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Express Gratitude This Holiday Season

Slide with the title "Gratitude" at the top

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The holiday season is a time of gratitude, a quality we often neglect to express throughout the year. But expressing thankfulness is a gift we can give others and ourselves during the holidays and every day.

The ability to express gratitude is a social skill that demonstrates leadership. Leaders who utilize gratitude are better able to develop strong relationships with their employees, which promotes trust, effort, and respect.

The words “thank you” make us feel appreciated and valued. All the thought and energy that went in to finding the perfect gift for a family member, planning the party for a co-worker, or completing the project for a client seems worthwhile when our efforts are acknowledged.

When we let others know we appreciate them, we feel better too. Expressing gratitude “may have lasting effects on the brain” (Wong and Brown, 2017) and benefit both mental health and interpersonal relationships (Fox, Kaplan, Damasio, & Damasio, 2015).

Say “thank you” to your clients, customers, coworkers, teachers, family members, and friends this holiday season.  It is a win-win way to build and maintain social relationships.

Six Ways to Express Gratitude During This Holiday Season

  1. Be genuine, honest, and sincere.
  2. Say it like you mean it.
    Smile, make eye contact, and use a tone of voice that conveys the meaning of your words.
  3. Speak to specific actions, personality, or achievements.
    Strive to find a noteworthy comment that indicates thought and attention: “Thank you for your efforts on the project. Our new client was extremely satisfied with the outcome.”
  4. Use words appropriate to the situation and your relationship to the person you are thanking.
    There is more than one way to say “thank you,” such as “I appreciate…” or “I am grateful that…”
  5. Write a thank you note.
    A hand-written note demonstrates your interest and appreciation.
  6. Share your gratitude for a person or group with others.


Fox, G. R., Kaplan, J., Damasio, H., & Damasio, A. (2015). Neural correlates of gratitude. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1491. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01491

Wong, J., & Brown, J. (2017). How gratitude changes you and your brain. Retrieved November 28, 2017, from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_gratitude_changes_you_and_your_brain

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