My mother never goes anywhere empty–handed. In fact, it's a family joke with my husband and my sister's husband: "Oh, you were mother-in-lawed" – meaning that they've come home to find something in the house that wasn't there when they left. It's the opposite of being burgled.
It's never anything expensive; some food she thought we might be able to use, some article she picked up at a car boot sale and thought we might like, but it's what she's saying with the gift that's important.
Like a lot of people, she's not very easy with saying "I love you" in words so she says it with food and car boot bargains instead.
It can be really helpful to know how you say "I love you" and how your loved ones say it.
Sometimes we can be yelling "I love you – I care about you" as loudly as we can, but we're not saying it in a language that can be understood by the recipient. More often, people around us are saying "I love you" and we can't understand them.
Words are my thing – obviously. I have no problem with using words to express my love. But I'm lousy at spending time with the people I love; it's not my language.
What about the other ways? One of my daughters needs touch; cuddles are really important to her and she automatically nestles in if you sit next to her. My other daughter only wants to be hugged if she's ill or really upset. The rest of the time – she'd like it in words, please.
Then there are deeds. Some people just seem to notice what needs doing, what you're having problems with, and they'll quietly step in and do that task for you. That's love expressed perfectly.
So gifts, words, time, touch and deeds: all languages of love. Consider which ones you speak fluently and which it might be useful to learn; not necessarily to use yourself, but certainly to understand so you know when people around you are letting you know they care.