November has arrived, and the season of giving has officially begun. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional ways of counting our blessings and showing our gratitude have changed. To keep each other safe and healthy, some families may have canceled their holiday gatherings this year, or friend groups may have called off their hangouts usually planned for Thanksgiving and winter break.
Even if you cannot meet in person with your friends and family this holiday season, you can still show them you are thankful for everything they do to help, support and encourage you. Consider these socially-distant ways to express your gratitude for the individuals in your life who have helped you become the person you are today.
Write them a letter
In this day and age, when most of our communication is done virtually through social media, texting or emailing, receiving a letter in the mail can be a special experience. Take the time to organize your thoughts by handwriting someone a letter listing all the reasons why you’re grateful for them. Because writing down your gratitudes celebrates the present and makes you an active participant in your life, it can also reduce feelings of hopelessness and the risk of depression as well as increase optimism, according to studies conducted by Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis.
Make them a homemade gift
While quarantining this year, some may have taken the opportunity to learn a new skill. Put your new crafting skills to use by giving your loved ones a homemade gift. Because you can make someone a gift aligned especially to their interests, a homemade gift becomes much more unique and personal compared to a traditional store-bought gift.
Schedule a virtual hangout with them
For some families, celebrations for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas and other holidays are the only times people visit their relatives and other loved ones throughout the year. If you aren’t able to schedule the traditional trip to visit your friends and family because of the COVID-19 pandemic, plan a Zoom meeting to see and catch up with these individuals. Applications such as Jackbox Games and Teleparty are ways you can bring your loved ones together to bond virtually by playing online games or watching an entertaining movie.
Try a new outdoor activity with them
To be six feet apart yet still together, consider trying new outdoor activities with your friends and family members to strengthen your relationship with them. Having a campfire or going hiking, ice skating or sledding as the weather gets colder are ways you can spend time with your loved ones and express your appreciation for them.
Do one of their responsibilities for the day
The holiday season can be stressful for some, as students are ending the semester with final projects and exams. For parents and other relatives, taking care of their family members now that school is out for holiday breaks can bring on additional tasks and responsibilities. To help ease some of your loved ones’ stress, consider taking on one of their responsibilities for the day. If one of your family members is struggling to find time to go grocery shopping, go shopping for them and drop off the groceries at their home. If your siblings have an important final to study for, clean their room for them so they have one less task to worry about. By taking on one of your loved one’s responsibilities for the day, you are putting in the effort to show you support them just like they’ve supported you before.