Softest Socks.
Make them available and encourage their use. When you show a Phlegmatic/Amiable that you understand their need for comfort, you signal that when needed, you’ll be a safe “soft place to fall”, too.
For us non-Phlegmatic/Amiable personalities, none of these may feel gift-worthy. Who cares about calm or clear calendars or comfort? Your Phlegmatic/Amiable, that’s who! These gifts send the subtle message,
“I understand that peace, self-worth, respect, lack of stress, and comfort are vital to you. Rather than ignoring these needs and hoping they go away, I’m choosing to find ways to meet them because I love you. You’re important to me, so what’s important to you becomes important to me.”
This kind of acceptance in action is a affirming gift for a Phlegmatic/Amiable!
Read All the Gift Lists
- Part 1: Top 10 Priceless Gifts that Don’t Cost a Dime — for a Melancholy/Analytic
- Part 2: Top 10 Priceless Gifts that Don’t Cost a Dime — for a Phlegmatic/Amiable
- Part 3: Top 10 Priceless Gifts that Don’t Cost a Dime — for a Choleric/Driver
- Part 4: Top 10 Priceless Gifts that Don’t Cost a Dime — for a Sanguine/Expressive
- Which of these seems like a true fit for someone on your list?
- Which of these might be a struggle for you to give?
- Anything else on your heart!