Our top tips for showing appreciation to those you’re truly grateful for!

The Christmas lights are on, the tree’s up and the shops are filled with gifts and festive food, but what’s Christmas time really about? In our books, it’s a time to spend with loved ones, spread joy and reflect on what you have and who you’re grateful for.

Whether it’s family, friends, colleagues or the friendly faces you see whilst you’re out and about, the festive season is a chance to come together and show each other appreciation. The best news is, this doesn’t just help others feel valued. Studies have shown that giving thanks can have a positive effect on our wellbeing as well as helping to build relationships.*

It needn’t be an extravagant gesture. Often, gratitude can be shown through the simplest of actions and shared experiences – from small acts of kindness to sending a thank you message and remembering to be grateful for yourself and all you’ve achieved throughout the year.

So, sit back (maybe with a festive drink in hand?) as the Boots team share 10 top tips for giving joy at Christmas time and showing gratitude to those who deserve it most…

Boots staff member Okorite
Okorite's tip: Help out with Christmas preparation

“Christmas can be a stressful time, especially if you’re the host or organiser. A great tip to take the pressure off and show appreciation to the host is to give everyone a role. In my family, it’s tradition to make it a shared effort to prepare for the festivities and everyone has a job, from peeling the potatoes to setting the table. 

Instead of one person being in the kitchen away from everyone, we make it communal. We enjoy the moments together chopping veg, mashing the potatoes and sharing stories. As the list-maker and food shopper, I make sure we have everything we need and I love finding special ingredients that become tradition.

When it’s dinner time, we don’t just enjoy the food, we enjoy the moments we’ve spent working together and chipping in. It’s great to make the day a collective effort rather than burdening one person.”

Boots staff member Thomas
Tom's tip: Practise patience & kindness

“During the Christmas season, I always make a conscious effort to be extra nice to customer service workers.

I know it can be such a stressful time for them, as they deal with an influx of customers who are often in a rush or feeling overwhelmed.

I try to be a source of positivity and have understanding when I need to wait a little while longer or if they’re unable to help. It’s a great way of showing you appreciate how hard they’re working and you’re grateful for the time they’ve spent helping to make everyone’s Christmas joyful!”

Boots staff member Alex
Alex’s tip: Host a Christmas gathering with friends

“It can be easy to take those closest to you for granted, so for me, one of the most meaningful ways to show gratitude is to spend time with my friends over the festive period.

It’s my way of showing my friends just how thankful I am for them. Whether it’s for their unconditional support, always coming on adventures with me or for filling my year with special memories.

I really treasure the friendships I have, so every year we’ll get together for a Christmas night in – or out if we’re feeling particularly festive. With everyone’s schedules clashing throughout the year, it’s really important for us to make the effort to see each other and enjoy this time together. 

We love doing anything from hosting festive food board nights, fancy dress, Christmas cocktail making, or just having a few drinks and nibbles with some card games. If you’re doing Secret Santa, it’s a great time to swap presents and maybe crack some terrible Christmas jokes too.

And of course, being around your friends means it’s always guaranteed to be a lot of fun.”

Boots staff member Caroline
Caroline’s tip: Create memorable family traditions

“My top tip for making the most of your holiday season is to turn the task of putting up your tree and Christmas decorations into a cherished family tradition.

We like to do this whilst listening to Christmas tunes and drinking hot chocolate as we unearth decorations from the attic. Everyone in the family gets involved with placing ornaments around the house and tree to get us into the Christmas spirit.

Each year we add a new bauble or decoration to mark the occasion. As we unbox them, it becomes a heart-warming time for reminiscing about past Christmases and to be grateful for all those lovely moments we’ve shared together, then and now.”

Boots staff member Molly
Molly’s tip: Find the perfect thoughtful gift

“Gift giving is one of my love languages, so it’s no surprise that this is one of the ways I enjoy showing appreciation to others. 

For me, finding the perfect, thoughtful gift is a fun way to show people just how much they mean to me. I always take notes when my loved ones mention something they like and then make it my mission to find practical gifts that’ll make their lives that little bit easier. 

I also love adding a personal element to gifts to really make them one-of-a-kind. Photo albums are one of my go-tos for this! You can also (in my opinion) never go wrong with a sweet treat. 

Finding the right gift needn’t cost the earth. Even the smallest of tokens can be enough to make someone feel special, from a pair of cosy socks to a soothing face mask. There really is something out there for all budgets big, small and in-between! 

My advice is to have fun with it. There’s nothing better than seeing your recipient’s reaction and knowing your efforts have paid off.”

Boots staff member Kirsty
Kirsty’s tip: Plan extra activities with the kids

“Being a mum of two can be busy at the best of times, and even more so during the festive season. But Christmas also gives an extra excuse to spend some quality time together and show the kids how important they are to us. 

In our house, the elves leave the children a little treat or activity suggestion every morning in the run-up to Christmas – this can be something as small as making Christmas cards or having hot chocolate at home together after school (with extra marshmallows and as much cream as they can manage!) to a family film day at the weekend, getting cosy and watching all our festive favourites.

It doesn’t have to be big or expensive. One thing I’ve learnt is that when it comes to showing kids how much you care, your time and attention mean so much more to them than any toy or present. That said, they’ll probably still go ahead and put a puppy on their Christmas list again this year!”

Boots staff member Sara
Sara’s tip: Bring festive bakes to the office

“Christmas is all about bringing people together. Sharing food has a similar meaning to me which is why bringing bakes into the office is something I love to do all year round – but especially at Christmas. Making the time to share and bond is so important as a team.

Often for us in the office, it’s one of the busiest times of year. It can also be quite a lonely time for some. If you can lift spirits and put a smile on people’s faces when they need it most, why not do it with something that tastes delicious and that you’ve enjoyed making?

I think it’s so easy for us to slip into the idea of Christmas being all about ticking things of your list, often people forget what it’s all about. Sharing the love through gingerbread men and mince pies is a great way to show your appreciation for your colleagues and create a festive sense of community.”

Boots staff member Olivia
Liv’s tip: Make time for those you don’t get to see as often

“Every Christmas I love to spend time with my friends – quite a few of us have moved across the country to different areas so we always make sure to put time in the diary to see each other and make festive plans. Whether it’s visiting a Christmas market in one person’s hometown together or having a cosy night in with plenty of festive food and a classic Christmas film on the TV.

Even if our schedules don’t quite align, we’ll always make sure to have a video call where we’ll all catch up, listen to music and play games together (but virtually!).

It’s so important to me to make time for my friends and to spend some real quality time with each other, making every little moment count to create new memories that we’ll no doubt be laughing about together next Christmas as we do the same thing.”

Boots staff member Josephine
Josephine’s tip: Write someone a thank you message

“It might sound like an obvious tip, but with all the excitement of Christmas, it can be so easy to forget to say thank you to the people who’ve made it special. 

As a writer, I love to express my gratitude through words and always make sure to send people thank you messages, whether it’s to tell them how much I enjoyed the Christmas get-together they organised or how much their gift means to me.

I try to add a personal touch to each message by mentioning specific details or even including a photo of me using their gift, like wearing that cosy Christmas pyjama set they picked out or showing a meal I’ve cooked from the recipe book they bought me.

It only takes a few minutes to send a thank you message to make someone’s day and let them know all their time and effort during the festive season was appreciated.”

Boots staff member Kelly
Kelly’s tip: Don’t forget to practise self-gratitude

“Christmas is such a busy period for me – from finishing work, planning party outfits and prepping to host a festive feast! So, I find practising self-gratitude really helps to ground me and calms my mind during the Christmas chaos.

I like to journal throughout the year, but I find it even more helpful during the tail-end of the year – I like to look back at what I’ve achieved and thank myself (which I don’t do often enough!).

This year I’m also going to take my homemade wooden advent calendar and turn it into a gratitude one – I’ll simply make a note of things I’m grateful for, pop them in each draw and open throughout December – talk about a feel-good boost each morning.”

Why is self-gratitude important at Christmas time?

Practising self-gratitude and rewarding yourself are great ways to give yourself a boost all year round, but especially so if you’re finding the festive season stressful or difficult for any reason. Here are some other ideas of ways to show self-gratitude:

Take time out to relax

In all the rush of the Christmas period, it’s important to take time out to wind down. From watching your favourite festive films to relaxing with a book and a bubble bath, there are plenty of ways to find your inner calm.

Try mindfulness or meditation

Mindfulness and meditation both have the power to help you be in the present and appreciate each moment more. If you’ve never tried it before, a Headspace gift card offers a great introduction with six months access to meditation guides and mindfulness exercises.

Buy yourself a Christmas gift

Everyone deserves to treat themselves, so whilst you’re doing your Christmas shop, why not pick something up for yourself to look forward to? There’s something for everyone and every budget in our Christmas gifting range.

And that completes our round-up of 10 ways to show gratitude at Christmas. We hope you feel inspired by our tips for showing thanks to yourself and those around you, and we’d like to say Merry Christmas from everyone at Boots!

Find even more gifting inspiration in this year’s Christmas advert….

*Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377–389. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12585811

Algoe, S. B., Haidt, J., & Gable, S. L. (2008). Beyond reciprocity: Gratitude and relationships in everyday life. Emotion, 8(3), 425-429 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2692821/.