8 Ways to Create Thankfulness and Cheer Year-Round

give-thanks1Now is the time of year when we dispense a lot of thanks. Yet after the ball drops in Times Square and we start referring to the year 2016, the amount of thanking we do will undoubtedly diminish. Whether at work or at home, we are avid thankers between now and December 31. Why not keep it going?

After the last leftover turkey meal is consumed, the umpteenth hug and handshake exchanged, and the gifts opened, used, returned or re-gifted, I propose we create more holiday-inspired opportunities year-round.  The gestures and activities we’re engaging in during the holiday season can, indeed, be continued for the next 10 months at very little cost and with high reward. Consider these ideas for creating more Thank You opportunities at work:

The Cards: Each week, send a card to a stakeholder – a reporter, a customer, a client – thanking him/her for something that transpired (a great interview, purchasing your product or service, etc)
The Parties: Commit to hosting a small party for your team every quarter to celebrate recent successes.
The Gifts: Every few months, give a small gift of thanks to someone in your organization with an under-the-radar job – perhaps the guy in IT or the people in the mailroom or the woman in HR.
The Community Service: Volunteer your time at a food bank, homeless shelter or any organization that could use your time and assistance “off-season” and encourage your company or team to participate too.
The Decorations: Take a look at your work environment: does your office best reflect who you are and does your workplace in general need some uplifting? Your team will thank you for caring.
The Photographs: For no declared reason, have a new team picture taken half-way through the year; add it to your new decorations (see above) and give a framed copy to each team member.
The Long-Lost Friends: Reach out to colleagues from conferences past and to peers who got away. You’ll be surprised how thankful you’ll feel for reconnecting.
The Time Off: get away from it all throughout the year, not just during the holiday season. Don’t be that person who is the first one in the office and the last one to leave.

Intentionally kept off is the Ugly Sweater, if you so choose to wear one at a holiday party. Some things are meant to be embraced just once a year. You’ll thank me for that piece of advice.

— Diane Schwartz

On Twitter: @dianeschwartz