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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

The giving season is fast approaching and given this especially strenuous year, showing your gratitude for your loved ones may be even more meaningful. Taking the time to press pause on your daily stressors, step back and really contemplate the events and people in your life and show appreciation for the ones you love can make all the difference. Here are some ways that you can show your gratitude this holiday season:

Write It Down

When it comes down to it, writing down what you appreciate about someone and delivering it to them all wrapped up in a nice card makes all the difference. Take the time to sit down, and really think about the impact this person has made on your life, big or small. This, in itself, is a great exercise to take a moment to reflect on others, the things they do to contribute to your life, and how you could be living a totally different life without them in it. Write down a bulleted list of things you love about them, favorite memories you have with them and how they make your life better just by being them! Pick up your favorite stationery or, if you’re feeling DIY, get some paper and pens to make a card that they can look at and smile every time they pick it up. Making your gratitude for someone physical with a card or note really makes an impact on that other person and gives them a reminder of just how much they mean to you.

Whip It Up

Even if you’re not a top chef, there are still plenty of things that you can whip up in the kitchen to add a little extra sweetness to someone’s day. Baking or cooking is another physical way you can show gratitude for the ones you love, and make their tastebuds thank you as well! It doesn’t have to be a complex recipe or one you found on Instagram that takes hours to replicate, because it really is the thought that counts. Whatever you end up making, you can also attach a note stating the top three reasons why you love this person or why you’re grateful for them. This will add a last little bit of gratitude, letting this person know that you’re happy to go out of your way and make them something yummy. For some inspiration if you don’t know where to start, here are some easy treats you can whip up in the colder season!

Plan It Out

Put some time into planning the perfect day and make a meaningful adventure out of it! If the people in your life lean more towards quality time or adventures to make them feel appreciated, then planning out some meaningful time with them this holiday season is the perfect way to show your gratitude. Look up spots near you that are accessible during these COVID-19 times. These could be spots where you can hike, have coffee, have a picnic, play frisbee or do a scavenger hunt, to name a few ideas. If you’re going on a picnic, bring their favorite food and drinks to munch on and sip while you chat about fun memories and those to come. If you go to a coffee shop, look for some spots along the way to take pictures, see the sights or enjoy nature. Even if there aren’t huge attractions in your city, it’s about the time and effort you put into the adventure – the little things you know they would enjoy to show them your love!

Use What You Have

Showing that you are thankful for the people in your lives does not have to mean spending hundreds of dollars on gifts or rearranging your entire week to make a dinner reservation halfway across the state. Gratitude can be expressed in the simplest of ways, as long as it reaches the other person’s heart and they feel appreciated. One of these ways can be using the things in your house to make, write, collage, draw or create something that will make the other person’s heart happy. If you have a lot of photos of you and the person you’re grateful for, make a photo collage and frame it so that they can put it up in their room. If you have a lot of artsy materials, make them a personalized box or bin that they can put their books or jewelry in. If you’re more tech-inclined, make them a video montage with your favorite memories together or clips you know that will make them laugh. Whatever it is, showing your gratitude matters when it comes from the heart.

Feel free to use these ideas to show love to your people this holiday season, and open your mind and your heart to allow the bad and negative to be outweighed by the good and positive in this season of giving.  

Katherine Pappas is a third-year Political Science and Philosophy double major from the Bay Area. During her free time she loves to go on hikes, adventures with her friends, travel the globe and find the cutest coffee shops around campus! In the future, Katherine is planning on going to law school and becoming an attorney specializing in human rights, M&A or international law.